George Weigel is a renowned public intellectual and esteemed Roman Catholic whom I respect for great insight into various issues of the day. I’m not RC and will spare all of the areas of disagreement, however, I found Weigel’s interview with NPR about station churches to be quite fascinating. The one answer that really stuck out was how this pilgrimage solidified him in the faith. Here’s the exchange (bold mine):
MARTIN: Had you done that before, a pilgrimage like that?
WEIGEL: I discovered the station church pilgrimage 20 years ago, but I did the whole thing for the first time in 2011.
MARTIN: You describe it as a historical journey. But I wonder how that experience informed your own faith, informed your understanding of Christianity?
WEIGEL: It secures one’s understanding that Christianity is not a pious myth, a nice narrative, to use the word of the day. It’s grounded in the experience of real people who lived real lives, often under very difficult circumstances, at a time we can know and in places that we can still touch. One of the stational churches is, of course, the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome. And to go there and to be above, what we can know with as much certainty as archaeology gives us about these things, that we’re standing within several yards of the bones of this Galilean fisherman really presses home the question how did this happen? How did this guy from east of nowhere in the ancient world come to the center of world power and over the course of time and history get the world’s greatest tombstone? Which is exactly what St. Peter’s basilica is. It’s many other things, but it’s the world’s greatest tombstone. How did that happen? Well, it happened because this man became a friend of Jesus of Nazareth, whom he eventually came to know as the risen Lord. And that’s how he got to where he is today, and that’s why we can visit his bones today and ponder the often surprising ways of God in history.
© 2013, Rick Hogaboam. All rights reserved.