Friday, 4 April 2014

Pilgrim centre vs tourist centre

What's the difference between a pilgrim centre and a tourist centre?  I agree with Fr Maliekal when he says there isn't much in today's world. But in truth there is a very subtle difference.  The former is where visitors or guests are led to a spiritual experience; some place where the focus of energy, resources and enterprises is on offering those who come there a divine encounter.  The tourist centre, on the other hand, limits itself to offering an aesthetically enriching experience.

This struck me when I look at the Kondadaba hill and more especially this morning when we were inaugurating the Assissi garden in the Seminary itself.  In the name of beautification of the place, we sacrifice the spiritual dimension.  Nature itself is beautiful but to add more and more cosmetics to it, kills the natural beauty and what remains is something of a 'concrete jungle' with every bit artificially erected. Nothing natural! How then can one expect to encounter a 'living' God??

The joke of the Assissi garden was when a branch of a big tree under which the statue was being installed was thought to be dangerous for 'St Francis', I mean the statue!  As it is, there is enough cement and colour painted for the pedestal and the basement!  So the branch was also a threat!  Luckily the still is breathing above St Francis!

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