The sacred art of this world is not eternal, but it calls us to what is. This is never clearer than when art invites us to contemplate the “last things” in Christian hope. In relation to our end in God, all of life is a pilgrimage that begins in the fount of baptism.
For centuries and centuries Christians have made pilgrimages all over the world, especially to Rome where the earthly pilgrimages of both St. Peter and St. Paul came to an end, followed by so many others after them. In the Middle Ages, pilgrims would walk great distances and undergo great trials to reach the Eternal City, while today all those roads leading to Rome include highways, railways and airport runways. Slowness or swiftness of travel alone does not a good pilgrimage make, though the willingness to be changed and even to struggle is necessary to journey as a true pilgrim.
Today, with all the conveniences that could reduce our need to be inconvenienced on a pilgrim road, the return to sacred art can teach us how to allow ourselves to be changed along the way to our desired end.