Pilgrim Pavement

In Christianity on April 10, 2009 at 3:31 pm

We have entered the Easter Triduum—three days pilgrimage from the evening of Maundy Thursday to the joy of Easter.  During this time, we have one focus: Jesus Christ.

  • Maundy Thursday, Our Lord institutes of The Lord’s Supper.
  • Good Friday, a time for silence and meditation, particularly during the hours of Our Lord’s Passion.
  • Holy Saturday, a day of waiting; a reminder we live in the “already, but not yet,” between the victory Easter represents and Christ’s glorious return.
  • Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday, the realization that “God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . in His great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”! (1 Peter 1:3)

This Triduum procession mirrors the journeys of our lives and of Christ’s Church. “The Church . . . will receive its perfection only in the glory of heaven, at the time of Christ’s glorious return.  Until that day, the Church progresses on her pilgrimage amidst this world’s persecutions and God’s consolations.”¹

Few writers have expressed the nature of our pilgrimage and of God’s consolations as well as Margaret Ridgeley Partridge, whose “Pilgrim Pavement” was set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1934. 

Can you hear adown the future, echoes of a moving throng
Treading down the Pilgrim Pavement, in procession millions strong? 
Can you see their rapt expression, do you hear the choral beat
Of their pilgrim song and psalter, can you mark their sandaled feet,
Slow advancing toward the altar, toward the candles tall and white;
Toward the focal point of worship, where the pavement leads to Light.

Restless feet returning weary, from dim avenues of care,
From the vast dissatisfaction, to the vaster aisles of prayer.
Entering with steps that falter or that forward surge apace,
Seeking, finding, strength and solace, where the pavement leads to Grace.

.  .  .

O Presence ever waiting, O Rose of Sharon there!
Shedding your balm forever on human grief and care,
O mystical renewal of forces lost and spent,
O touch of Love supernal, all healing Sacrament.

O changing wheaten wafer, that veils the changeless One!
O chalice of the Living Grape still lay
Thy Grace upon the lips that here will seek Thee
Through ages yet to be
The pilgrims who since Bethlehem
In faith have searched for Thee.²

May God grant each one of us a richly blessed Good Friday, as we continue our Triduum pilgrimage.

¹ Cathechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, ¶ 769
“Pilgrim Pavement”.  The copyright holder for this work is uncertain, but the complete text (not reproduced here), along with Vaughan Williams musical setting, is available on Chandos Records, Vaughan Williams: Symphony #5.  


  1. […] ² The Pilgrim Pavement.  The copyright holder for this work is uncertain, but the complete text (not reproduced here), along with Vaughan Williams musical setting, is available on Chandos Records, Vaughan Williams: Symphony #5. This text served as the basis for a post on Christ’s Real Presence four years ago, here, where you will find a shorter meditation. […]

  2. […] years ago, during  the Easter Triduum, I wrote about Margaret Ridgeley Partridge’s text, “Pilgrim Pavement,” which Ralph Vaughan Williams so […]

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