Touchstone's current issue marks its 25th anniversary, and it is a very excellent issue. I've been a fan of its "ecumenical orthodoxy" since I discovered the magazine a dozen or so years ago (if my memory is at all reliable). I've been convinced for a long time that the differences among the three great communities of Christianity--Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant--are less important than what we have in common. Which of course is not to say that they are insignificant, and the Touchstone folks are under no illusions about that. But in the face of a secular Western world growing more and more hostile to any form of Christianity, we need to make a common witness to the fundamental things that we all believe, not to mention banding together for mutual protection.
The magazine has struggled, like most, with the decline in the number of people willing to pay for print journalism. In the past year or two I've thought its quality suffered. But the last two issues--July/August and September/October--have been full of excellent work.
One of the highlights of the 25th anniversary issue is a long account by Leon Podles of his pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago--the Way of St. James. (I think this is the same one undertaken by our resident expert on theology and film?) In fact I began this post with the intention only of quoting something from it. It's a counsel offered to the pilgrims by the pastor of one of the churches along the way:
If you have to die tomorrow on the Camino, tell yourself that your life is completely fulfilled because you will be in a state of absolute search. And if you return home, tell yourself that you are still on the way, and that you will always be on the way, because it is a way that knows no end.
I like that phrase "state of absolute search." It seems at first glance like one of those ultimately despairing saws about the journey being more important than the destination ("To travel hopefully is better than to arrive," etc.) But it's more a statement that the journey and the destination are ultimately one thing; more something that St. Catherine of Siena or T.S. Eliot would say.
The piece is not among those from the issue that are available online. It's worth seeking out the magazine to read it.