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Abstract

Robert had no time for a theologically romantic vision that we moderns might associate with pilgrimage. Rather, he meant to describe the reality of a human life course, the hard, gritty task of a traveler wearily climbing over boulders and pushing beyond exhaustion to reach the next barren shelter on the path at night’s end. That journey is at once solitary and communal: only the pilgrim herself can push on to the next shrine, but she walks with others silently trudging the same steep incline she must pass over and still others who extend simple hospitality to her at the day’s end. The pilgrim way is full of the conflict that always comes with genuine pluralism, accompanied by the aspiration toward fraternity. For Robert, a Catholic, what lay in sight for each person, indeed each lawyer and judge, through the power of moral imagination was the fulfillment of not only his purpose but his very essence, a fulfillment that transcended any list of accomplishments or earthly qualities of one’s life.

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