Their hearts are set upon the pilgrimage. – Psalm 84
Many years ago, I wrote an article for diocesan newspapers on the theme faith is a journey. That article will appear in expanded & modified form within one chapter of my new book Gifts of the Visitation: Nine Spiritual Encounters with Mary & Elizabeth (Ave Maria Press).
Faith is a journey. It is as much of a deliberate journey as Mary’s journey from Nazareth to Ein Kerem in the hills of Judea when she visited Elizabeth. The journey may be difficult. Sometimes, we may want to take a break, cool our feet in the Jordan River, throw our bags on the back of a donkey and let him bear the burden a while. We cool off in the Jordan when we go to the Adoration Chapel and dip our fingers in the holy water font. We throw our bags on the back of a burro when we visit the Confessional and let go of the burden and sins that cling to us. We take a break in the arduous journey when we pick up the Bible or read the day’s readings at Mass.
We do the things that keep us going. We seek out the activities that make us ready to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Turning around is an option, but it is never the right option.
Though the pilgrimage of life may be difficult at times, there is always sufficient grace for the journey. There are always enough provisions to make it to journey’s end. You may crave something right now and want to turn back, but somebody else on the faith journey with you has just what you need.
When I was in the Holy Land, one pilgrim needed cough drops. I had brought some with me.
Marge needed a scarf to keep from burning. Elizabeth had an extra one.
One day, I didn’t want anything hot to eat. I longed for something cool & fresh. Jill led me to a little store where we bought some fresh fruit.
We are on the faith journey together. Another pilgrim probably has just the right saint’s quote to get you through the day. Someone else has just the right spiritual director to help you find your footing. Another has just the right word of encouragement that soothes the soul and refreshes the spirit.
Faith is a journey.
Life is a pilgrimage.
And we help each other make it safely to the end of that journey. So set your eyes on the road ahead and be deliberate with your footsteps. Share what you have. And whatever you do, don’t turn back.
From today’s Responsorial at Mass: