Search

Pilgrimage


This whole trip has been a pilgrimage leading up to the events of World Youth Day and more specifically the events with the Pope. Seeing all the important places and churches that were important to JPII was so special. Those of you that have travelled to Europe know that they don't tear anything down. They might use the building for something different but it is still standing. Praying in the churches where Fr. Karol Wojtyla served and prayed himself is something I never thought I would be able to say I would get to do. But after all the sight seeing, we have come to why we are here: for the World Youth Day pilgrimage. This has included: waking up early just to wait an hour for our bus to arrive; walking 5 miles to get to our Catechesis site; using port-a-potties more than once a day (those who know me, know I avoid these as much as possible); lack of air conditioning; missing your little girl's 4th birthday; trying to catch a train so as not to miss the bus with 800,000 other pilgrims; waking up nauseous multiple days in a row due to lack of sleep, dehydration and exhaustion; walking 8 miles to get to the vigil site; then having to sit in the hot sun for hours praising God for every gust of wind and cloud that rolls through hoping to get some relief from the heat; sleeping under the stars with probably over a million people, shivering only to be fried by the hot sun again in the morning; questioning whether or not you are going to be the next one that passes out due to the heat and whether or not I'd even be able to make the 8 mile hike back to the bus pick up site. Those are all the hard things that come with pilgrimage. But this pilgrimage has also included: being entertained by a group of priests that enjoy their vocation; visiting such a beautiful place with a difficult history that has welcomed so many people with open hearts; having the opportunity to see a different Catholic Church on almost every block that is not only beautiful (almost heavenly) on the inside but actually being used by the people; going to Mass daily (with our Bishop) and having the opportunity for adoration; seeing Matt Maher, Audrey Assad, and Bishop Barron lead an incredible Night of Mercy with adoration and singing with 20,000 young people; randomly running into Chris Stefanick at the Divine Mercy Shrine; being surrounded by thousands of young people from around the world who are excited to be Catholic; receiving the Pope's blessing and catching a glimpse of him in the Pope Mobile; discovering what graces God has planned for you; and sharing all of the above with the love of your life. A pilgrimage is a journey. It is not meant to be easy. It is not supposed to be a relaxing vacation. There will be suffering. For me, this week has been exhausting so much so that my body had to tell me to stay back for a day. There have been many trying moments especially with the heat, lack of sleep, not feeling well, and all the walking. One of the things I have learned about myself is that I complain a lot about the little things. Mostly about the things that I think I need (air conditioning, a real bathroom, a bed) when they are not readily available. But when I think about the prisoners of Auschwitz and all the suffering they had to endure for no reason, the things I find to complain about are minute. And what Jesus had to endure on his road to Calvary, this pilgrimage and the suffering I feel I endured, does not even compare. In our world today, we seem to think we need such things like cool air and a flushable toilet to survive our daily life. But in all reality, we just need Jesus. We need His love and His mercy to make it through every day. God sent us His only Son so that we might live, and that we may learn to love the way Jesus taught us to love. St. John Paul the Great lived this out so well, and he endured much suffering in his life. He turned his suffering into prayer and that is what we all need to do. Our phrase these last couple weeks has been "Jesus, I trust in you" and what an awesome phrase/prayer to have on a pilgrimage. Jesus, I trust in You. Amen.