My few attempts at blogging lately have just been trampled underfoot, fallen through the cracks and all but turned to dust... have you ever felt like your life is changing so much that you can't put the details into words? That to try to put the everyday miracles, the difficult crosses, the fun surprises and the new experiences that make up your life right now are so BIG that you hardly know where one event begins and the next ends? Well, so has my summer been. In some ways, I am turning the pages of the end of one chapter and beginning a new chapter - and that beginning is marked with a trip.
I'm packing my things and getting ready for a two-week pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2011 this August. Together our group of young adults and two Carmelite friars (priests) in habits, a deacon and a doctor will travel to France and Spain and visit some amazing places, such as Lourdes, Avila, Pamplona, Segovia, and Madrid! Some days we'll be trekking 5-8 miles and taking bus rides, seeing beautiful churches and ancient architecture, speaking Castellano and learning about the Spanish culture.
The reasons I am going on this pilgrimage are: 1) because I felt God urging me to go, 2) I love traveling and have taken many pilgrimages in Europe while studying abroad, 3) traveling always has its elements of surprise, discovery, discipline, sacrifice and adventure, which have the potential to open up your heart to God in a unique way, 4) for the personal challenge it presents, and above all, 5) the chance of a lifetime to gather with and experience the Church in its universality, seeing people from all over the world gather in prayer, worship, peace and unity for the glory of God and His heavenly kingdom. As the World Youth Day YouTube video by Grassroots Films put it, "One event will bring the world together" (check it out!). In these violent times, such a peaceful gathering is almost a miracle...it is a miracle.
Here I am with t-shirt and hat and testing the backpack...
But there's one thing missing from my bag: your prayer intentions! If you would like to, please send me any special prayer intentions so I can carry them close to my heart. The sacrifices and joys of this journey - offered up to God - can give bloom to amazing miracles. I appreciate it if you could keep me and the world in your prayers during this time.
Another pilgrim who traveled the world to share the story of Catholicism is Fr. Robert Barron, an interesting evangelist, who created a series to show the reason, beauty, mystery, poetry, art, and logic for faith in Christ: Catholicism Series.
Whatever you are doing these hot days of summer, I hope you get the chance to jump out into the world and travel somewhere new. If not, I encourage you to challenge yourself in another way. Wherever you go, may your feet bring peace. May you spread unity and may you be willing to bear each other's burdens with love.