In proclaiming the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis invites us to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Door of St. Peter’s Basilica or to one of the Holy Doors in cathedrals and designated churches throughout the world.
There is another kind of pilgrimage we can make, one that doesn’t involve travel. We can make a pilgrimage of the heart this year.
We’ve already started out on the Lenten journey, a kind of pilgrimage whose destination is the glorious resurrection of Christ.
During such a pilgrimage, we endeavor to come closer to Christ. It happened to St. Paul during his now-famous journey to Damascus, where he had been planning to continue his persecution of Christians. But Christ caught him up short, and Saul was transformed to Paul—a new man.
Saint John Chrysostom says this about Paul’s conversion: “The most important thing was that he knew himself to be loved by Christ. Enjoying this love, he considered himself happier than anyone else.”
Our entire life, in fact, is a pilgrimage during which we seek to learn the ways of God. This is why the Psalmist says: “When will I come to the end of my pilgrimage and enter the presence of God?”
Our prayer today: Merciful Jesus, we pray to become more and more aware, like St. Paul, of how much we are loved by you.
(The image is the Hill of Crosses, a Lithuanian pilgrimage site symbolic of the nation's Catholic faith and national identity)