Hey guys, my name is Mark and I'm currently a Beatitudes Missions intern. Last month I was living in France, studying French and being involved with the Community at Nay. One of the incredible parts of this time (and what this post is about) is being close to Lourdes.
It is a beautiful walk from Nay to Lourdes, passing through nature and some quaint French towns. There is a sense of expectancy and focus that can grow organically during the walk. In the YouCat, it says that "Pilgrimage is praying with your feet." Throughout my walk, there
was time for conversation, sharing, silence, and interior prayer, yet each part belonged to a larger whole. Pilgrimage should be an experience of relationship with God.
Thus far, I have been able to visit Lourdes five times. Each visit has been a real source of grace in my life. The two things that have struck me are:
First, one of the most significant pieces of encounter for Bernadette was that "Mary looked at her as a person would look at another." Bernadette didn't see herself as someone filled with dignity. But Mary did. And in that, Bernadette was struck by the Love of God, the Truth of God, and the depth of her own person.
Second, pilgrimage is such a gift. I think that two aspects of pilgrimage are amazing. The first is that we are able to respond to an invitation from God to be intentional with Him and with Mary. To take time and energy to physically go to a pilgrimage site really helps me to enter into the mystery of relationship with God. This time and space also allows me to ask for the grace to be open to the gifts that have been prepared to me.
The other aspect of pilgrimage I love is that God is truly present to His people! Mary is present to her children! At Lourdes Mary literally visited Bernadette. She cared for her and loved her and taught her.
I thank God that He has placed me where He has. That He called me out to this foreign territory, that He leads me and walks with me.
I think the question for me is this: will I let God call me out deeper?
God bless you all,