I’d like to write to you about the wonderful pilgrimage I have just finished. I write this to you from a cruising altitude of 31,986 ft. over the North Atlantic Ocean, only 3 short hours away from home. After an entire semester abroad with multiple little pilgrimages [to Manchester, Morocco, and Fatima, Portugal], the Lord is bringing me home; my lengthier pilgrimage of my study abroad is at an end. And yet, just outside my window, the luminescent ocean is spread out before me, as is my future in the States. It is in these moments that I am most aware of the wonderful potential of the greatest trip—the greatest pilgrimage—I will ever make: this earthly life.
We are each called by the Father to make a distinct, beautiful, challenging, but so-very-good pilgrimage, journeying from Him—the Origin of everything—back to Him in the Heavenly Kingdom (see note). And reader, what a blessing of a journey the Lord has called me to. I am so joyful to have completed my 4-month journey in Spain, and my smaller, but still significant pilgrimages too.
Over these past few months, both during my time in Europe, and my time in the States, the most common recurring image—the motif of these months, if you will—has been the sky. For me, simply looking at the sky reminds me of God’s infinite power, mercy, and love, as well as my smallness, my humanness. I look at the sky and see all that He is, all that I am, and how His infinity resides in me, despite my smallness. These words from the Acts of the Apostles regarding the martyrdom of St. Stephen have been speaking to my heart throughout the past few days, and they convey more of this idea:
“But, being filled with the Holy Spirit, he looked towards the heavens and saw the glory of God.” Acts 7:55
From Spain, where the sky is the deepest blue without a single cloud, to here, in Pennsylvania, where the sky is often a pale blue or light grey, I have noticed the sky. For me, the sky, in all of its expansiveness sing’s of God’s glory. And despite how vast and immeasurable it seems, it is fixed and all-enveloping, much like the Lord’s love. Here, suspended in that sky and wrapped in clouds, my heart and soul are full of peace and ready to begin the next part of my great pilgrimage: coming home.
May you take note of your sky today, or tomorrow, and listen to its singing.
Note: This idea of everything moving from God, back to God is referred to as the “Great Circle of Being,” which is discussed by many theologians, including St. Thomas Aquinas (The Book of the Sentences), and St. Maximilian Kolbe.