October 9, 2021

I used to go on very long hikes – thirty or forty miles at a time.  After a series of failures where I either did not make it to the destination or did so only hobbling and exhausted, I decided to get more serious about my preparation and my strategy: frequent stretching, plenty of rest, full hydration, carbo-loading, packing wisely, well-timed breaks, weather updates, etc.  The hikes became deeply gratifying experiences that allowed me to take ownership of the process as well as enjoy my full physical flourishing.  I have to think that this is what the journey of discipleship is like.  We have this exciting spiritual destination that our hearts absolutely long for, but the preparation and planning is complex and demands a multifaceted approach:  daily prayer, participation in the liturgy, spiritual friendships, sacramental reconciliation, faith-sharing, ministry commitments, acts of charity and so much more!  Each time we feel that we have failed or come away discouraged from our efforts to walk in faith, we can turn to Jesus who spent thirty years in preparation for his singular journey to Jerusalem which came to such a definitive ending (cf. Jn 19:30) that he exists at the end point of each of our individual journeys, rooting for us in love and grace along the way.  May we learn to hike on his glorious path of perfection (cf. Ps 119:1).  Ave Crux, Spes Unica!

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