Hello friends, welcome to June and the start of summer 2018. I am sure that many of you have exciting travel plans to look forward to. Todays topic is actually about travel. In discussing travel, this month seems timely to ask a question from Matthew Kelly’s book “Resisting Happiness”. The question is: “Are you a tourist or a pilgrim”?
Tourists often plan their trips in great detail. They tend to rush around from place to place, making sure they get everything in, crossing daily excursions off their list. They endlessly snap photos of the beautiful spots they visit, only to miss taking in the beauty of that moment in time. They constantly buy souvenirs and knickknacks only to return home and wonder why they bought them. They often think of themselves, shoving past others to get to where they want to go. Tourists go sightseeing and they count the cost.
Pilgrims on the other hand, are different. They look for the signs. If a bus is delayed or cancelled they ask “what is God trying to say to me”? Pilgrims are not concerned with seeing or doing everything, just the things they feel called to see or do. They aren’t obsessed with shopping. They are often aware of the needs of others. They go on their trips looking for meaning and they count their blessings.
The truth is, we are all pilgrims. This planet earth is not our home, we are just passing through. We build homes, careers and establish ourselves here in this world in ways that ignore that we are here for a short time. It’s very short-sighted to live as if we are never going to die, but many of us, consciously or unconsciously fall into this way of thinking to various degrees.
We are on this earth for a blink of an eye. This is not our home. That’s why God created us for a happiness that is different from the fleeting happiness of momentary world pleasures. Matthew Kelly says that God created us for a lasting happiness in a changing world and eternal happiness with Him in heaven. The kind of happiness God wants for us is not dependent on situations or circumstances. It’s easy to be happy when things go well. But, Christian joy allows us to be happy in the midst of hardship.
Do you ever think about heaven? Many of us don’t talk about it as much as we should. I recently visited a patient in hospital and asked her “is there anything you want”? She replied, “I want God”. Secretly, we all do. We may not be aware of it, but we want God.
Matthew says that behind every desire for a new home, car, job, promotion, accomplishment, clothes, plastic surgery, adventure and travel, food and sex, acceptance and comfort, our desire is for God. We are hungry for something more complete, and God is that completeness that we long for in the depths of our soul.
In the context of eternity, when we realize we are here for a short time, our priorities begin to change. At the same time, we are here for a reason, a purpose. God has a mission for each of us. We just need to ask him to direct us and the talents he gave us towards that mission or vocation He has in mind for us that will lead us to the happiness we all long for.
Life is a pilgrimage, a sacred journey. Often it’s a journey to a shrine or location important to one’s faith or beliefs. But you can also make a pilgrimage to your local parish weekly for mass. Very often people make pilgrimages with special intentions in mind. Some ask God to heal a loved one, some ask God for a favour, some make pilgrimages of thanksgiving for a blessing they have already received from God. Some go on pilgrimages to seek clarity on some important decision they have to make. Couples often make pilgrimages to celebrate their wedding anniversaries and renew their wedding vows. How powerful is that !!
Life is a pilgrimage but sometimes you need a pilgrimage to discover life. We are all journeying in this life towards the sacred city, toward the heart of God – Heaven. Let’s pray this summer for the grace to be pilgrims, not just tourists. Let’s be the kind of friend who helps others in this great pilgrimage of life.
Well everyone, this is a bit of a different perspective on our world view indeed. Perhaps a little bit of wisdom that we can all ponder upon this summer. Taken from Mathew Kelly’s book “Resisting Happiness”. Have a wonderful, fun filled, safe, healthy, restful, peaceful summer folks. We will catch up in July. Warm blessings, MJ. xo