Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers!
I just got back from a one week pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, where I spent my time with a group of fellow university students caring for elderly and sick that had also went on the trip. We went with the Shrewsbury Diocese of England and it was an absolutely incredible experience!
In my journal yesterday, I wrote a few words to describe how I felt immediately upon returning from a very moving, spiritual week.
I'm sad because I am no longer physically in Lourdes, on a diocesan pilgrimage. But I am hopeful for a future filled with pilgrimage---a life that is one, long journey. I am hopeful in embarking on a particular human experience that we can call our lifelong journey into the heart of God.
Like Bishop Brian (Shrewsbury bishop) said during the homily on our final day of pilgrimage, the pilgrimage does not end when we return home. It is actually then and only then that we can and should ultimately produce the fruits we planted and laboured for in while in Lourdes.
There is an antiphon (beginning of a prayer) that reads like this:
"When will I come to the end of my pilgrimage and enter the presence of God?" (Ironically, this was the antiphon I read during the first morning prayer I said after returning from Lourdes).
A possible answer to the question posed in the prayer: The pilgrimage here on earth doesn't end until death. And even then, we believe that an Eternal Banquet awaits all people on our journey in this place.
peace and blessings to all!
your friend bob : )