Having just returned from a grace-filled pilgrimage to the World Meeting of Families--
along with 25 courageous and holy souls from the Diocese of Joliet--
I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the beautiful visit of Pope Francis to the U.S.
Here are a few impressions from our journey, for your consideration:
- Not tourists, but pilgrims: Our plans, our wants, our routines, and our comforts are the whiny demands of tourists; His plans and His desires--which usually call us from our comfort zones--forge the adventurous path of pilgrims on a journey home to God.
- Our Lady, Un-doer of Knots, Pray for us: Though the ancient enemy works to prevent us from receiving God's grace, the Blessed Virgin Mary has already crushed its head; she can un-tie anything that is bound and loosen anything that is tangled.
- The Church in Africa and Asia: The light of Christ is shining brightly from these "developing" continents; former "mission territories" are now sending missionary disciples to the spiritually underdeveloped nations of the western world.
- The Pope's speeches at the joint session of Congress and at Independence Hall: A modern-day Fisherman from Galilee walks into this present moment to remind our nation of its own past, so that we might reclaim a fully human future for our children and grandchildren.
- Families from over 100 countries: A global world needs a
global body of brothers and sisters to reach out to those who are being
left behind by globalization itself; the Church exists to be this web of
connections, fostering unity within diversity.
- A papal "heart to heart" at a festival of families: A "father of many" speaks from the heart, especially to those who have wandered far from home or those who feel like orphans; he draws us all together as on precious family cherished by a heavenly Father.
- A city transformed into a Cathedral: Many hundreds of thousands of hungry souls stand silently to hear the Word of God, to listen to a homily in Spanish from the first pope of the Americas, and to flock to receive the Bread of Life as if it were Jesus himself!
Who says miracles don't happen every day? Who says that, even in 2015, people are not looking for Someone to unite us? Papa Francesco knows that "our infinite sadness can only be cured by an infinite love" (EG, n. 265)--and that Jesus reveals the very face of such a Love.
Viva la Papa!