Holy Land Pilgrimage

Contemplating The Holy Mysteries

January 31, 2022

Visiting the Holy Land, the place where our Lord was born, lived, died, and rose, is an experience that shapes you inside and out. Reading and studying the Holy Scriptures here gives us an insight that informs our faith. Being here has an impact on the soul and even on how we see God’s Word. This impact is reflected even in how we act and get along with others. Throughout these days, being able to see, smell and live where Jesus walked has an extraordinary impact that gives more color to the Gospels’ narratives.

Being in a land where the language, culture, and sometimes even religion is different allows us to value our faith and traditions even more. This Pilgrimage has, in a way, opened a window to see and understand the historical and cultural context where Jesus was born, giving a deeper meaning of what this place means. It is Jesus, the Son of God, who gives Himself to us in inexplicable ways. All of this is made possible by the gift of faith and the sacraments.

We have had the opportunity to live with a spirit of contemplation during these days. In contemplating the mystery of Jesus, we realize that he makes all things great. In this continuous contemplation, we can see how he is in everything surrounding us. Similarly, when we talk to the locals, we can experience the simple yet generous humanity that exemplifies the generosity of the Triune God.

I contemplate these sacred places like a spiritual retreat in which I can continue to deepen in the Gospel and even more in prayer, which becomes an intimate dialogue with Jesus. This evokes conversations that allow us to delve into the soul. Bringing the many prayer requests and intentions that people have asked us to pray for is truly something special. And it is special since we see how these prayers not only bathe us, pilgrims, in blessings, but also the people who asked us for prayer, who are participating in this Pilgrimage with their prayers and petitions. As this Pilgrimage will continue to impact us, it also extends to all of those who are part of our Church and form part in our preparation for the priesthood. These prayers of such intensity bring with them spiritual consolations for oneself, but also for the people at home.

This is my prayer for all of you:

Heavenly Father, you are infinite in mercy; we praise You; we bless You, we give You thanks. On this very special day when we can contemplate these sacred places, with great humility, I pray for the intentions of the families, the donors, and all those who make this Pilgrimage possible. We ask that you bless them and help them in their walk of faith. We ask You to help them move forward in their lives with the grace that comes from You. May this walk through the places where Jesus walked transform our hearts, and may they be similar to his. May we live with great joy the Gospel that comes from the living Christ. Amen!

Francisco Pagán
Archdiocese of Chicago

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