A good piece of advice that I learned from my friends who love to travel around the world is this phrase “travel light.” What is it exactly to travel light when you are going on a journey? What does it mean in our case going to a pilgrimage following the footsteps of St. Paul?
It means just bring the essentials: some clothes, toiletries, and necessities for your journey or else you will end up paying for a lot of excess baggage in the airport.
Reflecting these thoughts in my spiritual journey following the footsteps of St. Paul, I came to a realization that in our lives we too carry a lot of excess baggage in our journey, like the following: the wounds of hurts of yesteryears that we keep on nurturing in our hearts against the other, petty quarrels that can be avoided, perhaps our inability to forgive a loved one or a friend who hurts us so that we vowed that we will never talk to or forgive them, resentments against God and so on. These things make our life journey difficult and burdensome until it eventually destroys our inner peace.
In one of the sites in Turkey, specifically in Cappadocia, we celebrated Mass inside a small stone chapel; the Church is named under the patronage of Mother Mary. Inside the chapel you can see small cross carvings in stone, a stone altar, and some benches to sit upon. The place is simple yet for me more elegant than a majestic cathedral. What makes it elegant and powerful is the history of the place, i.e. the faith of the early Christians who inhabited that place: for fear of persecution, they hid themselves in these catacombs to worship our God. The humility and simplicity of their faith is worth reflecting upon. I thank the Lord, that we had a blessed moment to pray, to celebrate the Eucharist in that site, and as we sing with our hearts, it seems we were brought back to the past we become connected once again to those early Christians who boldly professed their faith even in their darkest moments.
Humility and Simplicity, two virtues that served as beacons in our journey as we travel light. Let the virtue of humility help us to die from our egos and pride that we can learn to forgive from the heart. Humility leads us to trust God’s providence in our life’s journey; through the generosity of the people around us we become grateful and contented on what we have and not focusing on what is missing. Simplicity helps us to detach ourselves from so much attachments to the values of the world e.g., power, fame, and possessions that we consider our gods, and fully trust our Lord to direct our lives that He alone is enough.
To end these reflections, let me paraphrase a quote, “In our individual Pilgrimage in life we only pass this world once, so whatever goodness we can do, whatever random acts of kindness let us do it now for we will never pass this way again.” We are pilgrims on our way to a journey in God’s merciful heart.
Travel light, and you can see His light.
St. Paul, pray for us.
-Dennis Marcos, Diocese of Lubbock