After a very long day of travel, the pilgrims and I all arrived safely home yesterday. For me, it is always great to return home again. Many times during the pilgrimage, I longed for all the little comforts of home that I often take for granted in my daily routine. Chief among them is a large, hot coffee with milk- something that the Italians, despite their best efforts, have not quite mastered in the way that I am used to. As a result, my first stop after the airport was Dunkin Donuts!
The entire pilgrimage covered 1,700 kilometers of bus travel, 46 miles of walking, visiting seven cities in nine days. To be honest, I had forgotten how physically taxing a pilgrimage could be. However, it is this very sacrifice that forms an essential part of the experience, reminding us that the true pilgrimage of our life is to get to heaven, our true home. All the little sacrifices of usual comforts, the physical wear and tear, the personal mortifications offered along the way are all meant to remind us that the central mission of every disciple is to detach from the things of this world in order to cling to the only Person who matters- the Lord Jesus. What one experiences on pilgrimage should make such detachment in ordinary life easier and more intentional.
As I reflect upon all the blessings that I received these past days, I am filled with gratitude for my fellow pilgrims and to the Lord. As different as each of the pilgrims were from one another, the spirit of charity, kindness and concern that I saw in so many different ways was truly inspiring. It has given me new strength and hope as I walk my own pilgrimage each day, in the hope of one day getting to the only destination that matters.
The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos!