It’s been a few weeks now since I’ve returned from my trip to World Youth Day. I thought now would be a good time to look back and see what lessons or thoughts from the experience have lingered.
While in Madrid, I often heard people talk about the pilgrimage as something transformative. At the time, I truly felt that the trip did, and would continue, to change my faith life. I am so grateful that this was not merely a roller-coaster type experience, in which my faith is lifted at the time, only to fall once the trip was over. From my blog posts, you can see that I was truly stuck by the joy that the pilgrims expressed in every circumstance…from actual events to traveling around. And that image is one that has remained in my mind.
However, what I think has affected my own faith even more is the trials that I had to go through to get to certain events. I can see why pilgrimages have such a profound effect on people’s lives. The struggles and hardships of getting around, the crowds, the walking, the heat, the sweat, the effort, all mimic real life. For anything worthwhile, there is going to be a certain amount of suffering and hard times that you have to get through. What I learned on the pilgrimage is when you reach each destination, one after another, in a succession of small victories in which at the end you feel that connectedness with God, it’s all worth it.
Have you experienced something similar…in which a struggle great or small led you to feel closer to God?