Sunday, July 07, 2013

7 Reasons Why I Pilgrimage

Fine, I admit that when I pilgrimaged to Baneaux, Belgium and attended Medjugorje visionaries apparitions, I expected to find my rosaries turning to gold, see the sun spinning or smell  roses around me. But I didn’t have such spectacular experiences, even though pilgrims beside me were oohing and ahhing.  Though I’ve accepted that I won’t be privy to miracles reserved for some, these reasons are what keep me going on pilgrimage after pilgrimage:

our mini-Lourds at the Shrine of the Most
Blessed Sacrament
1. Answering an Invitation.  Every apparition or site of Our Lady is an invitation for us to gather to Our Blessed Mother so that she can mold us, prepare us and dress us for her Son’s wedding feast.    I wouldn’t deliberately reject a heavenly invitation if it were within my means to be in the presence of Our Lady.   Since she graciously comes to earth, (I imagine it’s no easy task when you have to leave the perfection of heaven to step into sin and pain), I hope to console Her offended Immaculate Heart, which she revealed in Fatima.

2.  Community and Fellowship.  At such Marian sites, the children of Mary from different countries, speaking in different tongues amaze me about the universality of the Church.  When I see pilgrims kneeling, praying or offering Our Lady roses, my faith is bolstered and I am humbled. I have learned unparalleled lessons from the miraculous stories of other Marian devotees:  cancer cured, divorce prevented, conversions (lots and lots of conversions!), pregnancies given, etc… 
Also, I read somewhere that the places in heaven left vacant by the fallen angels are given to several chosen saints and that in the last days, the Holy Trinity decreed that it would be the Blessed Virgin who will be charged with forming these destined souls. When I meet other devout Marian pilgrims, I always wonder if in heaven, she or he will be kind enough to remember rubbing elbows with me once upon an apparition site. 

3.  Consecrating Myself and Family.  Without fail, I re-consecrate myself and my children to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.  In between pilgrimages, my favorite sins negate my life from becoming a perfect fiat like Our Lady’s life, so renewing my consecration is an opportunity to remind myself (more than her) that I strive to become a handmaid of the handmaid of the Lord.
One of my favorite sites in the Philippines

4. Reparation.  With rain, heat, expenses, exhausted children, packing and unpacking, pilgrimages are never easy. But I offer up the inconvenience of the journey in reparation for my sins. Pope Pius XI wrote about the importance of reparation, stating: Whereas the primary object of consecration is that the creature should repay the love of the Creator by loving him in return, yet from this another naturally follows — that is, to make amends for the insults offered to the Divine Love by oblivion and neglect, and by the sins and offenses of mankind.  This duty is commonly called by the name of "reparation.”

5. Prayer.   There are so many people who would like to make pilgrimages but are unable to and people who (in my opinion) could use a good pilgrimage but don’t make the effort, so I tell Our Lady that I’m attending as their proxy and to give them graces as if they were present. My ever extending list include parents, sisters, friends (e-friends, too) facebook contacts, readers (yes you!), priests, religious and of course, all the people my immature and younger self hurt and offended.  Occasionally, I feel strongly inspired to pray for a random person  (someone I haven’t seen in years) and when I don’t know what to specifically ask for, I pray for Our Lady’s intentions.  Since the list of people to pray for and represent seems to grow every year, I don’t see my pilgrimages ending anytime soon. (*chuckle*)

Rue Du Bac
6. Graces.  Naturally, I come to pilgrimages with a bundle of petitions for myself. In Rue du Bac, Our Lady’s second message stated: These rays symbolize the graces I shed upon those who ask for them. The gems from which rays do not fall are the graces for which souls forget to ask."  I ask for these forgotten graces. And though tangible, manifest graces are not usually given to me during the pilgrimage itself, I am assured that they bear fruit in the days after the pilgrimage. So I’ve learned to be fine with not seeing, smelling, hearing what others can, because Our Blessed Mother knows what I need in my spiritual life and she will not hesitate to give it the moment I need it.

7.  Pilgrim.  Finally, pilgrimages are the perfect time to remember that I am only a pilgrim in this life. 

I hope you find time to go on a pilgrimage soon!  Every single one is so very well worth it.


Heidi said...

"So I’ve learned to be fine with not seeing, smelling, hearing what others can, because Our Blessed Mother knows what I need in my spiritual life and she will not hesitate to give it the moment I need it." Beautiful!

I have wanted to go the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in WI since it became an approved apparition site - after reading this I think I should start making definite plans!

8 kids and a business said...

After they retired, my parents made many pilgrimages to Rome, Fatima, Medjugore, Garabandal, Mexico...all the major shrines. Mom lived for them; dad carried suitcases :) The only pilgrimages i've been on are 4 yrs. of walking 200km (124 miles) in the heat of the sun to Martyr's Shrine in Midland, Ontario...transforming experiences, each of them. No matter how we "do" pilgrimage, the reasons, I think, are the same.

Anabelle Hazard said...

Terry and Heidi, thank you for mentioning the new to me sites. I'll read up on those.

Terry, LOL on your dad and suitcases.