The Virtual Pilgrimage In Faith roused my soul. My contented heart returns to and ponders all we have heard and seen together these past 50 days, glorifying and praising God. (Luke 2: 19, 20) Decades ago, I formed the conviction that pilgrimages can be powerfully transformative when certain essential elements are incorporated: history and culture; architecture, art and natural beauty; time for silence, reflection and prayer; encounters with the local population. Profound questions are inevitably stirred up: who is God? Who am I? What challenge am I called to?
Arise, my friend…
My dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see your face,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
(Song of Songs, 2:10, 14)
My God calls me his friend and asks to see my face and hear my voice. He finds me lovely and seeks me out, calling me forth from my frightened and selfish hiding places in the cliff. He calls me forth, just as he called Abraham, not only to be blessed by him, but so that through my response, many others can also be blessed. This is who I am! This is who he has made me to be.
Traveling toward Mount Moriah from where Abraham and Isaac went up, and afterward touching the stone of Isaac’s sacrifice inside the Dome of the Rock, I felt that I was echoing Abraham’s own sentiments at that moment approximately 4000 years ago while reciting Psalm 18.
Lord, my strength,
Lord, my rock,
My God, my rock of refuge,
God revealed who he is, who he has been, and who he always will be. This encounter between Abraham and Isaac and the Lord became very real that day, but it fully impacted my heart on Easter morning as I stood inside the tomb of the resurrection for Easter Mass at the end of the pilgrimage. I heard the daughters of Jerusalem ask me our own daily pilgrimage question, ‘what does this say about God’ with the words of the Song, ‘What makes your beloved better than any other lover?’
He is delightful in every way…
and my friend.
He is alive! He is love and has opened eternal life for me! This pilgrimage brought so many places of Salvation History to life inside my soul, but most importantly it renewed my experience the Lord is my Beloved, and my friend. It challenges me to let him ‘hear my voice’ and ‘see my face’ in intimate daily prayer.