The Catholic Vocations Office Camino Pilgrimage is underway
in Spain. Here is one of the reflections from pilgrim Stephen Cheon.
Ave María! Today is day eight of walking. It has been a
surreal experience, to simplify every facet of my life so that it fits into a
backpack. A beautiful experience, to walk the way to the tomb of St James with
my brothers. Some of my favourite moments are when the sun rises, after one or
two hours of walking, gradually seeing the sky full with more hues of blue;
stretching at a pilgrim hostel after a long day of walking, and the long
stretches of quiet times of reflection amidst the fields of wheat and barley.
My Camino has looked quite different from what I had
expected. On the second day, in the last 10 kilometres of walking, just before
our stop at the hospice of St Nicholas, I felt my shin tugging quite unnaturally. After two days of walking through not
inconsiderable pain, another pilgrim and myself taxied to León, where we rested
for two days. I must admit, it was quite disappointing, but that feeling was
unrivalled compared to deciding to take another two days off, this time in
order to see the doctor.
Our life is often full of disappointments, and it is
precisely in these moments that I am learning the necessity of humility and
hope. Mother Teresa said that to learn humility we must accept humiliations,
and humility is truth. I can do little about my shin; I cannot do anything
about the difficulties the Church is experiencing. But in this moment I must
realise that holiness resides in doing what needs to be done, with a big smile.
I think that my Camino will be about learning humility.
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Humility to let the Lord fix my sin, rather than making more
of a mess out of it myself.
The true power of the church lies not in its beautiful
churches, or its ability to influence politics. The true power of the Church is
holiness. So perhaps I will end this reflection with one of my favourite quotes
from Pope Saint John Paul II. ‘It is Jesus who you seek when you dream of
happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you...’