Last Saturday I went on a personal pilgrimage. It was the birthday of my beloved Aunt Mary who died years ago, and I realized that I was way overdue for a visit to her grave and the graves of my grandparents, about an hour from here, near the Church of my childhood.
So I got to 8 am Mass, then had a cup of coffee, and began a trek around town. I wanted to visit 2 cemeteries, so I could visit Aunt Mary, both my maternal and my paternal grandparents, and my Godparents, I decided to walk to the various places… making for about a 5 mile hike.
There was some light rain and cool temperatures, but I was dressed for it: on a pilgrimage a bit of hardship to offer up is good for the soul.
After about 3 hours I got back to the Church and sat down for a while – deeply moved by wonder of God, the beauty of this life and what God wants for us!
Christian remembrance of those who have gone before us is to become a unity with them in prayer and great wonder about what this life is about: the great Covenant with God. I will be your God and you will be my people.
In His wisdom, the Covenant is to be passed from one generation to the next: in the home, in family.
To be a human person is to live in a network of love, of the God who is love and MERCY. As I was contemplating family, there was the name of one uncle who was mentally ill… Another who was serious alcoholic till he was finally deeply converted to Christ.
I found myself in the Church where I was baptized, where I received my First Holy Communion, and where I was confirmed. How I loved to be an altar boy where our family came together with other families in this great family of Jesus, to receive the Bread of Life, the Holy Eucharist, Sacrifice of the New and Eternal Covenant. Not merely some nice gesture to say that we are sorry that we can be bad but God is nice and says, “that’s OK”: on Calvary Christ truly took sin on Himself and conquered it.
Truly He is risen! At the Last Supper he said, “Take eat, this is My Body”. He meant what He said. No halfway measures: “My flesh is true food and My blood is true drink”.
He is truly present in the Eucharist so He can be truly live in our hearts and our homes. He so desires to give us His Divine Life through His Covenant with us, His Family.
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About Fr. James Phalan, C.S.C.
Father James Phalan, C.S.C. is a Catholic priest, member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, and the National Director of
Family Rosary. He served as a missionary for many years as part of the Family Rosary team, travelling the globe to help people come to Jesus through Mary. Now he is happy to be serving back at home in the USA!