This is it!
7.5 days ‘til take-off.
Large-scale adventure 2016, mark 2.
Clothes laid out.
Itineraries to be double-checked.
Bag to be packed, and then repacked, and then emptied completely and packed one more time.
Water bottles and rain jacket to be marked with my name.
Prayer books to be assembled.
My goodness, there is so much yet to do!
If you are wondering what in the world I am blabbering on about, it’s this: first blog post by Erin…ever. Well, what I am really going on about is the pilgrimage I am about to embark on. Think Holy Land walk-where-Jesus-walked week, plus a half day in Budapest, Hungary (pronounced Boodə-peSHt by locals), followed by World Youth Day with the Holy Father in Poland, home of St. Pope John Paul II, St. Faustina, and St. Maximilian Kolbe. As you can see below, my Holy Land guide book (courtesy of John Paul Pilgrimages and Tours) is already full of post-it notes for all the places where we will be praying.
Being the excited packer that I am, I have had all my clothes together for a few days now: a week and a half early. Just yesterday, I went shopping for the final touches: the super tiny travel towel, the sunscreen and medicines, and the walking shoes (that I should have bought and broken in a few weeks ago-oops). Today, it gets put in a bag to see if it all fits, and then I spend the afternoon taking out what I don’t need. That will leave me available all week to work and wait in eager anticipation for Monday, July 11th. And of course to celebrate our country’s freedom…Happy 4th of July! Let’s pray for religious liberty this 4th as we seek the right to continue to live out our Christian lives in the public sector, led by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit and the guidance of our Blessed Mother.
Impressed, are you? Well, probably not. When I started packing, I wanted to pack the minimums, to truly enter into the pilgrimage spirit. I want my focus to be on God’s presence and all that He has done throughout salvation history, not on which outfit to pick for the day or whether my clothing is going to be okay at the Churches we visit. However…as soon as you start shopping for the three or four things on your list, all the sudden, your well-thought-out list starts growing…and now you have four full shopping bags of stuff and much taller piles than anticipated. It seems inevitable, really.
And yet, and yet…no matter how full my bag gets or how light I pack, I am still missing something. What is that something, you ask?
And I cannot get those alone.
I have a special journal which I began over a year ago, and it is home only to the prayer intentions entrusted to me. I do not write my thoughts in it as I do my normal journal, and I rarely read it through unless to bring to mind what I am praying for, but there are already a few pages full of intentions. For loved ones who are sick, for people who have died, for those who have left the church, for once-expectant mothers whose babies are soon to be one year old, for little children from summer camp, for myself, for people I will never meet who will always be included in this little book of prayers.
These prayers are important, and yes, they will be remembered. But I need some help! I want to bring at least five full pages of intentions to Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Kraków, the Divine Mercy Sanctuary, all these places. Five front-to-back, one intention per line, full pages of your needs. Of the needs of your community. Of the desires of your heart. That means I need your help. Please share this post on Facebook, to your family, to whomever. I want to collect all the prayers that I can! But I need them by next Sunday, July 10th.
Here’s what I can guarantee:
- I will pray for you.
- I will not share your intentions with others unless to ask them to join me in prayer, and even then, I will not use your name.
- I will not judge you on what you ask for in prayer.
- I will bring this book of intentions, with your prayers written inside, to the Holy Sites which I visit. I will bring your prayer intentions with me to Mass, and I will pray that God be with you in each moment.
- If you wish for me to pray for something dear to you, but you do not want to share the specific intention, ask me to pray for a “special intention”. That’s all you have to say. God knows your heart.
The rest will be up to God, who always hears us when we call to Him with faith!
To send me prayer requests, please email me at email@example.com with the subject line “Pilgrimage prayer intentions,” or leave a comment on this post.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called,
and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.”
(Psalm 34: 4-17)