By way of introduction, we have been asking friends to tell us about their experiences with “everyday pilgrimage.” In this article, we hear from Preston Medeiros. Preston is an “expat” (expatriot) living abroad with his family in the Philippines. He is also a Pauline Cooperator. The best description of what this is for people unfamiliar with the Pauline Family and it’s special charism is that Preston is a “lay Pauline” or a “third order Pauline.” Of course, we did a caricature of Preston to thank him for sharing this information.
We must make a conscious effort to stay on our pilgrimage, to encounter Jesus, and not to get lost along the way. My own personal spiritual pilgrimage involves three areas of progressive but simultaneous, conscious effort:
- Spiritual reading.
- Spiritual renewal.
- Spiritual awareness.
WHAT IT MEANS …
Spiritual reading helps make the invisible visible. It nourishes the mind, heart and soul. It reveals God’s truths to us. We then take what we have internalized through reading and we externalize it through actions in a kind of spiritual renewal. In prayer and the Holy Mass we encounter Jesus in a very real way. And beyond the walls of our parish, we can visit holy sites, churches, and Pauline Media Centers where we are further immersed in God’s love as we renew our spirituality.
Finally, as we grow in faith, we begin to see Jesus in every person and in every situation. This last phase is a spiritual awareness. Not only do we become aware of His constant presence, but we also become aware of our own specific roles and vocation within his presence. And thus, we are enabled to better evangelize.
A STORY ALONG THE WAY …
The spiritual awareness and personal encounters with Jesus can be jarring at times. My five year old grandson, Daniel, loves to draw. One day he came to me with his whiteboard. He had drawn Jesus carrying his cross. He did this of his own volition. The image was impressive for an artist of his young age. It was surreal but yet relatable. It was simple and innocent, but yet full of complexity and raw realism.
Somehow my young grandson had imagined, conceptualized, and captured Christ’s suffering in his art. Only Jesus could have revealed this to Daniel and, in turn, he evangelized me with it. We both encountered Jesus.
FROM PRESTON’S SPIRITUAL READINGS …
“In one sense God never leaves us alone. He sustains all things in existence with his creative love. Through Baptism and the other sacraments he is present in his sanctifying grace. In another sense, however, God does ‘leave’ us. In our limited human nature, we quickly lose track of God’s presence. God is always with us—but we are not always with him. The cares and concerns of day-to-day living barge in and claim our attention.” –Ordinary Grace Weeks 18-34: Daily Gospel Reflections (Pauline Books and Media)