Being God’s Pilgrim

Since Pope Pius XII died on this date in 1958, this is a quick throwback post to the summer of 2018 when I visited the Campo Verano cemetery in Rome.

Take a look at the statue I found at the entrance, followed by the story of a Jew who chose to take this pope’s name upon deciding to the enter the Catholic Church.

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A Pilgrimage to the Martyrs’ Shrine

It was several years ago when I first read Fr. Myles Gaffney’s book Witness to Faith: An Introduction to the Life of Joseph Chiwatenhwa. This book tells the story of an Indigenous Catholic convert who was considered by the Jesuit missionaries to be “the Christian par excellence” and “the pearl of our Christians.” About Joseph, the Jesuits said, “It was in this Christian that we had our hope after God.”

More recently, I took another look at this book about this Huron saint and found this photo accompanied by my prayerful marginalia about hoping to visit the Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, Ontario one day.

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The Longest Line to See Nothing

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is a place to which thousands of pilgrims flock every day to see what isn’t there.

It is quite amusing, in fact, to wait in line for hours in order to see a place that you know to be empty.

Life is filled with a great many paradoxes. It is a paradox that the cross, which was an instrument of torture, became an instrument of divine reconciliation and the most enduring symbol of Christian faith. It is a paradox that the empty tomb became the sign of the fullness of Christian hope – that we “will not all die, but we will all be changed” and that “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

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Suffering happens for us, not to us

Today an article appeared in my newsfeed titled, “Rabbi Yehuda Dukes, 39, Inspired Thousands in Health and in Sickness.” In it, I learned that Rabbi Dukes, much-loved around the world and most especially by his wife and their six children, passed away from Covid.

What I found most striking was this interview the rabbi gave in August. Upon recovering from months in a coma, Rabbi Dukes spoke over a video call about his experiences and was honest about the excruciating physical pain he faced in addition to the anguish of being separated from his family.

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The Room in Which You Die

One thing I found interesting while travelling throughout Europe was the various occasions on which I would behold the room in which a notable person had died or, at least, a reproduction of it.

Nowadays, it is so common for people to die in hospitals but just imagine if you died in your own room and then it became a tourist attraction for centuries to come.

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