Pilgrimage in the Year of Mercy

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“This (Holy Year) is the opportune moment to change our lives!” the pope has said. “This is the time to allow our hearts to be touched!…May pilgrimage be an impetus to conversion.”

– Pope Francis

This is what Pope Francis said when he opened up this Jubilee Holy Year of Mercy. I touched on the idea of what a pilgrimage is a few weeks ago, and as I proceed through this holy year, I’m still wondering.

I have several plans that involve retreats and learning; contemplation and writing, and I’m not sure where one activity ends and one begins.

Is that a pilgrimage? A retreat? A holiday?

And where does mercy fit in?

I honestly don’t know, and part of this year for me is looking for my own form of mercy; for me.

I’m much better at giving mercy to others, forgiving and letting things go, but I still haven’t done my pre-Easter penance for reconciliation, not because it’s too hard, but because it involves another person and that is the hardest thing to ask of me.

So I ask you:

What does this mean for me in particular as I take my retreats this year, and sort of a partial pilgrimage?

Or just wander through my notebook and my Kindle finishing projects and beginning others?

At the end of this holy year, will I have traveled enough to find my mercy?

Our parish is one of the lucky ones that is not a cathedral, but still has a Holy Door to enter. I’ve walked through it once, earlier in the year, simply as an introduction to myself and to G-d of my intentions, but I will be going through it again after some prayer and meditation.

It gives me joy to see it whenever I go to my church, and it also gives me the reminder that the year is not over yet. I still have time to find my way, and my way begins through that door.

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