I had six days at home this past month. Some were only a few hours in length – enough time to do a load of laundry, repack my bags, and then set off again. I crisscrossed the country, going from Baltimore to Albuquerque before landing back in Denver for a night. I made it to the Gulf Coast and the oceans that flank either side of the country. Weather ranged from sleet and snow to sunshine and warmth. I spoke about spirituality and then spent five days on retreat. Audiences for my presentations ranged from adults to young children and included pastors and parents, students and teachers, catechists and youth ministers. All in all, my road trips were a blend of experiences and events that brought me in touch with kind, generous, and hospitable people. This, in turn, opened me further to a recognition of God’s presence along the way.
It may be a tad overworked, but there is a reason why the metaphor of journey describes the spiritual life. It denotes something dynamic rather than static, a process of perpetual motion that ranges from slow and steady to full-steam ahead. Our religious heritage is peopled with those on the move – from Abraham and Sarah’s late-in-life relocation in Canaan to Paul’s expeditions to fledgling Christian communities. Jesus was a consummate “road warrior” as he traveled from town to town teaching, healing, and showing people the way towards the fullest life possible. His pace picked up and slowed as he met both the demands of his ministry and the need to tend his own soul. Journeying to places of solitude and stillness were not simply rest stops, however. They were oases of grace where he could be in full communion with his Father and open to the Spirit of Wisdom.
This is the kind of journey most of us have a hard time taking. So much easier to keep on the endless highway of things to do and places to see. In an issue of Weavings magazine, Sister Joan Sauro describes the importance of traversing the inner landscape in order to discover and uncover the layers of our truest selves. “The more you walk your inner earth, the more you touch your deepest self,” she writes, “the more you will find that God has been there before you, that God’s name is written on every layer.” I found this to be true even in the midst of my crazy month of travel. I found little pockets of quiet in which to reflect while in the midst of busy airports and stuffy hotel rooms. Each time brought a renewed sense of the dynamic nature of God who journeys with us wherever we go.
Learn more about the Saint Paul and his incredible journey by reading Father Don Senior’s twelve-part series on this amazing and passionate follower of Christ.
Download my Prayer for Travelers and share it in your home or parish. Reflect on ways God is journeying with you throughout each day.