My first impression of You wasn’t really great. Well, I had heard of You before, but You didn’t really appeal to me. You had none of the worldly attractions – neither “successful” nor “rich”. I didn’t think much of You, but You kept sending messengers to me to invite me to know You a little more.
And thus we started our long “courtship” days. As I get to know You, I want to find out more about You. There were times we had long conversations, way past midnight and till almost dawn. I wanted to know more about Your sufferings, and why You suffered. Somehow, despite the apparent attraction, we kept our distance.
But You never give up. You reach out to me. You show me love. That kind of overwhelming and lavish love that I don’t deserve. And You give selflessly. I am deeply moved. I know I can’t hide anymore. I made the commitment – a daily decision to love You back.
The relationship is not smooth sailing. The minute I decide to be in union with You, the devil is there to snatch me away from Your presence. Before that, the devil is not interested in me because I am already living the ways of the world. Yet when the devil sensed that I was having a change of heart, it pulls out all the stops to hinder me.
And I fell.
I now know that whenever I sin, a part of me will be covered with darkness and that part goes to the devil. You are the light and I should walk in light. And my goal is to live in light, and get rid of all those dark patches in my body. I long to be in Your presence. To feel Your love, and Your light.
Knowing You doesn’t stop at the time when I made the commitment to be Yours. I continue to learn about You, Your values and what You represent. Because I love You, I want to find out more about You. Not just what others say about You, not just what I have personally experienced about You, but also the historical You. I want to know Your family back then, and who you were with, how You have inspired others and how others, through the ages, have recorded about You.
And hence this pilgrimage.
I felt as if I had got to know Your roots. No! It’s my roots. Yes! To see how the early Christian Churches were built and the rich history plus deep meanings behind, is to let me know more about You, and about my own roots in You.
I now know that the One I love can be traced back to more than 2000 years ago, that it is a direct link which no other church can claim. That the “Living Miracle” – the hosts that remain incorrupt from 1700s till now – is testament to You, still living among us. That the frescos and paintings were how the early church fathers taught new converts.
I felt as if I only knew the superficial You during those ten years when I was searching for You outside of the Catholic Church, and You brought me to Catholicism to show me the true You. Not just someone from whom some humans claim to have “heard” or with whom they claim to have a “special channel”, when I was outside the Catholic Church.
Through the intricate and delicate paintings and sculptures, I get to know You deeper. On one hand, I am grateful that I am able to witness such heritage, while on the other, I feel sad that those outside the Catholic church have to give up such a wonderful inheritance!
Dear Jesus, thank You for bringing me this far and being with me on this journey. I know that I am a sinner and it is only by Your Holy Spirit dwelling in me as Your Holy Temple that can stop me from turning completely to darkness. I can now appreciate the parallels of an earthly marriage compared to our union with You – that Love is not just a feeling – it is a commitment. And commitment means communication – daily prayers, reading Your words, knowing You and putting You as top priority. Lord God, Heavenly King, I pray that You continue to guide me in this pilgrimage, and even as my 17-day pilgrimage tour is over, I know that I have to continue the journey till my death, to know You, to adore You and to love You. Teach me to surrender and submit to Your Will, and through my words, thoughts and actions, may people come to know Your Light. In the name of our Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen