Suffering dogs the footsteps of every man. It leads us to ask the deep questions of life: Why was I born? What is my purpose? Can any good come out of this? Why me? Is there really a caring God or am I all alone in this? Is this all there is?
In moments of suffering we can forget about the joy in our lives, because what we feel at the moment most deeply is pain. It is during these times we are most vulnerable to seeing only the tree in front of us and failing to be aware of the great forest around us. The answer to our questions is bigger than our human imagination. It is God made man.
Yet one does not have to go to the Middle East to discover that life itself is a pilgrimage for each of us: it is a journey to holy places, an opportunity to let Jesus beckon us to follow him on the path to holiness. We know that God speaks to us by the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, making every day of life a sacred journey. But we can't predict when someone we have met might, in some quiet and unobtrusive way, open God's message of hope to us just a little more deeply. And we never know which day may be our last, when the end of our pilgrimage will have arrived and the great mystery is made clear before God.
Living life as a pilgrimage, we know that our destiny is heaven, a reality beyond this present existence. The less baggage we carry, the easier it will be for us to fix our eyes on the wonders around us in which the Creator is revealed. Possessions will mean less, people will mean more. And we know that money cannot buy happiness.
Each day is a new beginning, a moment to come before God to "sing a new song," as the Psalmist tells us. We can sing a new song of praise and thanksgiving for blessings received. We can also sing a new song of need, worry, or fear, knowing that God alone can answer them for us.
May our appreciation of life's pilgrimage lead us in paths of peace, hope, and joy, until that day when God's glory is ours forever.