In May of 2006, I went to Rome on a pilgrimage with a group of people for the occasion of a worldwide encounter with the Holy Father. I was excited about going to Rome for the first time and getting to see places that I’ve only seen on TV and pictures. I have to say that what happened there was something that changed the way I look at life.
We had the opportunity to visit not only Rome but other cities like Assisi, Ravena, Florence, Pisa, Padua, Venece, Sienna, Loretto among others. It was great to contemplate the art and history of those cities but I have to confess that what got me more excited was the experience of getting in touch with the deeper desires that our human heart truly longs for.
As I went on this Pilgrimage, I realized that I was walking on the same streets where great men and women lived, people who made an impact in the life of so many others and in the future of the Church as a whole. I had the chance to visit cities where very known Saints had lived. Saints like Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Catherine of Sienna, Saint Anthony of Padua and also others I hadn’t even heard of before like Saint Philip Neri. I can say that in a way, I knew about the Saints and how they are examples of people who were able to follow Christ and reach fulfillment, but this “knowledge” was just a theory or a concept. It was not until that Pilgrimage that Holiness became more than a sublime and noble ideal for me but something real and achievable.
I went back home thinking; “I have to know more Saints and learn from their own experiences of how to follow Jesus.” I have to say that since then, the Saints became a source of inspiration to me. Getting to know hundreds of experiences give me strength in all my struggles and difficulties. I know I am a human being who is “loved until the end” by God who created me for greatness in the image of His Son Jesus. Not just as a theory or a concept but as an achievable goal. So, I can say that this was the beginning for me of an Eternal Pilgrimage towards Heaven!
All Saints Day reminds us of our brothers and sisters in the Faith who trusting in God’s help, were able to accomplish “true success.” People just like you and me who were real “high achievers” because they were able to model their lives according to Jesus Christ. It also reminds us that we are all called to holiness and that the Saints in heaven are cheering us on with their own example and intercession. Happy All Saints Day!