Journey to Easter

01. Inner Pilgrimage

“Human beings have an innate restlessness for God, but this restlessness is a participation in God’s own restlessness for us. Since God is concerned about us, He follows us from the crib, even to the Cross ” (Pope Benedict XVI, Feast of Epiphany, 06 January, 2013).

Man is in search of God. On the other hand, God is in search of men with manifold zeal. Ever since the fall of the first parents, both God’s thirst for humanity and humanity’s broken thirst for God has gone unquenched. This is the dilemma: we have an infinite desire for God. The finite world cannot satisfy it. So we panic. What does Jesus do with these panicked hearts? He reveals that God’s desire for us exceeds our desire for God. God wants to bless you much more than you desire to be blessed. When we come to realize that the travails that people undergo in their quest for love and protection are the pains of God Himself in His search for us, we begin to experience real happiness.

“What do you seek?” (John 1:38) was the first words of the Lord at the onset of public ministry. Like the first disciples we need to respond: “We wish to know where you reside and stay with you.” Our wholehearted surrender is the price God demands in order to stay with us. This was the price paid by the Three Magi who came to visit the divine child. With their knowledge, they adored Him. Leaving their safe confines, they undertook the pilgrimage to meet the Savior. Faith’s inner pilgrimage to God occurs above all in prayer. St. Augustine once said that prayer is ultimately nothing more than the realization and radicalization of our yearning for God.

When you pursue trivial truths and short-lived pleasures and come to realize that your thirst has not been quenched, remember the immortal words of St. Augustine: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Christ’s final words on the Cross were something similar: “I thirst!” He thirsts for your soul, your time, your surrender. ‘God thirsts that we may thirst for Him’ (Mother Teresa of Calcutta). Prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. Lent is a season of thirsting!

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