Walking is, first of all, the command that God gave to Abraham: “Walk in my presence and be perfect.” I go for a walk almost every day; it is my time to do a little exercise and think. When I walk, with whom do I do it and where and which way do I go? And how is my walk through life? Do I walk in the presence of God to achieve holiness?
I know that God walks by my side, when I am righteous and when I sin too. We are not alone in our journey; the God of time and history walks with each one of us. God wants to walk with us, to meet us on the way. We should not be scared of the things that happen to us on our way. God has been patient with all who have lived in grace and sin. We walk with our weaknesses, sorrows, joys and strengths, towards a goal of holiness, which prepares us for the definitive encounter with Christ.
Pope Francis, commenting on the Gospel of the sending of Jesus to the disciples to announce the Good News, recalled that Jesus sends us not only to “walk,” but also to forge a path. We have a mission to announce the message of Salvation.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has made us stay at home. It has deprived us of attending Church to receive the Sacraments or visit Jesus. Now that the virus is under control – or almost – where do we walk? Where do we go? Could it be that we are going to stay at home, comfortable? The Holy Father used to say that he who remains detained and does not go out on the roads to live the Good News and announce it, does not give to others what he has received in Baptism; he is not a true disciple of Jesus, since he lacks the missionary character to get out of himself and bring something good to others.
Let us, then, begin with the interior journey; let us seek the Lord every day in prayer, in meditation, “so that our experience of the Gospel is not weak, diluted, or without strength.” (Pope Francis. Homilía del jueves: Si un discípulo no camina para servir no sirve para caminar. 2019) Let us walk to announce and serve. Our life is not for ourselves, to be locked up at home, but to give to others.
Today, let us respond to the Pope’s invitation to go forth, like Mary Our Lady, to meet others and accompany them on their journey. In a special way, we are invited to walk with the many young people who are distancing themselves from the Church and who, for many reasons, hope that someone will listen to them and give them testimony of God’s tender love. Let’s also walk with families, many of whom face the challenges of staying together. “A missionary disciple,” said the Holy Father in Amoris Letitia #200, “who accompanies others must follow the example of Jesus and Mary. He must be able to discern the presence of God in ordinary life; make the decision to go out to the peripheries; walk with “the other” in the style of Jesus; act with justice and tenderness; contemplate and walk towards others.”
How do I “walk” in my story? Do I let God walk with me or do I want to walk alone? Do I let Him caress me, help me, forgive me, and take me forward to meet Jesus Christ? In our walk towards God, we meet our brothers and sisters, and together, we humbly ask Jesus to give us peace, that peace of the heart that God gives us when we let Him take us by the hand and walk with us.
Paula Gomez Victorica was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was a contemplative nun of the Order of Saint Benedict for 20 years. Since 2001, she has lived in Natick, Massachusetts.
Paula is a Certified Spiritual Director. She currently teaches Biblical Spirituality online at Boston College. She is also a Eucharistic Minister and collaborates in the pastoral and enrichment commissions of some the Metrowest parishes.