By Kate Anderson
For any vacationer who has ever lamented their perfect plans going awry, Our Lady and St. Joseph can relate. Their annual Jerusalem journey took a turn when the child Jesus forget to mention his extended stay at the temple. Fortunately, this incident became a joyful mystery for all to ponder. We can enter more deeply into the mysteries of our own life journeys when us travelers embody this pondering spirit. Let us consider Luke 2:41-52 before embarking on our next adventures and take a few notes from the Holy Family. They teach us that the best pilgrims
- Look for Jesus among companions. His parents weren’t so successful spying little Jesus tucked alongside friends and family, but they offer a beautiful model for us to emulate. Noticing the wisdom of our Teacher in children who joyfully share their knowledge of salmon and stars. Giving thanks for the Lamb’s sacrifice when others selflessly offer to drive at dusk. Embracing the challenge of seeing Jesus in our companions when quarters are too close for too many miles. Take heed from the Holy Family and remember:
- When the going gets rough, turn around. A persuasive threat for feisty backseat dwellers, the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph manifest the fierce love behind this bold reaction. They returned to Jerusalem searching for their beloved Boy while our own travels manifest interior searching for rest, peace, or change. We often need a little time-out amidst the novelty of a new place and space. Travel itineraries must include space for solitude, prayer, and time to
- Seek Jesus in the temple. Our primary address could be miles away, but we are always home in the heart of the universal, Catholic Church! Research destinations beforehand for shrines, basilicas, and other holy sites. Hike trails while praying a Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet. Celebrate Mass at a new place and linger afterward to study the artwork and architecture. Renewed appreciation for our one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church will strengthen your resolve to
- Gird up for three dark days. Inevitably, every perfect plan and idealistic aspiration for travel cannot come to fruition. Someone will get sick, lose their passport, or wail all the way West. We might wonder why we try to coordinate these nice adventures after all, but Our Lady and St. Joseph understand our suffering. Let us turn to them and all our Saints in heaven when we get detoured through the Vale of Tears. The prayers of the faithful strengthen us to
- Find the child Jesus in the temple. In the blessings and challenges of travel, the Lord can move mountains in our souls. Some days are sand and sunshine as far as the eye can see. Other days, we’re hyperventilating out the backseat window, a Krispy Kreme Doughnut box in one hand and the other rubbing a hole through our new “worry rock” souvenir…
(How freeing to laugh and remember that cloudy Wisconsin morning now, in the light of love!) We find the child Jesus in the temple that is us when we set aside our critical spirits. No need for rose-colored Instagram filters here. Peace will be ours when we see ourselves through the adoring gaze of our Father: His love far outweighs a “like.” Confident as His beloved children, we are free to
- Be about the Father’s work. It almost sounds like a sassy tween answer when the freshly-found Jesus greets his anxiety-ridden Mother in the Temple, but we know He is a faithful Son just doing what His Father asks. Whether frying eggs, driving the boat, or distracting carsick Littles, fulfilling our duties is important; yet we must do whatever He tells us and avoid the unnecessary. Be present and befriend that out-of-office automatic response. Make prudent and virtuous accommodations for your travel party. Find a church for Sunday Mass and skip the burger joint on Lenten Fridays.
No need to keep up with the Joneses – Follow the Holy Family and take a trip. Be faithful to the journey, dear pilgrims, for our ultimate destination is the sweet shores of eternity. Let us imitate Our Lady’s example and
- Treasure all these things in the heart. Soul-stirrings last longer than the photos anyways.
About the Author:
Kate Anderson is a young lady with an old soul. She spends her days communicating and marketing for a Catholic school. Kate enjoys conversing with kindred spirits over warm beverages, reading spiritual books, and returning to her rural roots.
Photo courtesy of Kate Anderson. All rights reserved. Used with permission.