I want to be a warrior, a priest, an apostle, a doctor of the Church, a martyr—there is no heroic deed I do not wish to perform. I feel as daring as a crusader, ready to die for the Church upon the battlefield.
I long to bring light to souls, like the prophets and doctors; to go to the ends of the earth to preach Your name, to plant Your glorious Cross, my Beloved, on pagan shores.
One mission field alone would never be enough; all the world, even its remotest islands, must be my mission field. Nor would my mission last a few short years, but from the beginning of the world to the End of Time.~ St Thérèse of Lisieux
Called to the Cross for Communion
Did you know that the Catechism of the Catholic Church uses the words “pilgrim” and “pilgrimage” 25 times to describe the Virgin Mary and the Catholic Church and their activities on earth?
Dictionary.com says a “pilgrim” is “a person who journeys, especially a long distance, to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion” or “a traveler or wanderer, especially in a foreign place.”
You are a pilgrim! You are a Christian traveler in a foreign land seeking your true home (Jn 17:16, 18:36). The brave men and women of fiction may be on what Joseph Campbell calls the “hero’s journey,” but as a member of the Church, you are on a Saint’s Journey (CCC 946)!
The hero’s journey has three main phases: departure, initiation and return. It may be said that the Saint’s Journey also has three phases: the calling, the cross and communion.
While the hero is called to adventure, so the saint is called by God (attracted to what is good, true and beautiful) (CCC 27, 41; Phil 4:8). While the hero must face adversity, so the saint must carry his cross (Matt 16:24; Lk 9:23). And while the hero returns with the boon at the end of his quest, so the saint seeks communion with the Body of Christ during his life (Jn 13:34-35) and with the Holy Trinity after his death (Jn 17:20-23).
God calls soldiers and flowers to be his heroes
The Catholic Church has a tradition of venerating its saints. We treasure their stories and their spiritual writings because they serve as models for our own sainthood.
St Ignatius of Loyola and St Thérèse of Lisieux are our Saint’s Journey patrons.
Ignatius’s and Thérèse’s Saint’s Journey stories show us that God calls people from all walks of life and he uses whatever makes us unique, even our flaws, to make us great saints if we cooperate with his grace.
The soldier and the flower represent two unique yet universal paths to Jesus Christ. Like Ignatius and Thérèse, each of us should develop a unique and universal spirituality within our own unique and universal story to grow closer to Jesus Christ.