I walked into the monastery chapel on Christmas evening in Spencer, Massachusetts. I had flown to Boston after saying Mass at St. Teresa’s on Christmas Eve in 1997. I was a resident priest here at the parish during the 1990’s, celebrating Mass and helping out, while teaching English at Quigley High School. That moment of entering the chapel for Night Prayer was the beginning of a huge reorientation within my heart.
I had lost my way, so to speak, walking aimlessly, going through the motions. The foundation of my life was collapsing and I was sinking and drowning in emptiness. That experience of so many years ago breathes freely in my memory, writing this before the Blessed Sacrament , as the foundation that gives you... me... life and purpose began to be strengthened underneath my pilgrim feet. Yes, I was transformed into a pilgrim, faith “grounding” me in a loving and merciful Christ.
Pilgrims are on a journey to a destination, not to end in this life, but ultimately in the next. We walk, we journey, by faith not sight. But we do so on a strong foundation. Without this Foundation, which is nothing more or less than our relationship with Christ, we flounder and sink into a void that scatters and confuses. What then happens is that he ego rules and dominates, causing our true self, created by God, to be submerged by the false self, created by our desire to BE God, creating the journey leading to nowhere. All this self made and self centered “creating” evaporates into nothingness.
On this Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, we celebrate two foundational figures of our beautiful Church. The Apostolic Foundation is grounded in faith, their faith in Christ , given to them by the Living God. Foundations are essential in building strong physical structures; foundations are important in our educational development; foundations form the bedrock of our emotional and psychological growth. We need foundations on which to build a life that can be sustained against the storms of life.
Our religious faith needs a strong foundation. Peter and Paul give the edifice of the Church, “built of living stones,” a strong foundation grounded in their witness to Christ. The Rock of Faith is our foundation, united with the apostles, always in union with their faith and teaching. As I walked in that chapel, after celebrating Mass at St. Teresa’s on Christmas Eve, Christ gently placed me back on track, so to speak, in union with these two foundational Saints. I became a pilgrim once again, journeying with fellow pilgrims. I belonged...