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The 3 W’s of being a pilgrim: Walking, watching and waiting

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The 3 W’s of being a pilgrim: Walking, watching and waiting

Commentary by Lisa Ormond | FāVS News

I am officially a pilgrim on the Catholic National Eucharistic Pilgrimage in Idaho this week. This is a big deal for me. I’ve never done this before and I’m 62-years-old. I am a wife, mother and hopefully a grandmother soon. My BFF Teresa of 45 years will tell you I’m the “least impulsive” person she knows. I will tell you that often that is absolutely true — but I AM impulsive when it comes to being a faith follower, especially if my inner spirit sparks me. This is the case with my pilgrim journey in Southern Idaho.  

Yes, I’m a Catholic and a believer in Christ. I am travelling from Moscow, Idaho. I have prayed and fasted to prepare my heart and soul for this divine, intimate encounter. And I am walking with other Christians in solidarity to advocate for peace, healing and a way of living that models that of Jesus. Honestly, in our polarized world, no matter what our beliefs are — can we really have too much love, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, gentleness, sacrifice and peace in our communities and on our streets? I think we all would agree on that answer. 

Steps of faith

Why am I going? To be near Jesus in the Eucharist and to humbly kneel in his sacred presence — and then to pray, praise, thank and, most of all, to listen to what he has to tell me. Sure, if a miracle is thrown into the mix I won’t complain! Really, it is okay to ask God for help. My prayers have been answered before when I didn’t deserve the grace.

I’m walking for myself but more so for others I love — my family and friends alive and gone. I’m walking for generational healing and reconciliation among my family members. I’m walking with passion hoping a divine healing intervention takes place that resurrects my husband’s soul and true self, striking down his mental illness hurdles. And lastly, that one day graces will shower me worthy to meet my first grandchild currently in the womb in darkness. Yes, I realize this is quite a list.

A mystery will unfold

I don’t think Idaho is a place where most Americans would think of going for a spiritual cleansing or renewal, much less a pilgrimage (unless it involved the great outdoors somehow).

In my opinion, a pilgrimage is hugely relational and less religious. I hope his presence moves more than feet and deeply touches hearts of those participating. Let’s imagine everlasting. Let’s seek soulful transformation. Let’s wish for miracles. This will really be a momentous Eucharistic celebration of connectedness, openness and a symbol of harmony — by humanity for humanity — not just religious pomp and circumstance. Spirit substance.

As I heard recently in a homily given by my priest in church, “the power of the Holy Eucharist translates into nourishment for the soul” and “the spirit of God, the spirit of love has been given to us in the most Holy Eucharist, the Lord Jesus himself for our salvation.”  Bottomline, partaking helps us grow in love as a family, as a community. We can only hope we stay open to these truths for the health of us all living in today’s world. Amen.

Perseverance, a pathway to holiness and salvation

I recognize I’ve been on my own spiritual journey and pilgrimage as a faith follower for a minimum of nearly three years. The Lord directly spoke to my heart and told me, “Keep your head down and keep walking.” So, I have, and I still am, hence the pilgrimage must do. I didn’t question the Almighty’s call to me. I just knew I needed to be there.

I sense I have been building physical and spiritual strength to make this pilgrimage (with others publicly). I’ve been solemnly led to this moment and the most holy Blessed Sacrament. His precious body and blood got me here. I’m grateful and certainly if I make it, that alone is a miracle in my eyes.  

I humbly join this procession as a wounded warrior, a shattered person with a cross weighed down by life, stress, grief, illness, ignorance and general inattentiveness. Staying close to God and specifically the Eucharistic has saved me at least three times in my life. I’m in one of those grasping-for-air zones right now.  

Let’s face it. We humans are fragile beings in God’s kingdom. Jesus didn’t seem this way to me. He had inner and physical strength, off-the-charts intuition, a way with words and an appreciation for diversity. He possessed a healing touch that was not only subtle but electrifying. He was radical in his time, a man (and, of course, God) who not only did what was necessary but didn’t mold to the status quo while doing it. Of course, no other human can compare.

The heart can teach us to yield

Especially blessed are we humans when we recognize giving is receiving and loving others expands not only our hearts but also our minds — no matter what religion-based book of rules you open and follow along with. 

As daily pilgrims in this world, let us all be attentive but not cynical in our walks and intentionally willing to consider and honor what we cannot always see, understand and explain. Let us allow love and the passion to do good every day permeate our beings with a true desire to dwell in the possibility of communion as we humbly kneel down for our families, friends and communities. You don’t have to go on an organized Idaho Catholic pilgrimage to find and unite around mercy and compassion — it’s right there within you.


The views expressed in this opinion column are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of FāVS News. FāVS News values diverse perspectives and thoughtful analysis on matters of faith and spirituality.

Lisa Ormond
Lisa Ormond
Lisa has a journalism degree from California State University, Northridge. She looks back on her career to date fondly having worked in various California broadcast news organizations, insurance public affairs and at both Washington State University and the University of Idaho. Lisa has an insatiable curiosity, love for learning and a passion for helping and giving to others. Born and raised in urban California, Lisa has joyfully lived on the Palouse for nearly 14 years. She cherishes the people, the lifestyle, the vibe and the beauty it offers. When not caring for her family and their crazy chickens, she volunteers, writes poetry, creates wood and rock art pieces and putters about her peaceful farm, which fascinates and inspires her daily. Spiritual growth is a priority in her life and a pathway for living peacefully with herself, others and her Lord.

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