3 Reasons Why Our Lady Is the Model Pilgrim

Our Lady may not have traveled much, but each of her journeys highlights her determination to serve God in all things.

Scripture records only a few of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s travels. Still, she embodies many characteristics a pilgrim should have. As we celebrate Our Lady of Fatima, let’s reflect on three things we can learn from Mary, the model pilgrim.

1. She let God direct her life, even when she didn’t understand His purposes.
When you travel, you normally choose a place that interests you or has a connection to your family. Ideally, for a pilgrimage, you should include God in your planning process. It’s good to pray to our Lord to guide you in choosing the destination best suited to your spiritual growth.

Our Lady submitted herself to God’s will in all things, including her travels. This proved difficult at times. For example, while she was pregnant, she was forced to move from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census — not an easy journey, especially on a donkey’s back! Yet, she knew God had a reason for this move.

2. Her travels were always marked by selfless love.
There’s nothing wrong with traveling for mere leisure. But a pilgrimage has a higher goal — growing closer to God. Our Lady may not have traveled much, but each of her journeys highlights her determination to serve God in all things.

For example, consider her trip to visit her cousin, St. Elizabeth. While undoubtedly motivated to share the awe of her own conception of Christ, she also wanted to share in pregnant Elizabeth’s joy. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and selflessly helped her with her chores — after all, Elizabeth was much older than Mary.

Ultimately, Mary’s visit was about supporting Elizabeth, not seeking her own comfort. That’s why the Second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary — The Visitation — is traditionally connected to the virtue of charity.

As you plan your pilgrimage, ask God to give you the right spiritual goals for your trip.

3. She pondered everything in her heart.
We live in perhaps the most distracted age in history. The modern human’s attention span has been reduced to mere seconds. This prevents us from taking in all the wonderful things in life the Lord provides and spending time reflecting on them — whether that’s the presence of loved ones, the food we eat each day, or the daily sights we see.

Mary, on the other hand, lived in a perpetual state of contemplation, even when carrying out her daily activities. In Luke 2:19, we learn that Mary took in all the people and events surrounding Jesus’ birth and “pondered them in her heart.”

You should adopt the same contemplative spirit while on pilgrimage. Open yourself up to the sights, sounds, and smells around you — even the seemingly insignificant ones. You never know what God may reveal through a simple flowering bush on the shore of the Sea of Galilee or an ancient path in Rome.

Ready to go on a pilgrimage to put these three principles to work? Join Verso Ministries on a Marian pilgrimage from June 20 to 30, 2024. We’ll visit Fatima, Lourdes, and many other sites connected to our Lady and the saints! Learn more here.

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