Jesus called us to Krakow, where many of us worshipped at the Divine Mercy shrine, which features that famous painting of Jesus with red and blue light emanating from his heart. This is where St. Faustina prayed, and where the painting reflecting her vision of Jesus is housed. Jesus called each pilgrim to meet him here, in his heart of mercy.
Jesus called us to Auschwitz, to meet him in the haunted streets and ruined crematoria which perpetrated such unimaginable horrors. Jesus called us to meet him deep underground in the salt mines at Wieliczka, where miners carved out forty different chapels so that they could better worship God even 800 feet deep. We met Jesus in the incredible warmth and generosity of those who hosted our group in a small town west of Krakow - I’m certain they are all going straight to Heaven, with hearts as big as theirs.
Jesus called us into situations that tested our patience and endurance: long hours of standing; hot, humid weather; a 15 kilometre walk; crushing crowds. He even called my particular group to tragedy: we were nearly first on the scene after a tragic motorcycle accident. Some of our number had the training to try to help, but ultimately all we could do was pray, ensure he received last rites, and try to make sense of the tragedy of death in amidst so much life.
We were reminded that pilgrimages aren’t destinations, they are points of departure. We were asked to consider how will we live mercy in our daily lives. For me, I departed from this pilgrimage with a strengthened relationship with my boyfriend, new friends, and renewed conviction to begin RCIA this fall. I have been strengthened, challenged, changed, and fed. I was called to meet Jesus in the Catholic church on this pilgrimage. How are you meeting him? How will you live mercy in your life?