IT’S HERE! IT’S FINALLY HERE! My FAVORITE month of the year – October. I love that I live in a world with Octobers (and a state and region of the United States that is overflowing with God’s beauty). Everywhere I look there are vibrant colors, crisp air, and the smell of pumpkin spice! And if that wasn’t enough reason to love October, it is the feast of MY saints (both my middle and Confirmed names) – Theresa and Francis. Coincidence? I think not!
I know that opening paragraph was just a tad over the top, but seriously, I love this time of year. I never really thought much about my Patron Saints, but if I had to choose two that have steered my life it would have to be these two popular Saints. St. Therese is described as having powerful energy and a sensitive spirit. Her story speaks of times in her life where there were dark nights of doubt and fear, but tremendous faithfulness to God. I should also mention that she loved flowers and saw herself as one of the beautiful flowers amongst God’s garden. Her feast day is today, my Anniversary!
Then there’s St.Francis – Patron Saint of ecology and animals. Legend has it that he could talk to the animals. The famous prayer, Prayer of St. Francis, gives us an example to live by, as does the song Canticle of the Sun, written by St. Francis -praising God for the earth’s creations – considering all to be one with humanity. No wonder I am so drawn to this Saint (not to mention the Franciscans, who hold a very special place in my heart). And if all these things weren’t enough, God blessed me with my very first child on His feast day, October 4th.
But with every new beginning, there must be an end right? I did a lot of thinking yesterday, September 30th . For some reason, it always seems to be a day of contemplation for me. For me, it is the official last day of summer – the day before Fall begins and the start to my favorite season – Fall. October marks the beginning of my year, perhaps because it was the beginning of life on my own; the day I married my husband, a day that has always marked new beginnings for me.
Just as the crisp air brings a new look and feel to God’s creation, I too feel invigorated for new things to come. A season in which I am enlightened in unexpected ways.
This past year, I was invited to participate in a bible study from a nearby parish. Apparently, I was in the right time and the right season of my life because after years of reading the Bible, I finally “studied” it in the way in which it was given to us by God. I’m sure I cannot put into words the exact stirring this caused in my soul, but perhaps it is spoken best by the scriptures itself:
And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized Acts 9:18
My heart just about burst open as I finally understood this love story God spoke to my heart. How could I have never understood this before? And shame on me…….shame on us……..for not doing our due diligence to understand the book God left for us. This book is our ancestry. It is the very story that was to be passed down from generation to generation to understand what God intends for us and how he wants to be in a relationship with us. In fact, Moses tell us these words very clearly in Exodus 13:8-9 –
On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9 This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the Lord is to be on your lips. For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.
I don’t know about you, but I thought I had done a pretty good job of teaching my children about God, but I’m not sure I hit the mark on OUR STORY. That means knowing the who, what, where, and why’s of the past and how they relate to the future.
In mentioning earlier about the end of summer for me officially being September 30th, I was struck that it is also the feast day of St. Jerome. He is famous for the quote:
Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.
I couldn’t have thought of a more appropriate day to prepare me for what I had in store for the next two months on the Blog.
But first, a little background. I think it is only natural that when we are excited about something we simply want to share it with the world. It is always on our mind and forever on our tongue. We find every opportunity to share it with everyone we come in contact with. So, while I studied this love story from God for the past year, my husband and closest friends became a willing audience to listen to all I was learning. Knowing how much I was falling in love with the scriptures, my husband surprised me with his suggestion to visit the Holy Land. While my mouth lay visibly open, he shared how he thought this was the perfect year to do this and an opportunity arose where we could participate in a local pilgrimage. His exact words were “I want to see you walk where Jesus walked”. My heart nearly exploded!
Throughout October and November, I want to take you on my journey, In The Footsteps of Christ. I hope to share my hopes and expectations leading up to our trip and then bring you through the hills and valleys of where it all began. Hundreds of scholars have taken on this journey and they could give you an in-depth and much more profound education of the teaching of Christ, the Holy Land and Scripture – that is not what you will find here. My journey will be a private walk with my God and all that he wants to share with me.
I’m sure my stories will include insight on the look and feel of the land, using His creation as my inspiration. The local people, our pilgrimage community, and of course the food will also be my list of things to write about. Either way, this experience will be about the message He longs to share with others through me. So follow along on our journey, In The Footsteps of Christ.