A PATH TO CRISTO REY
Written by: Brother Ernesto Balderas OFMCap
Making a pilgrimage means much more than just walking. To do so implies deciding on a path to travel and setting a goal to reach; It is to take a purpose and make a commitment to fulfill it. Thus, a pilgrimage, according to the words of Pope Francis, becomes “image of the path that each person takes in their existence.” Then, pilgrimage becomes, for each one of us who have ever done it, in a reflection of our life.
During the journey of the pilgrimage we live from everything: we experience the fatigue of the journey, we feel the thirst of the one who seeks some comfort, we live the joy of those who know they have a goal and we feel the peace of those who are conceived afterwards of a long journey.
All this I could experience last weekend during the Youth pilgrimage to Cerro del Cubilete in which I had the pleasure of participating together with some fraternity brothers and some young people from nearby parishes. We begin arriving at the meeting center on the San Juan Pablo II esplanade. There we had the joy of living a holy hour of preparation for the pilgrimage that we were about to begin. Spiritual thrust and youthful joy felt in the air and were, in turn, incentives to embark on the path with motivation.
The speakers and priests who led that moment of prayer invited us to be accompanied by Jesus and open to him to illuminate the dark moments of our lives and give meaning to the joyful. At that time we were able to meet young people from all over the country and from all social contexts, all of them united for a common reason: to entrust their faith and intentions to Jesus, pilgrimage to his temple on top of the mountain.
Once the starting signal was given, with the blessing after the Holy Hour, we begin the climb together. That was another great experience. There was everything: boys singing and singing cheers, others praying the rosary or some other devotion, some in silence and contemplative attitude, and many others with a joy that overflowed in the warm talk and in the mood that motivated to continue on the road, which with the steps became more demanding. Uploading was a moment of sharing. Each one contributed something special and made that experience a prelude that we were preparing, little by little, to be able to live that yearned encounter with Jesus, on the top of the hill.
Once arrived at the esplanade of the hermitage we stopped to have a moment of coexistence and animation with songs and dynamics among all. The enthusiasm was overwhelming and it was impossible to remain indifferent to the spirits of so many people who danced and sang with joy. Although many were tired of the rise, little by little more people were integrated into the dynamics. The mood was on the rise, until finally it was time to prepare to live the mass with the archbishop of Leon. During the Eucharist Mons. Alfonso proposed the example of St. Paul the Apostle, since we celebrated the feast of his conversion. Thus, in the homily, the archbishop invited us to let ourselves be found by Christ so that, as with St. Paul on his trip to Damascus, we can find a deep meaning in our life of faith. In this way, he told us, we will give a convinced testimony of the encounter with Jesus and we can be, as his disciples, true messengers and builders of peace in our society so in need of it.
Finally, once the Mass was concluded, we undertook the final moment of the pilgrimage: the visit to the sanctuary of Christ the King on the top of the hill. Once we got there each of the young people who were entering we could stop to pray in front of Jesus Eucharist and present all our intentions and our own person. We live moments of silence, others of singing, and many more emotions that spilled between smiles and tears. But above all, we were able to experience a strong encounter with Jesus.
Already back, in the bus back to Monterrey, I wondered about each of the participants of that pilgrimage. I wondered about how they would have found Christ, also about how they would have lived the experience of going in search of an encounter with him. But more than anything, I asked myself the question of my own life, how I meet Jesus on a day-to-day basis and if I can say from there, as on the top of the Cubilete, that Christ is King.