Prior to the World Youth Day festivities in Madrid, there was a number of youth that journeyed through other pilgrimage sites in France and Spain. Unfortunately I was not able to join them, but the day I arrived to Madrid, the extended-trip pilgrims shared with each other their highs of the week; fortunately, I was able to sit in during that discussion.
Most of them shared their experience of walking the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James. It’s a long and very difficult route, covering about 800 km of the northwestern coast of Spain. My friends and mentors were privileged to walk a part of it and shared similar experiences that afternoon. Some mentioned that they kept silent throughout the walk. Some prayed together. Of all responses, the one that stuck out to me the most was something along the lines of “walking the Camino brought me to the realization that it wasn’t just about carrying each other’s cross, but carrying our crosses together.” We all face our own personal battles and deal through our own problems. Sometimes there is nothing you could do to help another person. But despite not knowing what another was going through, they walked together, encouraging one another to keep going despite the difficulty of the journey.
Through this, I was reminded of the beautiful truth of what the Church is…of what we are. Because we are the body of Christ, we carry our crosses together. This Way of life allows us to not only bring those sufferings to God, but to be that source of comfort and strength to others to stay the course on that journey to our Destination. Yes, “life is too big to walk it alone.”