As I write, the Crossroads walkers are skirting the Georgian Bay and making their way towards the urban areas of Ontario. Yet prior to venturing into Sault Ste.Marie ten days ago, the following blog entry was written by one of their group. (Others entries may be found at: http://crossroadscanada.blogspot.com/) Enjoy. - B.J.
Greetings brothers and sisters in Christ
In the beginning of our walk we, the crossroads members, spoke of suffering, or more specifically, the suffering we would endure. We discussed with people and parishes about the treks through the mountains, plains, and hills that were to be endured. We explained to all about the hardships, physical and spiritual, that we would bear for the sake of the unborn.
But talking about what you are about to do cannot be compared to the experience of the actual doing. We have now been gone for close to two months of our three month pilgrimage across Canada. We have traversed the mountains. We slept in the cold, sometimes in tents, sometimes crammed in the R.V. We met up with bears, moose, and other wild life, day or night, to which scared some of us half to death. There have been times when we thought someone lost, or we ourselves lost. I can attest to, as well as the rest of the crew, of taking a few wrong turns and going the wrong way (going west is not the same as going east). We have walked the long highways of the plains. There is a special challenge unique to the prairies: seeing the same thing for miles on end. The flood plains of Manitoba, though not too physically demanding, constantly reminded us of the suffering of others. To see whole fields swallowed up and replaced by vast lakes left an eerie sense of danger looming around every bend: what if our pathway was washed out, how would we continue?
Amongst these challenges there is always the threat of humanity: be he neighbour or self. We have come across with great guilt pent up inside causing instability and aggression. Trying to convince oneself of not being a murderer, or at least a conspirator of a murder, takes a toll on a man’s mind, heart, and soul. We have been yelled at, sworn at, and on the occasion swerved at because the lingering guilt bites at their inner most being. Our shirts, our cause, God’s truth breaks down years of lies and leaves one naked. Yet the truth does not only bite at their conscience, it bites at ours as well. I am pro-life, but what does that mean? How does this manifest itself in my actions? Am I being merciful and loving? Am I being self centered, prideful, or slothful even? Am I living my life in a manner befitting of a Catholic? If I do not live up to God’s call, I will be hurting all around me with my own sinfulness.
There are also personal sufferings that have been endured for the sake of our mission of mercy. I have suffered dehydration (by not drinking enough water) and strep throat. Others have suffered because of personal realizations, character defects, family problems, and the list goes on.
I write of these things to show the seriousness of our mission. It is not simply a little jaunt across Canada, where good friends hang out and have a good time. There are too many people who do not take us seriously. I have suffered, therefor I understand a little more. I came to Crossroads wanting a rest from life, and now, because of suffering, I want to fight to protect the sacredness of life.
Suffering is a great blessing to fallen humanity. It teaches us what not to do or what to do. Even more so it unites humanity. To suffer is to connect ourselves to others who also suffer. Most importantly, to suffer is to unite that which unites all humanities suffering: Jesus Christ. He suffered for us so that we may suffer in Him. We lift our sufferings, our burdens, our hardships, our toils to his cross. When we do this we suddenly gain supernatural strength, courage, love, and mercy. Ironically, that which was evil is turned into a great good. That which was dead comes to life. The obscenities that fly our way are turned to blessings as we pray for them. Our illnesses and stresses become causes of joy for they may save a child.
There are others out there who sacrifice themselves as well, not just the Crossroads crew. There are those who walk with us spiritually, and those who provide for us by giving us lodgings, food, and support. The Crossroads team members are only the head of the spear, there is still the whole shaft behind it giving support. Without the shaft, there is not weight for the head to fly and pierce its target. Without our supporters, those who provide for us both spiritually and physically, Crossroads would fail. Because we are united in our suffering in the same body of Christ, we are given the graces to reach out to the hardened and the broken, and God willing, to reach the hearts and minds of Canada.
Matthew J.J Hatchen (Friday, July 15, 2011)
Posted by p.taylor at 9:43 AM