A reflection on the book “El Camino de Santiago” by tito Frank Padilla
“All roads lead to Rome”, for us Christians, our paths should lead us to Heaven, our final goal, our true home. Along the way, we encounter a lot of distractions, wrong turns, u-turns, unpaved roads, narrow paths, paths that are easy to walk at but in truth only leads us farther away from our end point; we encounter different people that help make walking along the road easier, some of them, good inspirations, while others are utter distractions.
Here are 10 principles from the book that I believe everyone should know:
“Look to divine markers along the way” or what I call the inkling of the Holy Spirit. Go where the Holy Spirit leads you. At first I thought I wouldn’t be effective in serving the kids ministry, but it was just my personal fears that created this doubt. I realized that this is where God was leading me all these years, from not pursuing the career I took in my undergraduate and master’s degree, I ended up in the industry I never saw myself working in, I remember saying to myself “I will never be a teacher” but I ended up as one, and surprisingly I enjoyed my stint as a teacher. When I left my profession to become a missionary, I never thought I would once again go back to schools to ‘teach’ the young children. I sometimes kid myself saying that even if I quit being a missionary, I would only end up doing what I am already doing now, so why quit? God didn’t want me to remain in one place (one school) to teach, He wanted me to go around and share it to everyone!
“Give more of yourself.” In my life as a missionary, I found myself sharing more and more of my personal stories, even stories I dared not admit but realized that these experiences of mine are used by God to enlighten others, it also helped me open myself more to other people, and here I thought I was friendly. Through our lives being used by God, we bring His life to others through our personal stories and sharings, our social media posts are also avenues of sharing how great God has been to our lives. Do not be afraid to share what you have, who you are, what you experience to other people, because this is God’s way of reaching out to those who doesn’t know Him yet, let yourself be used by Him.
“Thread carefully in the world” you might not be too mindful and fall into despair, or go back to your old sins, but worry not, for the Lord awaits your return, but be careful where you go, what you do, what you think, and what you pursue, are these leading you closer to God? Or is it moving you away from Him little by little and you haven’t noticed it yet?
“Reject the allure of the world.” All my college friends are established, have families, living their dreams, travelling, while I am doing the work of the Lord. I believe I chose the better path, it might not lead to gratification in this world, but what I am striving for is heaven.
“Your burden is light.” I remember the physical exhaustion I had to endure during the WYD’16, walking for kilometers on end, it was the longest walks I had in my life, and the farthest was 12.2km in 1 day. Even at the office, skipping meals and lunch breaks just to get the work done, focused entirely on the work, all these little sacrifices is nothing to what Jesus had endured for us, in these little hardships of mine I feel much closer to the Lord. Yes it hurts, yes its painful at times, but at the same time, these moments are where I feel God’s loving embrace the most, holding me up, keeping my strength, sending me the Holy Spirit as my guide, to move forward and finish the tasks at hand.
“Know you are in a spiritual warfare.” Resist the devil. Be pure. Evil thoughts, assumptions and presumptions come to mind especially when our plans are hindered, when things don’t go as planned, or when people hinder you, or make it hard for you to do the work, when there are a lot of distractions, when you are surrounded by negativity, it is hard for us to look at it positively and we only see the negative outcome, the devil is at his feet once again tempting us to sin and to judge other people badly. Don’t let it happen. Endure, God has a reason, he wants you to be stronger, to conquer the struggle and move forward from this, He is preparing you for future missions!
“Have your prayer cover.” Asking intercessory prayers from other people gives me encouragement knowing that I am not alone in praying for and asking help from God. I have my mother, Mary, and the saints praying for me, as well as my friends whom I constantly ask prayers for, I even ask my special someone to offer a rosary for me every day especially when I have a lot of tasks to do, this not only help me spiritually, but the people I ask prayers from are also blessed by their spiritual encounter through prayer.
“Be devoted to Mary” our mother, my mama, my intercessor, my role model and my guide. Let us spend time talking to our mother, who is closest to Jesus, she is our shortcut to Jesus. At the same time, having a devotion to Mama Mary will lead us to “Look only to Jesus” and focus only on Him, not to your boss, or community, or the world, or even the people you serve, or the perks you get. Everything else and everybody else are insignificant. The Lord is the only one you should look at.
Let us always be “Strengthen by the Eucharist.” The Eucharist should be a reminder of what our goal in this life should be, our main focus is to go back to heaven, to the loving arms of our Father, and be one with Him. In the Eucharist we receive Christ in us, and He lives in us, our bodies become his, when we let him control our lives, we become Jesus’ body here on earth, a reflection of the master, a reminder to the people we meet, to always look at Jesus, looking outside from within our hearts where Jesus lives.
All paths cross with one another in some point, our lives are like that as well. I pray that when our roads meet, you won’t see me but see Jesus in me.