We Walk by Faith
By Sister Renee Y.
An inspiring hymn written in the 1800s opens with these candid words: We walk by faith and not by sight.
Such pilgrimages of faith are, at once, both the most difficult and the most rewarding of our lives. We make only a few great ones in the span of a lifetime. They are the rare journeys which lead us out of self-centeredness to love.
On such a journey, the first testing step may be filled with fear or worry; the second step with doubt and the thought to turn back before it is too late. But with each ensuing step, we move away from our isolation toward the hope which calls out to us.
Five thousand years ago, the Jewish people journeyed like this in faith. The great Passover took them from the slavery of Egypt to the freedom of the Promised Land. But although the destination was longed-for, the way was a gauntlet. Each pilgrim had to learn trust, resilience, the meaning of courage and the transforming power of generosity and sacrifice.
Each of us takes such faith-walks in our own life: marriage, parenthood, leadership, the fulfillment of our calling, the building of community and friendship in its many forms. All these lead us from a life of self-centered, spiraling diminishment to a life of generous mutuality and self-renewal.
Fifty years ago today, I began such a journey. It was the day I decided to become a Sister of Mercy. My first steps too were hesitant. Over the years, there were twists and turns and, at times, a thickening darkness. But the Voice of Hope always called me to choose freedom, love and life. Now, from the perspective of fifty years, even the twists were glorious; even the turns were full of grace. Even when we are completely by ourselves, we never journey alone.
On this beautiful feast of Passover, whether Jewish or Gentile, let us all give thanks for the journeys which lead us to love, grace and freedom in our lives. And let us, in deep reverence, give thanks for those who travel with us.