You might have heard this before…

The March for Life is a pilgrimage not a trip

I remember when I attended my first March for Life.  As we loaded the bus, they told us to avoid using the toilet unless absolutely necessary. They said we would make enough stops so we shouldn’t need to use it anyway. There weren’t enough outlets to keep all of our phones charged, so hopefully we came with an external battery so we could extend our precious battery life. And yes, we would sleep a full night in a fully upright sitting position (or not sleep at all in my case). We would brush our teeth at a gas station in the morning, and then head straight to Arlington Cemetery to explore.  I’m a daily, morning shower girl. It’s how I face my day. I had to adapt.

Does the term “Pilgrimage” mean it’s all about suffering?

I remember on my D.C. journey, any explanations of inconvenience were followed up with, “After all, this a PILGRIMAGE, not a trip!” It kind of gave the term “pilgrimage” a bad name, if you ask me. Like, the more you suffer, the more it is a pilgrimage. But a pilgrimage is so much more than that! I want to set the record straight. A pilgrimage is a spiritual journey, and although sacrifice is definitely a part of it, it’s not the whole picture.
To some extent a pilgrimage can look like a trip. You make a list of what you should bring, right? You pack more than you will ever need. You plot out the places you want to see. Sounds a lot like a trip. But it’s not. Unless thats all you make it. Really, it’s up to you.

Prepare your heart for the pilgrimage

To prepare for a pilgrimage, you’ll need more than a packing list. To get the full benefit of the pilgrimage, your heart and mind need to be focused on God and open to His plan for you. You need to let go of your expectations and your image of what it should look like. God can do so much more in your heart when it is totally surrendered to Him!
Next, a pilgrimage transforms you. When you are on a vacation, you go on the vacation, experience fun things, and come home.  You may have some great memories, and you may feel rejuvenated, but you go home the same person you were when you left. A pilgrimage, done the right way, invites God on the journey and into your heart. Whenever God enters the human heart He never leaves it unchanged – He transforms it. You are more than rejuvenated. Rejuvenation does not last, but the touch of God lasts forever.

Become a light to the world

Finally, the transformation from a pilgrimage never ends with you. When you come home from a pilgrimage, the change inside you cannot be contained. You become a light to the world. You WANT to do more for God! But the light can burn out if you don’t stay connected to Him. You can easily come home and get sucked back into the demands of the world and lose sight of God. So, to keep the flame burning bright; you need to invite Him into your life, daily. When you do, He will supply everything else you need.

So, what will it be? Will this be a trip for you – or a pilgrimage? It’s up to you. God has so much to give you if you let Him! You may end up with a dead phone, but it will be worth it!!

Here are some tips to help you become a pilgrim and not just a tourist

—As a part of the Generation Life programming, you will have the opportunity to celebrate three Masses. Use them to ask for God’s blessings, and ask Him to transform you. The Holy Mass is the highest form of prayer. God will meet you there if you show up.
—Thursday and Friday night you will have opportunities to go to Confession. Go! Our priests came for YOU!
—You will listen to inspiring talks during the programming, including a very powerful video of St. John Paul II’s visit to St. Louis in January of 1999. What is God saying to you through these talks? Write it down, talk about it with your friends, post about it on social media, and definitely revisit it when you get home! He has a special message just for you, if you tune in to Him.
—Remember why you are marching. Pray for the unborn while you walk. Ask God to change the hearts of our politicians and of the people who influence them.
—Stay plugged in to Generation Life! Follow our blogs, Facebook posts, Instagrams and Tweets. Revisit all of it when you get home. There may be parts that you missed, but this content will be here whenever you need it.
—After the March, continue to be the light in the darkness. Continue to pray for the protection of life!

How is God calling you to be a witness to life?

I promise that you will have an answer to this question, if this is not just a trip for you but a pilgrimage.  So buckle up, Pilgrim!!