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  • Writer's pictureTaryn Watkins

Pushed to the Limit

Tomb of Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Tomb of Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen

These feet have walked over 1800 miles on pilgrimage. 30 days here, 82 days there, a day spattered throughout the years. Then this pilgrimage came. 8 days. 130ish miles. These feet did not carry me for every mile. Everyday I was confronted with my limitations. Everyday I became more and more poor, a beggar of the Lord, the Poor One who had nowhere to lay his head, and has nothing to give except Himself.

On this eve of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, who pours out his heart, his very life and love, in his blood on the cross and in his blood in the Eucharist, and wants to give Himself to us, "That we may be one" I wanted to share a bit about my pilgrimage. It was for many intentions, but especially the priesthood. When I reached the tomb of Venerable Fr Augustus Tolton I prayed again by name all the priests I have been praying for during the walk (about 450 of them by name, more by general intention).

This Sacred Heart is a Heart of a High Priest. As I walked I also prayed with John 17, the high priestly prayer of Jesus. If you have never read it, please stop reading this post right now and go do that... it is the core, the deepest desires of Jesus heart that he wants to reveal to you and how he offers himself in sacrifice as a priest in order to accomplish that union with his Church, his spouse... with you and me.

The Sacred Heart is the Eucharist. Jesus is merciful and knows we would have a hard time chewing on his heart tissue, so he hides himself in the appearance of bread. But it is really his Body. In Eucharistic miracles all over the world He has sometimes revealed that in a more tangible way, the bread looks more like the reality, and it is living heart tissue. This pilgrimage was a constant mediation on the Body and Blood of Jesus, given in the Eucharist, and given on the cross...

Grave of Venerable Father Augustus Tolton

The cross... this was very present during this pilgrimage. Between the kumquat or grape, or any number of fruit sized blisters protruding from my feet, the 128 degree heat indexes with no shade in sight, sunburn blisters, pulled ligaments, torture of bugs constantly flying in my eyes and ears, trucks, traffic, holes worn in my cloths, on and on... the cross was there. The wounds of Jesus.... and my wounds, my smallness and limitations. It was very hard. I would say one of the hardest pilgrimages I have ever done. And that is saying something. I did not walk every mile. I had to be humbled and get rides for parts of it. I suppose some would say I cheated, that's fair. It was very good to be reminded why I was doing this. It isn't about being tough or doing something hard (or some people think, crazy) that the walking is not the end in itself, the Lord is. He is the point. To be loved and to love him. To offer my body in sacrifice and worship as he has done. All for the Eucharistic and Sacred Heart of Jesus.

There are two priests that lived out this mutual self gift to the Lord in an exemplary way, Venerable Fulton Sheen and Venerable Fr Tolton. It was so important I think to make this pilgrimage with them. It is powerful that we have these local saints! It was beautiful to be in the places Fr Tolton has been, and where his mortal remains lie clothed in a chasuble, a priest forever.

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1 comentario

Katie Bogner
Katie Bogner
16 jun 2023

Two of my favorite (soon-to-be) sainted priests- I love the connections you draw between Sheen, Tolton, and Our Lord's Sacred Heart!

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