Our everyday life can be hectic, that is the reality of the world we live in. Whether it is the mind that is always thinking of what information is being presented or the body exhausted in trying to check off the boxes of all the tasks we might face that day. We, especially myself can get caught up in the cycle of “what is next” rather than continuing to live presently with the moment right in front of us. I am a firm believer that what we dedicate our attention to can alter our life experiences for good or bad in the world, and even, alter our continual journey with Christ.
I first came to Martyrs’ Shrine this past Easter weekend, prior to the opening of the 2019 Season. My experience here on these grounds were peaceful, calming, and restful as I could retreat away from the busyness of everyday life. I found myself attentive not only to my exterior environment but my interior with new light and peace. That peace was the peace of resting in the Lord, and trusting in him just has the Martyrs had back in the 17th century.
I became overwhelmed with gratitude for that grace as well as discovered a stirring desire to spend more time here at the Shrine not only in prayer, but in a ministerial way as I continue to discern my vocation with the Society of Jesus here in the Canadian Province. This attention to my interior movement also led to a conversation with the Director of Martyrs’ Shrine, Fr. Michael Knox. He offered me the opportunity to return to the Shrine for an extended stay over the 2019 Season, where I would be able to not only work side-by-side with the lay staff, but also be present to witness the fruits that come with having this sacred space to pray at. I gleamed with excitement, and became all the more interested in what else the Shrine must offer to those who say yes to being a pilgrim on these sacred lands.
That is when I learned of the Pilgrim Route, a route created by Martyrs’ Shrine in partnership with existing local trail groups to help provide an opportunity for pilgrims to take a slower, more scenic, and more prayerful route over the traffic-filled roads the comes with communting to a northern region during the summer. I thought what a perfect occasion to be more attentive again to my interior, as I prepare for a new season of my life here, and in my discernment. In that walk I had the revelation that God is here, right now, side-by-side with me. He is continuing to invite me to be in His presences at every moment. I have always known this, but it was in the continual silence, and hope while walking that it became more clear that God is always here. As St. Paul tells us, “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
Christopher Spiegel was born in London, Ontario, and grew up in Florida. He is currently discerning a vocation to the Society of Jesus, Canada Province, and will be staying through the rest of the 2019 Season to work alongside the Jesuit Father’s and lay Staff into the Fall season.