The Pilgrim Log

Weekly Inspiration to Live Your Daily Pilgrimage

Help In Keeping Faith through Trials

Do you suffer the burden of faith?

You seek to remain faithful to Jesus Christ and the Church even though many others, especially those in our own family, harbor doubts about God’s providence and goodness. You suffer under the burden of what you know is true yet cannot see.

If this is you, I would like to introduce you to someone who may help you. Her name is St. Elizabeth, the mother of St. John the Baptist.

There is little written about her life outside the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Yet, in what we know about the time she lived, who she lived with and what happened to her, we discover much about St. Elizabeth. We know:

  • She is a first century Jew living in a hill country town of Judah.
  • She is married to a Jewish priest, named Zechariah.
  • She is an ancestor of Aaron, a priest and the brother of Moses.
  • She is considered righteous in God’s eyes, which means faithful to his commandments.
  • She is elderly and childless.
Trials of Faith

Knowing that in Elizabeth’s culture, a barren woman was considered sinful or cursed, we can see that this woman had to have suffered trials of sorrow, embarrassment, and condemnation for most of her adult life. Being from a priestly class and married to a priest, she must have been well versed in Scripture and in the promises God made to her people. Yet for the majority of her years, she did not witness evidence of their fulfillment.

We learn that Zechariah, while performing his priestly service in the Lord’s sanctuary, is visited by the Archangel Gabriel (cf. Luke 1:8). When Gabriel tells him that his wife will bear him a son in answer to his prayer, he does not believe. Zechariah had been praying for a child. An angel tells him his prayer is being answered. Zechariah doubts. Yet, we also know from Luke’s Gospel that he remained faithful to his duty as priest and, along with Elizabeth, is considered righteous in God’s eyes (cf. Luke 1:6).

It seems then, that it was Elizabeth’s faith in trial that upheld the righteousness of this pair. Elizabeth carried the burden of faith for them both.

Faith, as defined in the Letter to the Hebrews 11:1, is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.

When God’s promise of a child is fulfilled despite her husband’s doubts, Elizabeth’s faith meets the hope she has long carried, exclaiming, “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others” (Luke 1:25).

Blessings from Perseverance

We can look at the life of St. Elizabeth and see many blessings that come from perseverance in faith:

  • Elizabeth’s faith is ever ready to proclaim God, as when she is greeted by Mary (cf. Luke 1:43-45).
  • Elizabeth’s faith is ever ready to stand firm, as when she defies her neighbors and relatives; insisting her son be named John as the angel had told her husband (cf. Luke 1:60).
  • Elizabeth’s faith works to heal her husband’s doubts and deafness (cf. Luke 1:63-64).
  • Elizabeth’s faith raises her son “strong in spirit” for God’s mission (cf. Luke 1:80).
  • And, Elizabeth’s faith inspires Mary to proclaim her Magnificat (Luke 1:46-56).
Encouragement In Persevering

I wonder if, when Mary goes in haste to her cousin, it was also in God’s design that Elizabeth help her. I wonder if God entrusted the Mother of God to this woman of steadfast faith to be an encouragement to Mary, who will soon be enduring her own trials of faith.

It is truly difficult to carry the burden of faith for others in our life who doubt God’s goodness. It is very hard when we face trials that tempt us to doubt that God sees us, that he knows our suffering.

Let the witness of St. Elizabeth console you that God does see you! And God is counting on your faith in him to help carry out his plan of salvation in you, and through you, for others.

When the burden of faith becomes too hard to carry, we can find hope through our trials by seeking the companionship of other followers of God; be it our friends in Heaven or those working out our salvation here on earth. Pilgrim Center of Hope is here to accompany you. Our website includes the Port of Hope to help weary wayfarers find spiritual rest, inspiration, and encouragement in Jesus Christ and the Church.

We also invite you to save the date on your calendar for our annual Catholic Women’s Conference (10/30-31/2020) and the Catholic Men’s Conference (2/27/2021). Both events are ideal places to find sources of encouragement in faith as we encounter Christ with our sisters and brothers in fellowship and worship.


Nan Balfour is a grateful Catholic whose greatest desire is to make our Lord Jesus more loved. She seeks to accomplish this through her vocation to womanhood, marriage, motherhood and as a writer, speaker and events coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

A Simple Way to End Our Day with God

One Sunday, a local priest gave us an Examination of Conscience with the Holy Trinity:

  • At the end of the day, thank our Heavenly Father for the day, the gift of life, the activities, lessons learned in the day, family, and so on.
  • Then go to Jesus, Son of the Father, and implore his mercy for your sins, your faults.
  • Lastly, implore the Holy Spirit to descend upon you and grant you a good night’s rest. Give him everything; your concerns, your worries, and ask him to guide you the next day to follow Christ.

Well, I wasn’t taking notes during the homily, but Father’s gift of preaching helped me remember the main points. Try it!

O Holy Trinity – guide us always to your will!

Christians are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: not in their names, for there is only one God, the almighty Father, his only Son and the Holy Spirit: the Most Holy Trinity. The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 233-234)


Mary Jane Fox, D.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with her husband, Deacon Tom Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Mary Jane is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Dame of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.

God’s Powerful Gift for Us

Image from Russian Icon of Pentecost, 18th century

In the Upper Room, at the Last Supper before Jesus was to begin his Passion, he said to his disciples, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12)

At the Last Supper, Jesus prepares his disciples for the mission of the Church. Up until this time, everything depended upon the teaching and miracles of Jesus as he fulfilled the Father’s plan for the salvation of the world. And now Jesus is telling them that the work of salvation will continue through them and the Church, when they receive the promise of the Father; the Advocate, the Holy Spirit.

Jesus also said, “But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7)

It is at this same time that Jesus institutes the priesthood and the Eucharist, which are essential for the mission of the Church to bring the true presence of Christ to the whole world until the end of time. At each Mass, the Holy Spirit makes present to those in attendance the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ is present in the person of the priest, in the proclamation of the Word of God, in those who are assembled to worship God, and par excellence in the Holy Eucharist. Out of love for those who believe in him, bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ so that we may be one with him.

Power Within Us!

Ever since the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples at Pentecost, the Church has had a powerful influence on the world. It survived persecution that tried to destroy it. The Church became a major factor in the development of education, medicine, science, social justice, the sacredness of family, and care for the poor. Of course, the Holy Spirit is not only about the institutional presence of God; it is primarily about the powerful witness of presence of the Holy Spirit in the saints through the ages and in each of us who believe.

At baptism, we became children of God and received the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This reality has made it possible for us to have an intimate relationship with God that will enable us to discover the plan he has for each of us, that will fulfill our purpose for being on this earth.

How do we make the Holy Spirit active within us? We must have a humble, contrite heart.

Like a dry tree which puts forth shoots when watered, the soul bears the fruit of holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit. Although the Spirit never changes, the effects of his action, by the will of God and in the name of Christ, are both many and marvelous. – St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Come Holy Spirit, enkindle within me the fire of your love.


Deacon Tom FoxK.H.S. is Co-Founder & Co-Director of Pilgrim Center of Hope with his wife, Mary Jane Fox. The two left their careers after a profound conversion experience and began working full-time in ministry at their parish in 1986. After several years and having impacted tens of thousands of families, the Foxes founded Pilgrim Center of Hope in 1993 as a response to the Church’s call for a New Evangelization. Deacon Tom is an invested member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.