The Pilgrim Log

Weekly Inspiration to Live Your Daily Pilgrimage

Do I See Myself as God’s Good Creation?

Once as I was enjoying the outdoors, I noticed a tree. From what I could tell, no human hands have ever touched this tree; it is just growing as it is created to be. An amazing revelation came to me… this tree looks exactly as God wants it to!

I asked God, “So, Lord, you want this tree to have gray thickly lined bark with knobs growing on the side?” Though I did not hear a response, the answer was obvious for it would not be, if God did not create it.

I wondered, if this is true about a tree, it is true about all of God’s creation. It means God wants trees and plants in many different color greens. He wants both flowers and grasses, and he wants them in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. He wants bunnies with soft ears. He wants dandelions with scratchy pointed leaves. He wants melodious songbirds and he wants buzzing mosquitos. For if he didn’t, they wouldn’t be.

I realize that if it is true about all of God’s creation, it is also true about me, and it is true about you, for we are all his creation.

Uniquely God’s

During a recent frustration, I decided to take our Lord at his words to St. Faustina from her Divine Mercy diary, “My daughter…why do you not tell me about everything that concerns you, even the smallest details?” The small detail is my changing post-menopausal body of which I am none too pleased.

“Lord,” I complained, “Where did this belly come from?  I work out, I eat healthy, I keep portions low and sweets to a minimum and yet it will not go away!”  What I heard astonished me, “Who told you that you are supposed to have a flat stomach?”

This response gave me great pause and caused me to ponder, ‘If God creates trees and plants and animals and insects with such variety, and if everything he makes is good (cf. Genesis 1:31), why are we spending so much effort trying to look differently than how we have been made? Are we not also created good?’

The Word of God testifies to our uniqueness:

How varied are your works, Lord!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures (Psalm 104:24)

Do you see yourself as God’s good creation?

True Diversity

If we are conceived, it is because God has willed us to be. How we come into the world, male or female (cf. Genesis 5:2), is how God wants us to grow. But it is more than that.

He creates not only our physical attributes, but also our personalities, our emotions and our intellect. He made some of us analytical and lovers of numbers and others, like me, quite the opposite. He made some of us to prefer sports to books and some of us to love them both. He creates us extroverts, who are energized through others, and introverts who require solitude instead.

The Church testifies to Truth that humanity is united in God’s good creation:

For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them (Ephesians 2:10).

The world speaks diversity, yet it is often just talk. It wants us all to look the same, act the same, and believe the same based on what the culture determines is beautiful and valuable. It is the culture, through the mass media, that told me my stomach is supposed to be flat!  It is God, who prefers working into infinite combinations from the same earthly matter his creation, both united and unique.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI writes how we can live this life of goodness we are created to be,

And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is.

Pilgrim Center of Hope exists to guide people to God. At our annual Catholic Women’s and Men’s Conferences, we provide speakers who teach, inspire, and challenge us in living out who we are created to be as men and women. We offer opportunities to encounter Jesus Christ through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharistic Adoration.

God is here… come see!

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

Encouraged, At My Friend’s Funeral

Attending funeral services is both sad and inspiring. Sad, because we are mourning the loss of a family member or friend. Inspiring, because it reminds us of the way the Catholic Church honors the deceased person through the prayers, incensing, and blessings.

I attended a funeral service of a dear friend in his parish church. The casket was placed in the front of the main sanctuary. The piano and violin spiritual music in the background added to the atmosphere of sadness, but also as a reminder of our final destination—eternal life with God.

Memories of my friend came to mind; his blue eyes, his gentle soul, his big smile, and his love for God. He was now lying at rest, in this Church where he had worshipped with his family, where he had experienced a community of friends and support through the years.

The service begins when the priest sprinkles the casket with holy water as a reminder of our baptism. Then, a white pall is placed on top of the casket by his family members. As a child, he was baptized and dressed in white; now we once again dress him in white. The priest offering Mass may something similar to this:
In the waters of baptism (name of person) died with Christ and rose with him to new life. May he now share with him eternal glory.

The entire service, which is the Mass of the Resurrection, is rich in its prayers—reminding us of the omnipotent mercy of our Savior. At the end, the priest offers the last prayers for my friend.

Saints of God, come to his aid!
Hasten to meet him, angels of the Lord!
May Christ, who called you, take you to himself;
may angels lead you to the bosom of Abraham.
Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.

I was inspired at my friend’s funeral Mass. These same words will be prayed for me one day. The saints of God will come to my aid! The angels of the Lord will meet me and lead me to the bosom of Abraham. What hope! This reminded me of the vast spiritual richness of our Catholic faith! As baptized members, we are united in this One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church! The words of these prayers are written for all Catholic clergy to follow throughout the world. These prayers unite us as members of the Body of Christ.

As I continued to think about this, I walked out of that Church, following my friend as he was escorted by family and friends to his final resting place.

The Psalms abound in hope:

My soul, be at rest in God alone,
from whom comes my hope.
God alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not fall.
(Psalm 62:6-7)

Guiding people to live each day with this hope is our mission for Pilgrim Center of Hope. As our chaplain Fr. Pat Martin says, “What a gift.”

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

Do I Know the Holy Spirit?

The Forgotten Person

Other than when you make the sign of the Cross or pray the Apostles’ Creed, how often do you mention or talk to the Holy Spirit?

If you said, not very often… well, you are not alone. The vast majority of Christians do not have an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. For me, that relationship didn’t really take shape until I was in my 40s.

Since that time, I have had more epiphanies or eureka moments, where all of a sudden a light goes on and something or everything makes sense. I have learned to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and also take every major decision in my life to prayer that involves going to the Holy Spirit to discern and discover what God wants me to do. What will be most pleasing to God?

St. Josemaria Escrivá had a special devotion to the Holy Spirit, because according to Blessed Alvaro del Portillo, St. Josemaria felt that the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity was not known, had been forgotten, and was neglected.

Embracing the Spirit

As we prepare to celebrate Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and our Mother Mary (this coming Sunday), now is the perfect time to embrace the Holy Spirit and grow in relationship to him.

Our peace truly lies in the promise of Christ, which is the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us; a gift which as Catholics, we received together with the Father and the Son at our Baptism. Know, too, that the Sacrament of Confirmation intensifies that presence.

It’s not too late to join in a novena to the Holy Spirit (which began on Ascension Thursday this past week), or perhaps you can learn and recite St. Josemaria’s Prayer to the Holy Spirit:

Come, O Holy Spirit: enlighten my understanding to know your commands: strengthen my heart against the wiles of the enemy; inflame my will…

I have heard your voice and I don’t want to Harden my heart by resisting, by saying: later…tomorrow.

Nunc corps! Now! Lest there be no tomorrow for me! O, Spirit of truth and wisdom, Spirit of understanding and counsel, Spirit of joy and peace! I want what you want, I want it because you want it, I want it as you want it, I want it when you want it. Amen 

When we receive the Holy Spirit into our hearts, he will help us and guide us to the truth. It is the Holy Spirit that helps us to know ourselves better, which strengthens our hearts and open our eyes. With the Holy Spirit you can do all things in Christ. Life without the Holy Spirit leaves us wandering in the dessert.

I encourage you to go the Catechism of the Catholic Church and look up numbers:

  • 697 – Symbols of the Holy Spirit
  • 1848 – the Consoler
  • 2671 – Come, Holy Spirit

Stronger with the Spirit

It was only after the Apostles received the Holy Spirit that they were able to leave the sanctuary of the Upper Room and go out into the world to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, without any fear of torture or death. We can rejoice in knowing that at Pentecost, the Paschal Mystery was completed and fulfilled. Pentecost is considered the birth of the Church.

Even if we may enjoy a relationship with Jesus Christ, he is always calling us closer and deeper into intimacy with himself and his Holy Spirit.

I leave you with the words of St. John of Avila, who said about devotion to the Holy Spirit:

However sad a soul may be, he (the Holy Spirit) is sufficient to console it. However worthless, he can make it valuable. However lukewarm, he can put fire into it. However weak, he can strengthen it. However lacking in prayerfulness, he can aflame it with ardent devotion.

Robert V. Rodriguez is Public Relations & Outreach Assistant for Pilgrim Center of Hope. He combines a passion for the Catholic faith together with years of professional experience as a TV news journalist, video producer, and PR/marketing specialist. Robert also serves as Chairman for our annual “Master, I Want to See” Catholic Men’s Conference.

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