The Pilgrim Log

Weekly Inspiration to Live Your Daily Pilgrimage

Hope Gets Us Through the Desert

Judean Desert

The desert.  It’s hot, unbearable, and extreme. Two years ago, I was blessed to have gone on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with the Pilgrim Center of Hope.  From Galilee, we traveled by motorcoach through the Judean Desert to Jerusalem. The heat of the Judean Desert was hotter than any south Texas summer day!   After leaving the Jordan River, we drove through the desert to Jericho.  As we drove, I stared out the window at the horizon that looked so desolate, hot, and dry.  It was mysterious and scary. I wondered what it might have been like for Jesus during his 40 days in the desert being tempted by the devil.

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry.”  Matthew 4: 1-2

We humans would be uneasy with the idea of being in the desert, alone and powerless against the elements and the unknown.  Although my example is literal, we also have figurative desert experiences.  Perhaps it is an illness, a loss, a temptation, or any unbearable situation that makes us feel completely alone, uncomfortable, or that we simply can’t control.  This is where hope comes in.

What is Hope?

“Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit… (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1817)

“…it keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude… (CCC, no. 1818)

A few years ago, my husband and I discovered we were expecting our third child.  At our first sonogram visit, the doctor told us that there was an abnormal image.  He stated that it could be a spot in the image itself or an indication that our child could have lung or other developmental issues.  We’d see a specialist every two weeks during the pregnancy to monitor the baby.  Each day my husband and I talked to each other about it, we talked to the baby, and we prayed–always trusting that this was God’s will and not ours.  So many times, each day I asked God to get us through the pregnancy and to care for our baby; we hoped with all our might.  Through the grace of God and many prayers, the abnormal spot was gone and never came back.  All tests were normal and we went on to deliver our third, healthy, beautiful baby boy.

Our hope was what truly carried us through the pregnancy. Hope gets us all through our own deserts.

As Christians, we are equipped with the virtue of hope.  Our hope is like a help-line where we can humbly ask our Lord to help us persevere through our desert.  Hope nourishes our soul to get us through a day, an hour, and sometimes a minute at a time.

Call to Action

We can never avoid our desert nor should we want to because crossing the desert strengthens our faith.  It reinforces our trust in God, especially in times when we don’t know where the next step will take us.  Below are some practical first steps that have helped me find hope, that will hopefully help you, too:

  • Pray often.  It could start with a rosary, a chaplet or simply having a conversation with God. He loves you and wants to hear from you often.
  • When worry sets in, offer it up.  “Offer it up”, a topic worthy of its own blog, is essentially uniting our pain or suffering to Jesus’ suffering on the cross for the salvation of souls.  It’s fascinating, read about it!
  • Help others who are in their desert.  In other words, offer hope.  You can do this by praying for them or supporting them in a meaningful way.

With the gift of stigmata and as the patron saint of stress relief, St. Pio of Pietreclina, better known as “Padre Pio”, gave the best encouragement in his motto that we all could follow:
“Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”


Christina Campos is a blessed Catholic wife and mother. Each day brings adventurous memories and so many reasons to be thankful to God. She enjoys volunteering and contributing to the special mission of the 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.

Is It Selfish to Ask God for Healing?

Someone told me they thought that asking God for healing for themselves was being selfish. On the contrary, God wants to heal us, because He loves us, and knows us more than we know ourselves! How is that possible? He procreated with our parents and gave us life when we were in our mother’s womb. He knows us, every single detail about our being. God sent His Son, Christ Jesus to live among us, die for us, and give us Eternal Life the ultimate healing through his resurrection.   

Examples of Healing From Scripture 

We know the stories in the New Testament, how Jesus healed the blind, the lame, the sick. Sometimes it took a simple word, a mere look or touch from Christ. One thing is clear in all these stories: Christ healed those who wanted his healing, those who trusted in him.  We may not think about that. We may think that we do not exist in the eyes of God, or that he doesn’t know our needs. Christ Jesus said:  …Behold, I cast out demons and I perform healings today and tomorrow… (Luke 13:32)

In Hebrews 13:8, we read:   

“Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. “

Two Healing Stories of Hope

Jesus continues to heal. Here are two stories among many I have heard from people healed by God to encourage you and give you hope.   

A young mother lost her 1-year-old daughter in a drowning accident. She was devasted and angry at God. As time went on, she realized the emptiness of the loss of her daughter, the loss of hope caused her anxiety and anguish. She had enough! Late one night, she felt compelled to call out to God. She began to weep and as she wept, she cried out:

“God, help me! God, help me! I need help!”

The next day, she happened to meet someone who asked her if she needed prayer. She was taken by surprise! She had just cried out to God the previous night! She was renewed in her faith in God and began a journey of healing. 

My father suffered from severe neuropathy in this legs and feet; so much so, his pain increased during the night preventing him from having a night’s sleep. He and my mother went on pilgrimage to Lourdes, France; where Mary, the Mother of God appeared to a young girl, Bernadette in 1858. Since then, it has been a pilgrimage destination for thousands, and through the healing power of God and Mary’s intercession; many have experienced healing. While on pilgrimage, they spent a lot of time in prayer asking for healing while discovering the richness of their Catholic Faith. Upon their return home from their pilgrimage, my father discovered he was completely healed of neuropathy!   

Christ heals our broken bodies, but He also heals our broken spirits, our broken hearts. No, it is not selfish to ask for healing. Do not let anything stop you from approaching Christ Jesus for healing. He hears our prayers raised to him from the depths of our hearts, He will answer our prayer, all according to His holy will and in the perfect time. We must remain faithful and trust in Him, who loves you.   

Lord Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God, the Divine Physician.  I come to you as I am, broken and needing your healing.   Jesus, I trust in you.  Amen. 


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.

Take courage! He is calling you.

Attendee at the 2019 Catholic Men’s Conference

The theme for all the Catholic Men’s Conferences (which are held annually, our next conference will be February 27) and sponsored by Pilgrim Center of Hope is taken from Mark 10:51, “Master, I want to see.”

Our Blindness

Bartimaeus was physically blind, but because of his faith, the Lord healed him. We chose this theme, because we realize that there is a blindness that is worse than physical blindness—and it affects not only men, but all of society; and we all need to be healed.

As Jesus taught the crowds two thousand years ago, he said,

“…They may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven.” (Mark 4:12)

To accept Jesus as our Savior, and to undergo conversion, goes against our nature. We think we know what is best for us, and we want to rely on our own resources, our own intelligence, our own understanding. It is from this way of thinking that we need conversion and forgiveness.

The Difficulty of Faith

In baptism, we received the theological gift of faith, but what is faith? The theologian St. Thomas Aquinas gives us an insight: “The object of faith is not something seen or sensed; nor, in itself, is this object grasped by the intellect” (Tour of the Summa). Perhaps this is what we could call the difficulty of faith: our intellectual desire is to understand all things, but there are some things that God has revealed to us that are beyond our understanding.

The answer to this struggle is to surrender (entrust) our intelligence to God, in order to believe. As we draw close to God, we should desire more to believe than to understand in matters of faith, because it is our faith that causes us to have hope and to live in charity. This has been proven through the ages; true faith in God has inspired men and women to live heroic lives of virtue and to experience great happiness that has been the means of hope not only for themselves, but also for others.

Awakening Our Faith

Faith is more than saying we believe in God. Again, an insight from Thomas Aquinas:

“The internal act of faith is the unhesitant assent of the mind or intellect, under the direction of the will, to the truth that is proposed for belief upon sufficient authority. In the case of religious faith, the authority is God, who is truth itself.” (Tour of the Summa)

This internal faith must lead us to an external witness. Saint James tells us, “Be assured, then, that faith without works is as dead as a body without breath.” (James 3:26). If our faith does not influence our decisions, it is dead. If our faith does not inspire us to pray daily, read the scriptures, and worship God, it is dead. If we are not concerned about discovering what God’s plan is for us, and then using the gifts that God has given us to build up the Body of Christ, then our faith is dead.

Jesus came to speak about the urgency of the kingdom of God, because the kingdom of God is at hand for those who believe; and not to believe leads to hopelessness. If we do not have a sense of the urgency of the kingdom of God, then we have eyes, but do not see; ears but do not hear, and hearts that have not yet been converted. The world is as it is because we have not placed God at the center of our lives, at the center of our families.
Our Lord is patient for our salvation, but the longer we take to cooperate with his graces; the greater are the consequences will be for us and for society.

What Will You Ask Jesus?

If we still have enough faith to know that we must make some changes in our lives, then we should say along with Bartimaeus, “Master, I want to see!” The Lord will begin to show us what we must do. It was Bartimaeus who initiated the dialogue with Jesus. Even though he was told to keep silent, he continued to ask for pity, and Jesus said, “Call him!” When he came forward, Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” even though he knew Bartimaeus was blind.

Jesus knows what we need, and yet he often waits to see if we have enough faith to ask, or to ask on behalf of someone else. He begs us to ask him. He says, “Come to me all you who are weary and find life burdensome and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

What is it that you want to ask of Jesus? He already knows what you need, but he may be waiting for you to approach him in faith. Remember the words of the disciples to Bartimaeus: “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you!”

It may seem like a big risk to ask Jesus for something, because we know that Jesus may want something from us in return. What he wants from us is our trust. He wants us to experience the joy of being a child of God and of living in a relationship with him in which we will discover our true dignity.

There are some things we can do that will prepare our hearts to see and hear our Lord, so that we can be converted and forgiven:

  • We must make a commitment to pray daily. Prayer could change the world if we would pray with our hearts.
  • Our Lord has given us the sacraments, because he knows we need his grace to discover and live the plan he has for each of us. Consider how you can incorporate frequent Confession, daily Mass when possible, quiet time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, into your life.
  • Being united with the Mother of Jesus by praying the Rosary will help us to see more clearly the spiritual battle we are involved in each day.

May the grace of God give us all the confidence we need to approach Jesus with our concerns and petitions. May God’s grace help us to see and hear more clearly his great plan for us. Faith is a gift from God, but believing is a choice.

How will you choose to respond?


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.