Do you use a checklist when you pack your overnight bag? Making sure you have the essentials like toothpaste, toothbrush, contact lens solution, and daily medications is the easy part. Do you check the forecast for the weather of the destination to see if it will be hot/cold/wet during your stay so you know what kind of clothing to take? I remember being in Italy in April at a location more suited for summer getaways. There was so much marble in the place, it was rather chilly. It didn’t help that the heat is shut off in Italy in March, no matter what weather is expected. Toward the end of the trip, my clothing choices were limited!
Now, what if you didn’t know where you were going? How would you prepare for the journey? Bring a little of this and a little of that? How would you know when you arrived? What if it is a place that no one has been there and back from? I have admiration for the early explorers like Columbus, who took to the sea in search of a better way to the Indies not knowing what they would find. They were tested daily and probably had days of doubt. Even the first astronauts making their trip to the moon had at least some idea of journey, but not all the trials and successes along the way.
If faith is a journey, is it possible to “prepare” for the journey? Actually, I think the journey IS the preparation. The faith journey prepares us to spend eternity with God. Since God is Love, we need to spend the time practicing how to love everyone, as we are called to do as Catholics. The journey also gives us practice forgiving those we perceive wrong us, and helping others without begrudging the personal cost or expecting repayment. It is practicing true selflessness. I’m specifically calling it practice, as we all have times of success and times when we fall short. Each day gives us countless opportunities to practice and to prepare for our destination: Heaven.