Don’t Forget to Take Jesus Home

By Jeanne Guillemette

We have just returned home from the Middlesbrough Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes. It was such a wonderful occasion to experience God’s presence in so many ways, to reflect on our lives, to turn to him more resolutely, and to listen to His word. Our Lady led the way!

Sometimes on pilgrimage there is a ‘word’ that comes into focus for us, a message of God for our lives. One of the ‘words’ that I received while in Lourdes this year was during a large International Mass at the St. Pius Basilica.  Many groups from different countries and places converged there for the Mass. There was a large group from Rennes, France. The Bishop who accompanied them, Bishop Jean Bondu, was the main celebrant. The Gospel at that Mass was the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. In his homily, Bishop Bondu reflected on the fact that the Holy Family has much in common with our own families.

Many people struggle with situations similar to what Mary and Joseph lived through that journey on pilgrimage to and from Jerusalem and the drama they experienced when they discovered that Jesus was missing from their sight… In anguish, they sought their lost child. And even when they finally found him, they did not understand his answer to their question. “My Son”, said Mary, “why have you done this to us?”

We, too, ‘lose Jesus’ from time to time, sometimes for only a little while, sometimes for years, and sometimes for many years.  But we cannot rest until we have found Him. We know that we need to find Him. We must turn back and search for Him. This is what conversion is all about. This is also one reason that we go on pilgrimage, make retreats, or even go on vacation. We seek God, trusting that He is there waiting for us to find Him. If we persevere—if are open to God’s grace and really listening, He will let himself be found. “Seek the Lord, while he may be found, call to Him while he is still near.” Isaiah 55:6

As a handmaid in Lourdes helping our supported pilgrims, I was very busy, and found that the week flew by. And I knew that my life would be equally busy when I returned from home, especially given Fr. Michael’s imminent departure and the arrival, soon after, of a new priest for our Madonna House Robin Hood’s Bay team, Fr. Kieran Kilcommons.

These times of transition can be a time of preoccupation. Yet during our pilgrimage, I got beautiful glimpses of God’s grace at work, and of His presence.

But what has most stayed with me is this word from Bishop Bondu’s homily: when you find Him, don’t forget to take Him back home with you! Like Mary and Joseph, after finding Jesus, we are meant to ‘take him home’…to receive Him into the busyness of our lives, and most especially to live in His presence.

Previous Months Letters from Madonna House

June 2024: Living Under Mary’s Mantle By Fr. Michael Weitl

May 2024: Vocation & Journey in Christ’ By Mathieu Dacquay

April 2024: Christ Lives! By Carol Ann Gieske

March 2024: Putting everything ‘on the altar’ By Jeanne Guillemette

February 2024: Finding Peace in Surrender to Christ By Mathieu Dacquay

January 2024: Celebrating Epiphany with the Christian east By Fr. Michael Weitl

December 2023: Journeying through Advent with Joseph By Carol Ann Gieske

November 2023: The Saints Are Alive By Jeanne Guillemette

October 2023: Ordinary Miracles By Mathieu Dacquay