, The Our Lady of Sinj route


Half way. They say that everything we start is most difficult half way most confusing and most tiring. At the beginning we are carried by enthusiasm, idea and the strength we started with, facing the end we console ourselves that the worst has already passed and that it is stupid to give up now, and half way we are often nowhere, not here or there, we’ve spent the strength we had at the beginning and we still have the same amount of the way in front of us as the amount we already endured. We are afraid of the things to come because we know that what we went through by now already made us pretty tired and that it was challenging and what the future still holds we cannot know. Sometimes even our life path is long and tiring. We are pressured by commitments, experiences, struggles… we get tired and yet we still have a half way to go, or more, or less, we don’t know. None of us knows what life still holds for him. Maybe our life was a struggle until now, maybe we were already in situations where we had to fight for our values against tough opponents and we really can’t know if the hardest battles are already behind us or only yet to come. Life can sometimes really be demanding. Often its meaning is repeatedly questioned. First decisions, firm commitments, difficult fights and battles we have won and those we have lost, all of that, after many miles leaves a trace on us. The first and basic commitment is not enough, it is necessary that we may even begin and start moving but to continue it is expected form us a new and renewed commitment even more in situations of loss, exhaustion defeat and weakness than in situations of fight, gain and victory. Commitment in exhausting and hopeless situations is more important than happy and excited commitment in times of delight. To stand by your ideals means not to give up even when they feel failed, pointless and tired. It is easy to be faithful in times when we feel excited, when we have a sense of advance and of the nearness of God. It’s easy to be an athlete and a fan when your team is winning, it is easy even when your team is unfairly losing, when it is stressful, then we are also carried by emotion but it is difficult when nothing is going happening, when no games are played, when the match is a draw, when there are no advances, when its empty and monotonous.

It is difficult to be faithful when God seems far away. How many people justify them not being religious because they feel nothing, because they prayed for something and haven’t noticed any change. How many people gave up on justice, truth, goodness, peace, identity and ideals because they had a feeling that they get nothing from it, that it is better to be ‘like everybody else’, to stray from the path that was presented to us as the only right path and start inventing some other path, without any rules, without God, without communion with other people. Often they did that out of frustration, from being tired, because their ideals were destroyed. Croatian poet S.S. Kranjčević wrote that you shall die when you yourself start to question your ideals, when you let yourself be disturbed, when you let yourself be persuaded into pessimism - that there is no hope and that it is not worth to wait for the victory of the good and for the dawn to come. A human person lives from the ideals and values, from meaning, everything else is a path to decay, into depression, apathy and everything what is foreign and disastrous for the human nature. A human person lives from pointing its gaze up. Even when worlds and ideals are being destructed it is important to point your gaze up, towards the Source of all hope, towards the Source of all goodness, towards the Source of all good that surpasses us. Good things are always good, even when it seems to us that they are weak and meaningless. What we teach our children in families, what we would like all families to teach the children, in early upbringing, is what always matters: love, goodness, togetherness, politeness, kindness, gentleness, peace, compassion, the wish to prosper and to cooperate. Those are the values that are always valid and that have the most importance even if they are devaluated.

What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? (Mt 16, 26) If he loses himself, his ideals, his first ideals, human ideals, what makes him human, if he starts to question all that? In this pilgrimage in the church of Saint Anne, a mother and a grandmother in a family that was most important, let us who are weary of life and travel remember what are our principal values, what did we want as children, what did we dream of, what was important to us and can we look into the eyes of the child within us or did we disappoint it along the way. What does the child within us think about our present day calculations and plans to give up because of monotony and disappointment, because of rigidness of hostile systems that are worse than active enemies? Here, half way across this pilgrimage, in the church that is also consecrated to saint Jacob who is a famous patron of pilgrims let’s boldly decide to continue our pilgrimage, our life pilgrimage. To be a pilgrim means to go after something, to go with dedication. The difference between a usual trip and a pilgrimage is where a trip is oriented only towards the end goal, towards getting from point A to point B, all that lays in between is not important, is accidental and probably a source of stress and unnecessary strain. When we travel to and from work, all stops, traffic and unforeseen circumstances are most often the source of discontent and stress. When we are on a pilgrimage every moment counts, everything is a part of the whole, every stop, staying and being held back and distraction of our attention wants to teach us something, it’s important because of something. Let us think about our life as a pilgrimage, not as a trip. Everything that happens to us along the way has a meaning for us, nothing happens by chance because we believe in Meaning and we are searching for meaning. It‘s not important if we are at the beginning, half way there or at the end of our way, each moment invites us to remember our values, our first values, to renew them and to go once again after them, to continue to go forward, from our family beginning, from what God implanted in us as aspirations of our being, through our pilgrim decisions and our own efforts all the way to eternity where all our longings find fulfilment and peace. And decisions for eternity through our attitude towards goodness and meaning we already make today and each and every day in each mile of pilgrimage, the one that is exciting and the one that is monotonous, even more in a monotonous because we were told that it is of most importance to be faithful in what is small and what may seem as insignificant. (Mt, 25, 21)