The final day.
The scrapbook of the blog will of course be added to more soon, but for now in the few minutes I have allow me to just reflect a bit here. Not sure what exactly I want to say, so I guess we'll see what it ends up being!
When I think of all the graces that God has given me this year, when I consider all the places I have been, when I remember with joy all the wonderful people that God placed into my life's path during these past 11 months, I cannot help but be utterly grateful - and yet not grateful enough. I do not think I, or anyone, can ever appreciate all the gifts that we are given in our lives, gifts from God of course, but also the gifts that we are given by God through others.
Marvelous as the places are, amazing as the landscapes can be, beautiful as St. Peter's or Krakow is - none of it is of any value outside of the people that make them so. Friendship, and the general goodness of the people of God in this world, is a central part of our lives - it is how we come to see that friendship itself is the entire point of our lives. By living friendship on earth, by drawing closer to one another in love and sacrifice, we prepare ourselves to be able to choose friendship with God in heaven for eternity.
So many people have made my time here what it is - but of course, no matter where we are it is the people that are in our lives that fill the spaces of the world with life! So many people await me back in Minnesota, first and foremost my family (we have not seen each other in 11 months, and I feel the weight of 11 months worth of hugs crashing down upon my shoulders already! I can't wait!) but of course also all my friends who are so dear to me, all the people who are a part of my daily life in Minnesota. I miss all of you dearly!
But the price that I paid, to be without the people I love for so long, was well recompensed by the friends that I have made here in Europe. People from all walks of life, all corners. From Italy, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Chile, Australia, India, South Africa, Canada, and on and on and on. Young people, parents, priests, old Polish ladies, students, religious sisters, seminarians, professors, average citizens. Every place I went, I went without knowing where I was going, but I knew that by the Providence of God someone would be there, some good samaritan. My faith has not been proved wrong!
Thank you to all who have participated in making my year so amazing - beginning with my parents, who have supported me so well in my education and in my search for the will of God in my life. The rest of you, too numerous to begin to name (and I really don't want to start making an Academy Awards speech here!), whether you know who you are and how you touched my life or not (the 8 people in Warsaw who each in turn helped get me to my lodging late at night with great kindness and patience, for instance!), you are all in my prayers and I am grateful to God for each and every one of you! In a special way, thank you to all of you who have been reading the blog, living in a sense with us here in Rome, and who have prayed for us here as we encountered both joys and hard times.
God bless you all - Omnes cum Petro ad Iesum per Mariam!
See you in a few days!
~St. Josemaria Escriva, "The Way" #268