Traveling With Purpose
“Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” Matthew 2:2
Twenty years ago, I had the privilege of taking a life-changing journey through the land and waters of the Northwest Territories. Once a year, Dene people gather in one of their communities to celebrate their heritage, culture and traditions. A group of elders take young people to travel their traditional way, by canoe. The traditional skills of their indigenous lifestyle are taught by elders to the youth, through oral teaching and hands on experience while living and traveling in the bush. With the Dene language so intimately connected to the land, elders pass on place names, animal names, cultural and spiritual sites, and the language of the land to the next generation. This journey is called “Trails of Our Ancestors”.
It was a challenging journey from Behchokò to Wekweètì, covering many long kilometers across the lakes, with dozens of portages and campsites while black flies eat you alive. In essence, it was a journey of the spirit passed on by the elders to the younger generation. I admired the skills and knowledge of the elders on navigating the wilderness by reading the stars and markings of the land. When they travel, they travel with purpose!
The story of Epiphany presents us as travelers with purpose: we are seeking to find the newborn king. They followed the stars, kept asking the questions and kept looking until they found him.
“… and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.” (Matthew 2:9-10)
May the example of the magi, as well as the wisdom of indigenous elders, inspire us to embrace the journey of life with purpose. Let’s read the stars that God presents to us. Let’s ask the questions and clarify directions. The journey of discernment of our purpose, meaning and vocation in life begins with recognizing and answering the prompting of the heart. When God is calling us, we are required to answer with curiosity and courage, and to keep looking until we find it. Are you ready to take the first step? It will change your life forever!
By Jarek Pachocki OMI
OMI Lacombe Canada – Vocation Director