“Love is our mission.” What a perfect theme for this past World Meeting of Families. What is love but an encounter with God, our mission to be with God, to encounter Him in our everyday lives with what we do and the people we meet along the way.
This past September I had the wonderful opportunity to travel with friends, united with the Church, to welcome the Vicar of Christ in Philadelphia. We started our travels in Chicago and drove ten hours where we arrived an hour outside of Philly and a stayed with a complete stranger who generously welcomed us into her home. The first day brought me back to last July when I participated in Biking for Babies: seeing the generosity of the host families that didn’t know me but were Christ-like and supported the mission of the Church the mission of love.
It’s hard to express the experience of being in the midst of thousands of Catholics that first day Pope Francis arrived. Every different kind of person was there: young and old; children holding signs, sitting on their parent’s shoulders; women in wheelchairs; lay movements; religious; and parishes all giving testimony by their enthusiasm, joy and service. It was encouraging to see young people alive in the Church and united in prayer.
Being in the presence of the Pope and witnessing first-hand his service and humility was truly inspiring. It personally moved my heart to ask, “What am I doing to build Christ’s Church? How am I loving in my family, in my workplace? Who do I need to forgive; who do I need to say I am sorry to?” God asks for our whole heart, not just a piece of it. It’s like anything He calls us to do: are we going to do it halfway, or are we going to put in the whole effort?
Pope Francis mentioned numerous times the beauty of the family and the essence of the family. He said families are “factories of hope.” God, he said, sent Jesus not to live in a palace but to a family. “In the family, truth, goodness and beauty can grow.” The family needs to be protected and valued, and Biking for Babies is one way in which that mission is being lived out. I believe God gives us these experiences, these gifts of His love to move us towards love, to move us towards Him. “All that is good, all that is true, all that is beautiful brings us to God. Because God is good. God is beautiful.” -Pope Francis
Kathryn loved her first year as a B4B rider (2015). She enjoys her work as a nurse, is excited by any outdoor adventure, loves running and spending time with family and friends.