As I write this reflection, I am walking part of the ancient path of the Camino in northern Spain, the route that pilgrims have traced for over 1000 years leading to the resting place of Santiago, St. James the apostle.

We pilgrims must keep our eyes on the pathfor the road is filled with rocks and roots and mud pies. But if we simply look down, we miss the sublime natural beauty through which we walk and toward which we travel.

So it is in all of life. The Ascension teaches us to look to the heavens for inspiration and exhilaration. But our gaze must then return to earthto navigate the daily complexities of our calling.

Gazing up and looking down. Looking up and gazing down. This holy rhythm stretches our stiff necks and makes of us a people more pleasing to the Lord.

J. Michael Sparough, S.J. is a retreat director, playwright, and poet at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House,  Barrington, IL