Last fall I went on pilgrimage with some young adults from Chicago to Philadelphia. There we witnessed Pope Francis’ historic visit. What struck me so forcibly was not so much the pope’s consoling words, but the gathering of the people themselves on the city streets. Civility ruled. Kindness reigned. The police were extraordinarily friendly. Shopkeepers smiled, opened their doors, and happily gave away free stuff.  People were patient, for the most part, willing to wait long hours to pass through security screening. It was as if an angel had given us a vision of “the Holy City.” Pope Francis was with us in the City of Brotherly love for just three days. I came away from that gathering wondering what it would be like if we imagined to be true what we believe to be true: the Lamb who was slain and reborn remains with us throughout eternity.

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