Domine, Quo Vadis?

by Margo Borders


If you are anything like me, you are feeling the stress of the semester right now. Not only are there tests and papers to worry about, but your thoughts are also consumed by picking next semester’s classes, applying to graduate schools, or avoiding the massive amounts of reading growing on your desk. I’ve spent a lot of my time abroad reflecting about what I want to do this year, this summer, and the rest of my life. The stress of making decisions never seems to slow down.

Saint Peter experienced this type of decision as he headed on the Appian Way out of Rome during Nero's persecution of Christians. He was spreading the news of the Gospel when he decided to leave because of danger. Just as he was leaving the city, Jesus appeared to him. Peter asked, "Lord where are you going?" Jesus' reply meant everything to Peter. He answered, "Back to Rome to be crucified again." Peter immediately turned around and made his way back to Rome to eventually be imprisoned and crucified for his preaching.

The difference between Peter and us is that Peter was decisive in his actions. He didn’t take a seat on the Appian Way and start composing his pro and con list. He noticed Jesus in front of him, giving him guidance and a model to follow, and he immediately turned around. He again answered Jesus’ call to “come, follow me.”

I biked the Appian Way recently and stopped in the church on the spot of this apparition. As I contemplated Peter's decision and rode past all of the ancient ruins that he would have seen, I had time to reflect and I asked myself the question Peter posed to Jesus: where am I going? 

In all of life's craziness, especially in the chaos of studying and traveling abroad, where am I going? We often find ourselves asking ourselves this question, but it can be helpful to pose this question to God. In the midst of stressful times and impending decisions to be made, it is most helpful to listen to what God is saying to us in our lives. If we were to take the time to notice Jesus in front of us in our lives like Peter did, we would not have any stress in making our decisions. We would know that we were answering God’s call in our lives, something that will fulfill us.

One of my favorite models of holiness in the Church is Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. He was a young Italian who worked extensively to serve the needy and work for the betterment of the Church in his short life. He was an active man and loved to climb mountains, so his motto is, “Verso l’alto,” or “Towards the Top.” I am reminded of this motto when I think about the path on which I am headed. Where am I going? Towards the top, towards heaven, and towards Christ, who Himself is the way.

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