Always Forward;” it is not about the appearance of perfection but the weathering of faithful persistence. Despite what may lie ahead, the Christian is called onward through this pilgrim’s journey.
To be human is to encounter trials, but to have faith is to endure them with hope — eyes fixed upon Christ no matter what may come. Perhaps we are tired, perhaps we are wounded, yet we carry on remaining spiritually resilient. With each new sunrise, we choose to commit to the call of Christ.
We go — always forward.
But why a swallow? Artistically, in both religious and cultural settings, swallows have played an integral part in historical symbolism. Famous for their migration pattern, swallows have become a symbol of resilience and faithfulness, making their way home to San Juan Capistrano, California year after year, rain or shine. The swallow has long represented the idea of persevering in the face of trial or hardship.
Like a sailor setting off to sea with the steadfast will to return home, sailors, soldiers, and other journeymen would find confidence in the image of a swallow — committed to return regardless of what battles and storms they may encounter. Christianity, in turn, has adopted the calculated and anticipated return of the swallows as a hope-filled symbol of the Second Coming of the Resurrected Christ. As the swallows predictably and faithfully return, so will He.
The San Juan Capistrano Mission was founded in 1776 by Franciscan friar St. Junipero Serra. His motto was, “Siempre adelante, nunca atras,” a Spanish phrase that translates to, “Always forward, never back!”
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