And I am not the first to have thought so!
The Church is filled with holy hikers who have been moved by mountains throughout the ages!
I think that we would have been friends.
Living in Italy, Pier Giorgio journeyed with friends out to the Alps as often as he could, climbing toward the heavens in the company of those he loved. They would laugh and climb and climb and laugh and when the cohort could barely move any further, they would stop to soak in that crisp mountain air. While most in the company were still gasping for their breath, the tireless Pier Giorgio would convince all to join in a rosary or a short prayer of thanksgiving for the beauty around them before rallying those gathered to continue the climb.
And don’t even get me started about St. Bernard!
<Image of St. Bernard dog redacted for copywrite reasons>
Saint Bernard of Menthon was a priest in the 10th century AD. He lived in the alps and is most well-known for building the highest elevation monastery to date and serving the people of the mountains. His works included starting a nightly patrol which served to both clear the mountainside of robbers, as well as search for pilgrims travelling to Rome. Many people died in blizzard conditions on the treacherous pilgrimage through the alps; and in addition to evangelizing the local population, the primary mission of the monastery he built was to provide hospice and shelter for these faithful travelers. To aid in their dangerous work, the monks began breeding and training large dogs for search and rescue missions in the mountains. These dogs, known as St. Bernards, are still employed in mountain rescue missions today (notice the first aid kits carried by the dogs)!
In so many ways, these men and other faithful men and women all over the world have been inspired by the mountains. God has placed a fire in their hearts for adventure, and they have answered the call. What is most admirable in my eyes is that all of these men harnessed their passions and used them to bring about the glory of God. They did not just seek pleasure and happiness for their own sakes. They used the mountains as a tool for prayer, an opportunity to immerse themselves in beauty, a chance to connect their hearts with the Creator of heaven and earth.
There is something in the mountains that speak of majesty. My heart longs for adventure. I am inspired by the examples that precede me, and pray that I too may have the courage and the ability to use my own passions to bring about the glory of God!