Let us enter into His dwelling; let us adore in the place where His feet have stood! - Psalm 131:7
Holy Land Pilgrimage Part 1 (Days 0-2)
Day 7: Thursday, July 14
Today we spend the morning in the holy city of Jerusalem, walking in the footsteps of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. We rise early in the morning to walk the Via Dolorosa and pray the Stations of the Cross, culminating at the holiest shrine in Christendom, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where we venerate Mount Calvary and the empty Tomb of Our Lord. After a mid-morning rest and lunch, we will visit Bethany and the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus, where our Lord was accustomed to staying whenever He visited Jerusalem; we will also see the Tomb of Lazarus (John 11), the last of the miracles related by John before the Crucifixion. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
I was in a rush to get out the door so you don't get the mirror shot. ;)
(I was in a rush because we had to be out the door promptly at 5AM.)
Started the day by following the same path of the Stations of the Cross!
It was such an amazing experience especially with the quiet streets!
Mount Calvary where Jesus died so that we may be set free from our sins.
I was actually able to touch the very stone where the cross stood! :,)
It was incredibly moving being in very spot where the ultimate sacrifice took place.
The stone slab where Jesus was prepared for the tomb.
I wish I could describe the smell of that stone slab because it was heavenly.
Golgotha, also known as The Place of the Skull, has been traditionally recognized has the place where Adam -- the first human -- was buried; and when the rock split during the earth quake Christ's blood flowed down the crack and over the skull of Adam washing him in the blood of Christ cleaning him from his sin.
Below is one of pillars that Jesus was bound to when He was scourged. When our guide mentioned that it was, "one of the pillars" it raised a few questions from our group. Our guide elaborated saying something to the effect that, Jesus would have been scourged when He was held by the Sanhedrin as well as by the Romans twice. The first time was when Pilate found "no reason for death in Him" but wished to please the crowed and the second time was just before Pilate handed Christ over to be crucified. Our guide also went into detail on how Jesus would've been scourged saying that on top of using whips with knots or metal ends designed to rip and tear the skin, they would've thrown salt on the wounds in order to make sure that Jesus was still feeling the pain of the scourges. Just goes to show how much Christ endured for us out of love.
The place where St. Helen found The True Cross.
The chanting from a different group really set the mood...
Found out later that the group is called Harpa Dei.
We had to leave because we were scheduled for Mass at a different location but we got to go back to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre later.
After Mass we made our way to Bethany and to the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
This is a small mustard tree and those tiny black dots are mustard seeds!!!
"He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”
This is the church above the house of Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
"Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never die... Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go.”
Shawarma over looking Jerusalem
After getting back to the hotel, a group of us went back to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The following pictures are taken from underneath the Via Dolorosa. Instead of me trying to explain I found a video which was really helpful.
At the end of the day we went back to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and got to go into the tomb where Jesus was buried and rose from!!
This is the cave where Jesus was buried and rose from!!!
Wasn't allowed to take take pictures inside but it was an incredible experience!
Such an incredibly blessed day full of emotion to say the least!
Day 8: Friday, July 15
We will start the day at the summit of the Mount of Olives to walk the road that our Lord used to take entering Jerusalem from Bethany, the route of Palm Sunday. Visit the Church of Pater Noster, one of the places our Lord taught His disciples to pray (Luke 11:1-4); Dominus Flevit, where our Lord wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44); the Garden of Gethse- mane and the Basilica of the Agony (Luke 22:39-44). After lunch at Ramat Rachel (overlooking Rachel’s Tomb, Gen. 35:19-20), we’ll visit Mt. Sion to see Dormition Abbey, the place where our Lady ended her earthly life before her glorious Assumption into heaven. Nearby is the Holy Cenacle, the Upper Room where our Lord ate His Last Supper (Mt. 26, Mk. 14; Lk. 22; Jn. 13), breathed on the Apostles after His Resurrection (John 20:22), and sent the Holy Ghost at Pentecost (Acts 1-2). From there, we’ll walk the short distance to the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, where our Lord was imprisoned the night before He died and where St. Peter denied Him three times. Dinner and overnight in Jerusalem.
This is the area where Jesus wept over the City of Jerusalem.
You can see the Walls of Jerusalem. Obviously not the same walls that were there during the time of Christ but they're still very old! (This wall was build in the 16th century.)
It was cool seeing a birds-eye view of the city and where everything was exactly.
This is the type of plant used for the crown of thorns.
Those thorns are about the length of a finger! I can't imagine how painful that must have been for Our Lord. Our guide was saying that once they penetrate there are barbs that keep the thorn from being pulled out without causing pain. And if that wasn't enough they also release a poison...
After Mass we walked down the hill on the path that Jesus would have taken on Palm Sunday!
The Garden of Gethsemane
I can see why Jesus would come here to pray!
My godfather made a really neat point, just like how an olive is pressed and oil comes out, Christ too was pressed by the weight of our sins to the point that sweat came out as drops of blood.
This tree is 2,000 years old which means it would've been a sapling that Jesus walked past when He was in the garden.
"Going a little father, He fell facedown and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.""
This is me being vulnerable with y'all but I have had many nights where I had tremendous anxiety/stress so much so that at times thought I couldn't do it anymore and in those times I throw myself in desperation to the mercy of God and in those moments I remember how our Lord in His humanity underwent intense stress and anxiety in anticipation of the torture and death that He was about to undergo. There is nothing that we experience that God hasn't experienced and I like to think during that time when Christ was under all the stress that He took upon Himself the stress and anxiety that the world experienced/experiences/experiencing and He sets an example for us in how to handle the stressful things that go on in our lives by turning to God in prayer pleading "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt." We must remember that even though we may be going through a difficult time, so much so that we don't think we can handle it anymore, we have to ask ourselves in those times what is God's will. It's possible that our will and His will are not aligned and it's in those times that we need to ask for strength to see whatever we may be going through to the end just as Jesus did which led to the greatest moment of salvation history.
Out of the entire pilgrimage this place emotionally moved me the most. Brings tears to my eyes just thinking of it and the love God has for us to have undergone that emotional torment.
The second place where Jesus taught the Our Father...
"Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
It was really cool seeing the "Our Father" written in so many different languages!
This is the church over the place where Mother Mary was taken into Heaven!
We weren't able to go inside due to major renovations but it was still really special.
Also visited the Upper Room where the Last Supper took place!!
Forgot to take pictures of the inside though... Probably because I was too in awe.
This church is over the spot where Peter denied Christ three times and also where Jesus was tried by the Sanhedrin.
Massive aloe vera plant... I didn't realize that they could be so big.
The steps Christ would've walked on as He was led to His trial before Pilate.
"Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. But Peter was following at a distance. When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” Then about an hour later still another kept insisting, “Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about!” At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly."
Yet another GREAT DAY!!!