We woke up knowing that the day ahead will be intense. We walked more than 20,000 footsteps following in his steps in this holy city. Our spiritual pulses were racing.
We started at Calvary venerating the foot of the cross, inserting our entire arm into a hole that held up the wood of the cross. As deep as our arm went, this spiritual experience tore deep into our hearts. This is the depth of his Love.
We entered inside the Tomb of Jesus. Here, on where he laid before he rose, we celebrated mass. In here, the angel sat and told Mary of Magdala to tell others that He Has Risen. In here, John saw and believed. In here, He rose from the dead to become the meaning and reason for the life we live. This is why we have his footsteps to follow.
This is the ultimate privilege – to be here and have mass celebrated for us, hopeful that this experience will lead us to love others the way he loves us.
We retraced our steps to start to walk the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross. Just before, we went to the birthplace of Mary and sang her a praise song in the perfect acoustics of St. Anne’s Church. The notes of our hymn lingered on sweet and beautifully; just like the love of our Blessed Mother. We visited the Pool of Bethesda where we prayed for healing; for others and for self.
We began at the first station at The Chapel of Flagellation and walked slowly through the old city on its worn stone paths, smoothened down the years. The bustling old city is a distraction but we found solace in the chapels at each station. We enter again The Holy Sepulchre to complete the journey of our redemption at The Tomb. We prayed in the Chapel of Adam and Stone of Anointing, the sin of man now redeemed.
We are somewhat lighter as the joy of the Resurrection begin to take its place in our hearts. We are ready to be filled with the Holy Spirit as we enter the Upper Room (Cenacle). Here we beckoned the Spirit to come. Come sweet Spirit, come.
On the way to St. Peter at Gallicantu, we visit Dormition Abbey to remember Mary’s death. At Gallicantu, we again felt forgiveness as we realised the number of times the cock has crowed in our life. We looked at the Macabee steps reminding ourselves of the steps we are taking, as these steps were most definitely walked on by Jesus.
We moved on to Ein Karem where we echoed Mary’s song of praise, The Magnificat at the Church of the Visitation. Like Mary bringing Jesus to her cousin, we are hopeful for this pilgrimage that we will begin to bring Jesus to others. On the eve of the Feast of St John the Baptist, we visit his birthplace. We too can be St John the Baptist as we make the paths straight for others to encounter Jesus in the mission to reach out to returning Catholics.
We went back to Jerusalem to visit the Wailing Wall and prayed for unity and peace for all people and all faith.
Our long day ended with Holy Hour in the Church of All Nations in Gethsemane. After encountering Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, we venerate the very stone he prayed on to his Father before his arrest. On this stone, we see the will of the Father fulfilled; from Mary ‘yes’ in Nazareth to Jesus’ ‘yes’ in Jerusalem, “Let thy will be done”. On this stone, we prayed for courage and strength to allow for God’s will in our lives.