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Holy Land Pilgrimage Novena

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Novena pic

Nine days of reflections and prayers: Discover the grace that awaits you as you follow in Our Lord’s footsteps.

Our Novena:

Day Nine: Resurrection, our final destination

When we are weary beyond what we think our bodies can take, the journey comes to an end. We pack our bags, get on the bus, head to the airport, and conclude the pilgrimage with songs in our hearts, friendships that will last, spirits renewed, restored, and resurrected.

This is the ultimate destination.

Every moment has had one purpose – to give us a share in the life of Christ. Our Resurrected Lord. We are on a quest to God, to the divine life He gives us. If we return to our lives as a people who are unchanged, we miss the point altogether.

So now, as we prepare to return to our lives, let us take this One we have encountered with us. Let us leave behind our own burial garments, and the dead parts that weighed us down when we began our journey nine days ago. Let us continue to take delight in our fellow pilgrims, our brothers and sisters in Christ, and promise to meet one another at the Table of Our Eucharistic Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord and meet our God.

Daily Prayer: Oh Lord, who called forth Abraham from the land of Ur and prepared a place for him; who sent forth Moses and parted the Sea ahead of him; who sent forth Joshua into a Promised Land; who inspired a Virgin to travel from her home in Nazareth to the hills of Judea and eventually to the City of David; who gathered disciples together and led them to mountain tops, to the sea as a respite from the crowds, to cities where they encountered the lowest born and the highest born … call us now to come and follow you, Oh Lord. Help us to remember that life is the ultimate pilgrimage, a journey to the Heavenly Father, a pilgrimage with You, and to You. Teach us to look for You, to watch for Your Presence, to listen for Your instruction at every turn. Remind us to pick up the water of our Baptism and renew our spirit at the holy font. Remind us that we have fellow travelers in those around us and in those in Heaven who cheer us along our way. Open our hearts to those we encounter along life’s pilgrimage, knowing that You are guiding each one we meet in the same eternal pilgrimage. Today, I embrace what You are teaching me. I bow my head and receive Your anointing. I stand to my feet and step out of my comfort zone to share You. With the deliberateness required of one who makes a pilgrimage, I keep putting one foot in front of another, rejoicing that You are waiting for me at journey’s end. And while I travel, bless my family & keep them in your tender care.

Our Father

Hail Mary

Glory Be

 

Day Eight: Death as a Journey

The entire Holy Land pilgrimage builds. It builds to the moment of Our Lord’s death. The disciples weren’t too keen on this part of the Messiah’s pilgrimage on Earth. He was supposed to reign. They were supposed to be lifted high with Him.

All that would happen, but first they would pass through the darkest three days the world has ever known. Today, we arrived at this part of the pilgrimage journey. The Promised One came. And He came to die that we might live.

Our day began at the Basilica of Agony (also known as the Church of All Nations). The church is located on the Mount of Olives. According to our tour guide, this is also the site where Jesus was condemned. Imagine praying the Mass there … with your own priest … with people you know … because you all decided to make the pilgrimage together.

And really, isn’t that life? We are in this pilgrimage together. So, now, we are passing though the journey of Christ’s Passion together.

Later today, we visited the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. I had never heard of this place. Here, Jesus was lowered into a prison cell that was under the ground – far, far underground. It is hewn from the rock, a very tight space. If one is prone to claustrophobia, a panic attack is almost certain. And Jesus was lowered into this space and left there the entire night before daybreak on the day of His Crucifixion.

How can this be? How can death for the Lord of Life be the answer? Why are some aspects of this earthly pilgrimage filled with death or sorrow or suffering? Division, loss, agony? Abandonment, fear, loneliness?

And yet, Jesus experienced all of this – at His sentencing, when He was lowered into the cell, as He was beaten, when He carried the Cross, while He hung from nails that pierced his hands and feet, as He watched His own mother grieve – all of this was so that He might redeem you.

You are on a pilgrimage. Life is that pilgrimage. But you do not travel alone. Jesus Christ travels beside you – just as we have our travel guide here in Israel. You have spiritual mentors – just as we have our pilgrimage host. You have sisters and brothers, both on Earth and in Heaven – just as we have fellow pilgrims on our journey.

This is not a moment for despair. It is a moment to turn to those God has given to you. It is an opportunity to invite the Suffering Lord Jesus Christ to walk beside you. It is a gift to walk the Way of the Cross, your own way of the cross, because Jesus Christ will walk it with you.

There is no death or sorrow or suffering, no division or loss or agony, no abandonment or loneliness that it is not made light and filled with grace when Jesus Christ joins us on the journey. And the good news is this. The journey does not end here. It is only day eight.

Even so, be willing to wait here for just a while, in the agony, with Christ Our Lord.

Daily Prayer: Oh Lord, who called forth Abraham from the land of Ur and prepared a place for him; who sent forth Moses and parted the Sea ahead of him; who sent forth Joshua into a Promised Land; who inspired a Virgin to travel from her home in Nazareth to the hills of Judea and eventually to the City of David; who gathered disciples together and led them to mountain tops, to the sea as a respite from the crowds, to cities where they encountered the lowest born and the highest born … call us now to come and follow you, Oh Lord. Help us to remember that life is the ultimate pilgrimage, a journey to the Heavenly Father, a pilgrimage with You, and to You. Teach us to look for You, to watch for Your Presence, to listen for Your instruction at every turn. Remind us to pick up the water of our Baptism and renew our spirit at the holy font. Remind us that we have fellow travelers in those around us and in those in Heaven who cheer us along our way. Open our hearts to those we encounter along life’s pilgrimage, knowing that You are guiding each one we meet in the same eternal pilgrimage. Today, I embrace what You are teaching me. I bow my head and receive Your anointing. I stand to my feet and step out of my comfort zone to share You. With the deliberateness required of one who makes a pilgrimage, I keep putting one foot in front of another, rejoicing that You are waiting for me at journey’s end. And while I travel, bless my family & keep them in your tender care.

Our Father

Hail Mary

Glory Be

Day Seven: Second (and third) Time Around

We live in a been-there-done-that society. If we’ve tried it once, we don’t need to go back around and give it another go. But pilgrimage isn’t like that. Even the Holy Family went up to Jerusalem each year. We have a glimpse into this part of Our Lord’s early life when we read about the Finding in the Temple.

Even in early Old Testament times, when the center of Israel was located in Shiloh, Hannah’s family would go to worship the Lord in Shiloh every year.

No been-there-done-that philosophy for them.

Yesterday morning, we visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I had been there before – last May. This time, I marveled as much at the wonder & awe in my fellow pilgrims as I did in my own moments of grace. But after lunch, I returned again to this church which is built over the location of the crucifixion, the anointing stone, and the tomb. Our numbers had been reduced by half. Most returned to the hotel to get some sleep. We were all incredibly worn out.

When I entered the Church, I sat in a place where, according to tradition, the Blessed Mother stood as she watched her son die. And I thought of my son, my only son. He is twenty-nine … so close to the age of Jesus Christ at the time of His death. And I sobbed. In the middle of my contemplation of this sorrowful moment in the Gospel story, I remembered my son’s birthday – December 24 – another link between the two of us and the two of them. Seven minutes before midnight on Christmas Eve, I gave birth to him, and he was placed in my arms around the midnight hour.

Three other experiences occurred yesterday afternoon that were firsts for me.  There is not enough time here to explain them all, but they were powerful moments of grace in a place I had prayed three other times. Near the end of my repeat visit, the Franciscan priests entered, the crowds parted, the men in brown habits stood before the tomb and sang a cappella … in another language. But  I recognized the words, the rhythm of the prayers. They stood before Our Lord’s sacred tomb and venerated this place, with candles lit, with holy, somber, yet glorious faces. How many times must they have done this before, and yet now, it seemed as though it was the first time in all time.

Three of them stood facing the tomb, and after the ritual ended, just before bowing and entering the tomb to worship, the middle Franciscan turned to me – out of a crowd of hundreds – and handed me his candle … with a smile. He had seen me weep unreservedly – and perhaps that had made this event new, mysterious, glorious for him all over again, too.

Once is never enough.

Let go of your been-there-done-that attitudes. Our Lord never fails to show up. He never ceases to teach new things. He never turns away when we turn to Him in the pilgrimage journey.

Go. Make a pilgrimage today. Again … and yet, not again.

Daily Prayer: Oh Lord, who called forth Abraham from the land of Ur and prepared a place for him; who sent forth Moses and parted the Sea ahead of him; who sent forth Joshua into a Promised Land; who inspired a Virgin to travel from her home in Nazareth to the hills of Judea and eventually to the City of David; who gathered disciples together and led them to mountain tops, to the sea as a respite from the crowds, to cities where they encountered the lowest born and the highest born … call us now to come and follow you, Oh Lord. Help us to remember that life is the ultimate pilgrimage, a journey to the Heavenly Father, a pilgrimage with You, and to You. Teach us to look for You, to watch for Your Presence, to listen for Your instruction at every turn. Remind us to pick up the water of our Baptism and renew our spirit at the holy font. Remind us that we have fellow travelers in those around us and in those in Heaven who cheer us along our way. Open our hearts to those we encounter along life’s pilgrimage, knowing that You are guiding each one we meet in the same eternal pilgrimage. Today, I embrace what You are teaching me. I bow my head and receive Your anointing. I stand to my feet and step out of my comfort zone to share You. With the deliberateness required of one who makes a pilgrimage, I keep putting one foot in front of another, rejoicing that You are waiting for me at journey’s end. And while I travel, bless my family & keep them in your tender care.

Our Father

Hail Mary

Glory Be

 

Day Six: Mountain Climbing in Humble Attire

We don’t usually think of the Temptation of Christ in terms of a pilgrimage, but Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit. And He was tempted. The pilgrimage experience does not exempt us from temptation or suffering. Pilgrimages don’t always take an easy path. While we may not experience the kind of purgation Jesus did for forty days, sometimes we do experience an arid kind of pilgrimage. And that is not only good, it is sometimes necessary.

Today, we visited the Mount of Our Lord’s Temptation. Satan tempted Jesus Christ in three ways, but let’s just focus on one of these temptations for today’s virtual pilgrimage.

“If you do this … I will make you into something great.”

This is seduction permeates our culture. If you don’t feel the pressure to be somebody in the eyes of a lot of somebodies, you probably are already well on the way to sainthood or you are a hermit and there aren’t too many somebodies around you.

Humility. Knowing our worth in Christ and emptying ourselves of self, that takes fortitude and a deliberate act of the will.

Nobody escapes this temptation – not even Catholic writers and speakers. In fact, we may struggle with this temptation more than the rest of the gang. But nothing I do – nothing you do – matters unless it serves Jesus Christ. If being emptied out and taken down to nothing is the very thing that will serve Christ best, that should be our desire.

Yikes.

Welcome to the Mountain of Temptation.

So, put on your hiking boots – the humble-looking ones and not the $300 pair you bought for hiking in Colorado. And hit the trail. Less of me, Lord. More of You. Less of me, Lord. More of You – until there is only You.

Daily Prayer: Oh Lord, who called forth Abraham from the land of Ur and prepared a place for him; who sent forth Moses and parted the Sea ahead of him; who sent forth Joshua into a Promised Land; who inspired a Virgin to travel from her home in Nazareth to the hills of Judea and eventually to the City of David; who gathered disciples together and led them to mountain tops, to the sea as a respite from the crowds, to cities where they encountered the lowest born and the highest born … call us now to come and follow you, Oh Lord. Help us to remember that life is the ultimate pilgrimage, a journey to the Heavenly Father, a pilgrimage with You, and to You. Teach us to look for You, to watch for Your Presence, to listen for Your instruction at every turn. Remind us to pick up the water of our Baptism and renew our spirit at the holy font. Remind us that we have fellow travelers in those around us and in those in Heaven who cheer us along our way. Open our hearts to those we encounter along life’s pilgrimage, knowing that You are guiding each one we meet in the same eternal pilgrimage. Today, I embrace what You are teaching me. I bow my head and receive Your anointing. I stand to my feet and step out of my comfort zone to share You. With the deliberateness required of one who makes a pilgrimage, I keep putting one foot in front of another, rejoicing that You are waiting for me at journey’s end. And while I travel, bless my family & keep them in your tender care.

Our Father

Hail Mary

Glory Be

 

Day Five: Thinking Outside of the Box

What about doing something unusual today for your mini-pilgrimage?

Today, we sailed on the Sea of Galilee. We left the land for a little while, let the churches wait a bit, turned our minds and souls to something different.

Oh, our hearts were still set on Jesus Christ, but the venue changed. The point of divine access shifted.

We stepped inside the King David boat on the Sea of Galilee, and we danced. We sang. We read Sacred Scripture. Couples held hands. Wives rested their heads on their husbands’ shoulders. A mother and daughter held each other and cried – and then just looked out at the Sea. Mostly, though, we thought. We meditated on all those passages of Scripture we had heard about Jesus and this Sea. There was peace, and joy, and grace was in the breeze. Our eyes turned to nature, to the world Jesus knew, the world He loved. And we felt Him there.

Imagine what you might do today. What unique form of pilgrimage will you embrace? Will your God-trekking journey find a new venue? Will you ride a bike? Go for a run? Find Him in the fallen leaves – or the snow that fell in your state today? Maybe you will decide to go to a Catholic bookstore and let the manager pick out a book for you. Maybe your pilgrimage will be with a pen and paper, taking the form of a letter to your Lord. Your Redeemer. Your Prince of Peace. Your Creator and God.

Or maybe, your pilgrimage is bigger than that. Maybe today is the day you return to the One who walked on that Sea and come home to the Church you set aside long ago.

Step in the boat. Dance. Sing. Laugh. And meet the Lord as He walks across the water to you.

Daily Prayer: Oh Lord, who called forth Abraham from the land of Ur and prepared a place for him; who sent forth Moses and parted the Sea ahead of him; who sent forth Joshua into a Promised Land; who inspired a Virgin to travel from her home in Nazareth to the hills of Judea and eventually to the City of David; who gathered disciples together and led them to mountain tops, to the sea as a respite from the crowds, to cities where they encountered the lowest born and the highest born … call us now to come and follow you, Oh Lord. Help us to remember that life is the ultimate pilgrimage, a journey to the Heavenly Father, a pilgrimage with You, and to You. Teach us to look for You, to watch for Your Presence, to listen for Your instruction at every turn. Remind us to pick up the water of our Baptism and renew our spirit at the holy font. Remind us that we have fellow travelers in those around us and in those in Heaven who cheer us along our way. Open our hearts to those we encounter along life’s pilgrimage, knowing that You are guiding each one we meet in the same eternal pilgrimage. Today, I embrace what You are teaching me. I bow my head and receive Your anointing. I stand to my feet and step out of my comfort zone to share You. With the deliberateness required of one who makes a pilgrimage, I keep putting one foot in front of another, rejoicing that You are waiting for me at journey’s end. And while I travel, bless my family & keep them in your tender care.

Our Father

Hail Mary

Glory Be

 

Day Four: A Mountaintop Experience

The first time I was in the Holy Land, we saw Mount Tabor from a distance , but we did not ascend the mountain and visit the Church of  the Transfiguration. This time, Mount Tabor was added to the itinerary.

Pilgrimages, even virtual ones, are an ascent. We go up to meet Our God. There are many emotions as we make our way up. Perhaps the first, greatest step is to begin the journey at all. Then, we do battle with our own will. Perhaps we fear that our companions will push us too hard – that we are not up to this challenge that faces us. Perhaps we anticipate frustrations and would rather do the whole thing on our own. Sometimes others move at a different pace. We like to move quickly, get on with the thing. Our companions may need more time. We have to work together, move together, ascend together. And that is not an easy thing.

But if we submit to the difficult with a steadfast endurance, there will be surprises. Happy surprises. Group rosaries. We will discover a kindred spirit. We will realize our own capacity for loving one that isn’t easy  to love. Yes, there will be graces in this climb. And each grace points higher; each points to Christ.

And together, you will stand at the apex, and be transfigured. You will look up, and marvel. For God walked with you – and He waited until you made it to the top to reveal Himself.

Face your mountain today with this confidence. We journey together. We wrestle down our fears. And we are promised the gift of His Presence along the way (though unseen) and in a powerful way when we reach the summit.

Daily Prayer: Oh Lord, who called forth Abraham from the land of Ur and prepared a place for him; who sent forth Moses and parted the Sea ahead of him; who sent forth Joshua into a Promised Land; who inspired a Virgin to travel from her home in Nazareth to the hills of Judea and eventually to the City of David; who gathered disciples together and led them to mountain tops, to the sea as a respite from the crowds, to cities where they encountered the lowest born and the highest born … call us now to come and follow you, Oh Lord. Help us to remember that life is the ultimate pilgrimage, a journey to the Heavenly Father, a pilgrimage with You, and to You. Teach us to look for You, to watch for Your Presence, to listen for Your instruction at every turn. Remind us to pick up the water of our Baptism and renew our spirit at the holy font. Remind us that we have fellow travelers in those around us and in those in Heaven who cheer us along our way. Open our hearts to those we encounter along life’s pilgrimage, knowing that You are guiding each one we meet in the same eternal pilgrimage. Today, I embrace what You are teaching me. I bow my head and receive Your anointing. I stand to my feet and step out of my comfort zone to share You. With the deliberateness required of one who makes a pilgrimage, I keep putting one foot in front of another, rejoicing that You are waiting for me at journey’s end. And while I travel, bless my family & keep them in your tender care.

Our Father

Hail Mary

Glory Be

Day Three – A Well in Nazareth

According to tradition, Mary encountered Archangel Gabriel at a well. Many pilgrimages to the Holy Land include a visit to the historic site of “Mary’s Well.” The Blessed Virgin Mary went on a simple trek, an errand, a journey of mere steps from her front door/gate to the well where so many gathered – where she had gathered so often. But on this day, her life would change forever, and from this day forward, the world would never be the same.

Pilgrimages don’t have to be to far-away places, although the Blessed Mother was prone to take to the road many times (to Ein Kerem, to Bethlhehem, to Egypt, and back to Nazareth). More often, life-changing pilgrimages take place very close to home, in places where so many others have frequented before us, but on one particular day, we encounter the living God and His message becomes personal. It changes us – and eventually, it changes others who encounter us.

Today, have a heart that is open to an encounter with the Lord, even if your day’s plans take you only a few steps from your own front door. Be ready to receive a message from the Lord wherever you are today. Permit that message to change you, and eventually to change those you encounter.

Daily Prayer: Oh Lord, who called forth Abraham from the land of Ur and prepared a place for him; who sent forth Moses and parted the Sea ahead of him; who sent forth Joshua into a Promised Land; who inspired a Virgin to travel from her home in Nazareth to the hills of Judea and eventually to the City of David; who gathered disciples together and led them to mountain tops, to the sea as a respite from the crowds, to cities where they encountered the lowest born and the highest born … call us now to come and follow you, Oh Lord. Help us to remember that life is the ultimate pilgrimage, a journey to the Heavenly Father, a pilgrimage with You, and to You. Teach us to look for You, to watch for Your Presence, to listen for Your instruction at every turn. Remind us to pick up the water of our Baptism and renew our spirit at the holy font. Remind us that we have fellow travelers in those around us and in those in Heaven who cheer us along our way. Open our hearts to those we encounter along life’s pilgrimage, knowing that You are guiding each one we meet in the same eternal pilgrimage. Today, I embrace what You are teaching me. I bow my head and receive Your anointing. I stand to my feet and step out of my comfort zone to share You. With the deliberateness required of one who makes a pilgrimage, I keep putting one foot in front of another, rejoicing that You are waiting for me at journey’s end. And while I travel, bless my family & keep them in your tender care.

Our Father

Hail Mary

Glory Be

 

Day Two – Elijah Leaves Mount Carmel

Mount Carmel is one of the favorite destinations on any pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It is the infamous site of the showdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal in which Elijah challenged the false prophets to a duel. Each built an altar to their god, Elijah to the True God and the prophets of Baal to their God. The false prophets went first, calling upon deaf ears to send down fire and to light the wood and accept the offering they had made. After hours of frenzied praying to gods that could never hear, gods who do not exist, Elijah stepped forward and prayed, humbly, confidently, to the Lord God. It was a petition. It was also an act of worship to the Most High God. And immediately, the Lord answered and sent the fire which lapped up the water and consumed the wood and the offering. God had manifested Himself. But now, King Ahab’s wife Jezebel was on a rampage and Elijah had to flee. He went forty days and forty nights’ journey to the mountain of God, Horeb. And there he waited for the Lord.

There was a strong and violent wind, but the Lord was not in the wind.

There was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.

There was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.

Then, there was a still, small voice. And this was the Presence of the Lord.

Sometimes, when we go God-trekking, we expect to find the Lord in the big things, the profound experiences, the exotic, the overwhelming moments. And certainly, He is the Hand behind these things. But a true encounter with the Lord is often more still than bombastic.

What journey have you made? What challenges are you facing? Who is your Jezebel? Perhaps it is time to make a 40-day pilgrimage, a God-trekking journey to your own mountain of God. Maybe that is a place in nature. Maybe it is a trip to the Adoration Chapel. Maybe it is a deliberate choice to go to daily Mass. But go without expectations. Don’t anticipate what will happen when He shows up. Just know that He will meet you. Be ready for the still, small voice, that comes so sweetly and leads you to what comes next. Like Elijah. Like the Lord at Mount Horeb.

Pray the daily prayer below, one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

Daily Prayer: Oh Lord, who called forth Abraham from the land of Ur and prepared a place for him; who sent forth Moses and parted the Sea ahead of him; who sent forth Joshua into a Promised Land; who inspired a Virgin to travel from her home in Nazareth to the hills of Judea and eventually to the City of David; who gathered disciples together and led them to mountain tops, to the sea as a respite from the crowds, to cities where they encountered the lowest born and the highest born … call us now to come and follow you, Oh Lord. Help us to remember that life is the ultimate pilgrimage, a journey to the Heavenly Father, a pilgrimage with You, and to You. Teach us to look for You, to watch for Your Presence, to listen for Your instruction at every turn. Remind us to pick up the water of our Baptism and renew our spirit at the holy font. Remind us that we have fellow travelers in those around us and in those in Heaven who cheer us along our way. Open our hearts to those we encounter along life’s pilgrimage, knowing that You are guiding each one we meet in the same eternal pilgrimage. Today, I embrace what You are teaching me. I bow my head and receive Your anointing. I stand to my feet and step out of my comfort zone to share You. With the deliberateness required of one who makes a pilgrimage, I keep putting one foot in front of another, rejoicing that You are waiting for me at journey’s end. And while I travel, bless my family & keep them in your tender care.

Our Father

Hail Mary

Glory Be

 

Day One – Sunday’s Reflection

There is a field near Bethlehem. It is called Shepherds Field. A little over two thousand years ago, angels filled the sky over this field and sang out the joyful news that the Messiah had come (Luke 2:8-14). From that day forward, the field was called Shepherds Field.

But it is also known by another title. It is the field owned by Boaz, the son of Rahab from the city of Jericho. It is the field where a Moabite name Ruth gleaned barley and shared it with her Hebrew mother-in-law after both of their husbands had passed away. It is the field where Boaz fell in love with a Moabite, a foreigner. Like his father who loved Rahab of Jericho, Boaz had a heart ready to love a woman of foreign birth.

Naomi and her husband lived in Moab for a few years, when there was a famine in Bethlehem, but after the father and son’s deaths, Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem, and Ruth was adamant. Naomi would not go without her. Though Naomi tried to dissuade her at first, Ruth proclaimed:

“Where you go, I will go.

Where you lodge, I will lodge.

Your people will be my people.

And your God will be my God.” (Ruth 1:16-17)

Today, we are invited to pray this prayer, to Our Blessed Mother, to Our Lord Himself. Where you go, where you lead, I will go. Where you lodge, where you stay, where I meet you, I will lodge, sleep, eat. Your people, in whatever form they come to me, I will take them as my own, care for them, love them, clothe them, share my life with them. And your God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the Most Blessed Trinity – will be my God.

This is the mindset of a God-trekker. One who is on the divine quest. A pilgrim on pilgrimage. We go where Jesus and Mary have been. We lodge in these places, eat the food, experience the culture. We embrace the people, and take them into our own hearts. And we rejoice, as we will in just a few hours at Mass today, because this God is Our God.

Yours, whether you are in Missouri. In Texas. In Mexico. In Ireland. In the Holy Land.

And He is mine.

We are all on this God-trekking journey. We are all on pilgrimage.

And, like Ruth, we soon discover that we have a Kinsman Redeemer in this One we have encountered in this field. He has come to us, just as we have come to Him.

With the angels, let us sing. Glory to God in the highest. For unto us, a Savior – our Kinsman Redeemer – has come!

Pray the daily prayer below, one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory be.

 

Daily Prayer: Oh Lord, who called forth Abraham from the land of Ur and prepared a place for him; who sent forth Moses and parted the Sea ahead of him; who sent forth Joshua into a Promised Land; who inspired a Virgin to travel from her home in Nazareth to the hills of Judea and eventually to the City of David; who gathered disciples together and led them to mountain tops, to the sea as a respite from the crowds, to cities where they encountered the lowest born and the highest born … call us now to come and follow you, Oh Lord. Help us to remember that life is the ultimate pilgrimage, a journey to the Heavenly Father, a pilgrimage with You, and to You. Teach us to look for You, to watch for Your Presence, to listen for Your instruction at every turn. Remind us to pick up the water of our Baptism and renew our spirit at the holy font. Remind us that we have fellow travelers in those around us and in those in Heaven who cheer us along our way. Open our hearts to those we encounter along life’s pilgrimage, knowing that You are guiding each one we meet in the same eternal pilgrimage. Today, I embrace what You are teaching me. I bow my head and receive Your anointing. I stand to my feet and step out of my comfort zone to share You. With the deliberateness required of one who makes a pilgrimage, I keep putting one foot in front of another, rejoicing that You are waiting for me at journey’s end. And while I travel, bless my family & keep them in your tender care.

Our Father

Hail Mary

Glory Be

 

3 Days – and counting

My bags are almost packed. The talks are prepared. The notes are ready. But I know that all of it is meaningless without the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. And so, I pray …

Come, Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth your Spirit, Oh Lord, and the shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth. Amen.

 

8 Days – and counting

It’s time to gather together all your petitions and take them to the Western Wall. Do you have a special prayer request? Place it in the comment box or send me a Facebook message (https://www.facebook.com/denise.bossert)

This is one of my favorite moments in the Holy Land. You stand at the Western Wall, the only remaining wall that once surrounded the Temple that Jesus Christ knew and loved. You place your hands on the stones, run your fingers over the contours of the rock, and you pray.

The tears flow; they can’t help but flow. Christ was here. This is holy ground. Yes, I am standing on holy ground.196

You reach for your petitions. You have brought all of these people with you, in your heart & in your prayers. And they are with you now, as you touch the stones … and pray … and weep.

Lord, here they are. All the ones I promised to bring to you. Here are their cares, their aches, their needs, their hopes & dreams. We give them to you, in this place, the only place on earth where you might have stood and prayed and placed your own hands.

Then, you feel along the Wall for crevices. You search for your own special place in the Wall, where you will leave your heart-written-on-paper. And you take your folded paper and begin to slide it into the crack you have claimed.

More tears. More prayers. More nudging of the paper.

You don’t turn to leave. That would be sacrilegious. The proper way to go is to back away, while still facing the Wall, still praying, still humbly offering your heart to the Lord.

 

Quietly, you back away from the sacred place.

The petitions remain.

Yes, they will fall from the cracks, in time. But even then, the petitions will be gathered together like they are holy things – for that is very much the way of it.IMG_1889

 

They will be scooped up and delivered to the Mount of Olives where they will be buried for all time. Well, at least until the Lord’s return.

According to Jewish Tradition, when the Messiah comes at the end of time, He will come first for those buried on the Mount of Olives – where these petitions are also buried.

 

Mount of Olives2

Do you have a prayer intention that you would like me to leave at the Western Wall?

I will take it for you. And I will leave it there – in that holy place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

33 Days – and counting

I have written for more than 60 diocesan newspapers. My first book is ready to hit the market. Writing is a passion – but it is only a passion because the things I write about are my true passion.

Jesus Christ. The Church. The holy places and people that inspire us to holiness.

In thirty-three days, I will return to the Holy Land. I want you to come with me.

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Journey with me; let it be a prayer. Yes, you really can travel to places through the pictures and words of another. The core of the trip will be nine days. Join me here, on this travel log, and prayerfully journey with me. Let it become a kind of novena. A prayer-filled journey of the heart.

Perhaps Our Lord is calling you to the Holy Land. Let this be a time of discernment. Let Him speak to you as you travel vicariously through me. Is He calling you to come? Let me take you there through words – and let Him answer your question. Is it I, Lord? Are you calling me?

If you have been to the Holy Land, and you continue to feel drawn to those holy places, consider that the Lord may be calling you to lead a pilgrimage of your own. Are you a leader? When it comes to the faith, are people drawn to you? Then maybe Our Lord wants to entrust a group to you. Let Him speak to you as you travel vicariously through me. How do others go so often? Where do they find the funds? Well, there are some amazing group leader benefits that can make it all possible.

Is Jesus calling you to prayer? Is He prompting you to make a pilgrimage? Is He preparing you to embrace the passion of leading pilgrimages of your own?

Follow me, and discern.

I’m headed to the Holy Land. You come, too.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Please pray for The Faithful Traveler. Ask our Lord to guide us where He wants us to go, and to give us the strength, time, and health to do what He wants us to do. Ask Him to give us the virtues we need to help tell the world how lovable He is. We’ll be following you back home and will be praying for you, too!!

    October 30, 2014
    • Denise Bossert #

      I have your petition, Diana. I am taking it with me and will leave it at the Western Wall. I’m so glad I met you along this pilgrimage to the ultimate City.

      October 30, 2014

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  1. It is time to make a pilgrimage. A nine-day God-seeking novena. A journey to Our God. | Denise Bossert

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