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Posts tagged ‘Moses’

I Hate Snakes

I hate snakes.

I cannot walk through a field of high grass without being en guarde.

We are building a chicken coop along one side of our house. I have seen two itty, bitty snakes there in the last few years. Snakes like eggs. I’m envisioning the snake-swarm. One snake telling another, “Hey, there’s food over there. Let’s go.”

My husband says we will move if he ever sees a cockroach in the house. I tell him we will move if there is ever a snake in the house.

I hate snakes.

The people of God were about to bypass Edom. About to make their way to Mount Nebo. I’ve been there.

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I can imagine the snakes.

I can imagine the panic when one of them bites.

I can imagine the despair.

Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.

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Mount Nebo

We pray it every time we pray the Stations of the Cross. For by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

We face the serpent daily. We know his bite. We battle the fear of what will happen to us now. But in that moment, we are to genuflect. We raise our eyes to the Cross.

And we are healed.

We rejoice, because Easter is so close. Our redemption awaits. He has overcome death and sin and the grave.

Snakes be damned.

And we rise with Him to enter a Promised Land.

What’s new? Glad you asked! The journey continues…

A week ago, Diana von Glahn of The Faithful Traveler contacted me. She wanted to know if I was interested in traveling to Jordan with other members of the press. She would pass my contact information along to key organizers of a Jordan Religious Press Tour if I was interested.

Are you kidding me? Of course I said yes.

Within one week, I had filled out the application and received word that I was chosen to go to Jordan and visit key sites from April 9 to April 19. Next month.

And I had been lamenting that I would have to wait until August for the Catholic Press Association pilgrimage to Poland before I would be making my next trip. But God has a way of filling our cup to overflowing and taking us places we never dreamed we would be able to go. Abraham learned that late in life. So did Moses. And now, at fifty, I am feeling the call to go … to meet my Lord in many places.

So, April is Jordan–Eastern Holy Land.

August, Poland–Sts. Faustina, John Paul II, & Maximilian Kolbe

November, Israel & Bethlehem–Holy Land.

December, Mexico–Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Have I mentioned lately that I love pilgrimages, and travel writing about places of faith is right up there at the top of my “favorite things” list. I can stay up until two in the morning writing while on pilgrimage (which I do almost every night) and still get up for a six o’clock wake-up and a day of prayer at holy places. That’s grace. At home, I need a solid eight-hour night.

Well, the official itinerary arrived just a few days after I submitted the application. I eagerly read through each day’s events.

By day four, I had to stop reading. I was overwhelmed by the gift that was unfolding before my eyes:

“Leave Amman behind to travel south toward the wilderness on the eastern banks of the River Jordan known as Bethany-beyond-the-Jordan. According to the Bible, it was here that the prophet Elijah ascended to heaven on a chariot of fire, and where John the Baptist came centuries later preaching and baptizing in the spirit of Elijah. Then, drive a short distance to Mount Nebo, where the Bible says Moses climbed after his long Exodus journey to see the land he would never enter, and where he was buried nearby by God himself.”

 

I slipped out of my chair and knelt beside my office desk. My heart was full, and prayers of gratitude seemed the only appropriate response.

I have been working out to meet the physical demands of making pilgrimages. I have increased the incline of the treadmill when I work out, setting the incline as steep as I can handle because the itinerary says we will have the opportunity to climb Mount Nebo, if we feel we can handle the hike up the mountain.

I’m going to do it. So it is time to get into even better shape.

Through words, I will take you back to those moments in salvation history.

I’m going to Jordan.

You come, too.

 

 

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

Luke 2:41–They went up to Jerusalem for the celebration as was their custom. Luke 24:15–Jesus approached and began to walk along with them.

 

 

 

This is the essence of pilgrimage: Go to meet your God, and He will come to you when you enter the journey and seek Him. The whole pilgrimage thing, that entire God-seeking way of life, has been part of our faith from the beginning.

 

Abraham departed from Ur.

 

 

The Hebrew People went up to Shiloh to encounter the Lord in the days of Hannah & Samuel.

 

And then they made journeys to Jerusalem in the days of David & Solomon & to this day.

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Model of the Temple Mount, Israel Museum, Israel

Even when they found themselves in a foreign land, the Jewish People sought the Lord. The pilgrimage was part of their DNA. Moses approached a burning bush and removed his sandals for he was standing on holy ground and the Lord said to Moses, “Come now, I will send you.”

He was to lead them out to a holy place to pray, but Pharaoh said no. God upped the request. “Then let my people go – forever.”

They had the ultimate pilgrimage to make. And God Himself would throw His protection around them.

 

The entire Hebrew People passed through the desert into the Promised Land, seeking the Lord of the Promise by way of a journey.

Then, there was Ruth who traveled to Bethlehem, following Naomi, seeking the Lord of her husband’s mother.

And a foreigner, Naaman, at the direction of his wife’s servant who was just a young Hebrew girl, traveled to Israel to meet God’s prophet.

When exiled, the Hebrew People returned – and they went up. Up to Jerusalem. A journey to higher ground. A journey to the Lord Most High.

Mary received the Word, and immediately went on a pilgrimage of her own, to Ein Kerem in the hills of Judea, Elizabeth and Zechariah’s home.

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Ein Kerem, Israel

Mary and Joseph were forced to go to Bethlehem to complete the census, but they made it a pilgrimage – in which they encountered the Incarnate Word of God!

Soon after, the Holy Family went to the Temple for the Presentation – imagine. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity went on a pilgrimage to encounter the Godhead!

And they returned to Jerusalem every year at Passover, because Pilgrimage & Passover go together. The God-quest and the Eucharistic Feast go together.

Old.

New.

All of it rooted in pilgrimage because at its core, pilgrimage is about encountering the Lord God.

The disciples throughout the Gospels traveled to one mountain after another, to deserted places, to the respite of a boat on the Sea of Galilee, to an Upper Room.

Zacchaeus climbed a tree.

Olive trees Mount of Olives

Olive Tree, Mount of Olives, Israel

The sick woman sought the hem of Jesus’ garment.

Peter and John were seen running to the empty tomb.

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The Tomb, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Israel

The faithful throughout Church history have set their minds and hearts on the God-quest, beginning with pilgrimages to the Holy Land and then making pilgrimages to every place kissed by the Gospel message in which chapels, churches, basilicas, shrines and grottos have been raised –where Jesus Christ has traveled by way of His disciples’ feet, to contemplate those sweet and fleeting visits by His Mother, to touch the soil where martyrs died and the Gospel seed was planted and grew.

 

We are a pilgrim people, and the entirety of this life is a faith journey.

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

Come, says the Lord. I am sending you.

Go up for the celebration, and I will join you on the journey.

I invite you to come along with me. Come, let’s make it a novena. It’s almost time to enter nine days of prayerful journey – to Our God.

 

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Denise Bossert is a professional travel writer for Select International Tours. Select has provided travel for hundreds of groups and many prominent church leaders. http://www.selectinternationaltours.com/

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