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Posts tagged ‘The Visitation’

Walking With Mary To Ein Kerem

Every once in a while, something comes to me, and I just go with it.

Every once in a while, the thought grows into something so much bigger and more amazing than I ever expected.

That is how I would describe Walking With Mary to Ein Kerem.

I didn’t need to pack my bags. I didn’t need a passport. Sometimes, all I needed was the long lane that connects my home with the main road or a treadmill or an elliptical machine at my daughter’s home in Minneapolis.

This journey is a prayer-journey.

This pilgrimage is one we make with the Blessed Mother.

We wake up one morning and decide—with almost the same spontaneity of Mary—that we are going to travel 80 miles in the footsteps of Our Lady.

Eighty miles. That is the distance between Nazareth and Ein Kerem (also spelled Ein Karem), where Elizabeth and Zechariah lived.

Yes, Our Blessed Mother made that 80 mile journey alone, on her own two feet, with the Messiah taking on flesh within her. She journeyed through Galilee, Samaria, the Jordan River Valley, and finally through the hills of Judea.

She crossed the threshold of Elizabeth’s home … and the Magnifcat welled up in her spirit and spilled forth from her lips.

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I made this virtual pilgrimage of prayer with Mary during Lent 2015. In May, I presented the idea to a few friends. It became a Facebook event and almost 400 people joined the journey.

We are sharing our thoughts. The songs that are going through our minds. The things we are seeing. The deliberateness of each step. How good it feels to be moving—and not just moving again, but walking with Mary.

We share about the days we can’t walk, and others comment back: I walked more today than I need to walk, and you can have those miles.

Yes, we are carrying one another on this journey. We are sharing the miles with each other.

But mostly, we are sharing the miles with Mary.

This is no mental game.

This is not a gimmick to get back in shape.

Amazing things are happening in the souls of those who say yes to this journey.

We think of things we have never thought of before. We put on the mind of the Blessed Mother!

It’s not too late. This journey can begin today. It can take as many days as you want to give it.

Here are a couple of things to help you on your journey.

First, a journey tracker. You can fill in the miles as you travel. It is a spreadsheet, and it is ready for you to personalize it any way you want.

Walking With Mary to Ein Kerem

Second, a link to the Facebook Event.

Read the comments. Scan the posts. See the pictures of scenes Mary would have seen.

And enter the journey!

Book Cover Artwork from AMP Gifts of the Visitation

An Ave Maria Press book

 

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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