By Fr.David Steffy,L.C., Chargé of the Holy See
May 1st, 2023 - Easter Newsletter I Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
Photo by Fr David Barton, Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
Dear Sisters and Brothers, friends of the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center,
Happy Easter greetings from Jerusalem! You have been in my heart and prayers during Holy Week as we traveled with Jesus who suffered and died for love of us. I prayed on Easter morning from Notre Dame and Easter Monday in Emmaus that you, like the many that followed Jesus, would encounter the risen Lord, gain new understanding, and rejoice with new hope and joy!
May the days of Easter remind you of that deepest truth that you are loved and in feeling that love, you are called to help others feel loved too.
The truth that you are loved.
During Easter we enter deeply into the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who comes into our empty tomb and fills us with fire and new life prompting us to follow the voice of the Good Shepherd who never stops leading his flock.
How often during these holy days of Lent and Easter have you told Jesus you love Him? I would not be surprised if most of you say, “all of the time.” How awesome is that. Yet here in the Holy Land the experience of most pilgrims goes from “I love you Jesus” to “I feel so loved by you Jesus!”
The dynamic changes from us, our love of Him to the His love for us and leads to “I feel loved by you and your love gives me the courage to love as you loved.”
The truth is you are loved so much you’ll feel it.
During this Easter Season I challenge you to reflect and pray about how you experience the love of God. What does that experience of the love of God feel like? Maybe sometimes it’s feelings with tears, relief, silence, joy? Feelings that speak of abundance, fullness, overflowing? Even the feeling of emptiness is part of that thirsting for love.
Yet, when we tell God we feel loved by him, we are showing our gratitude. That is the same sentiment we express when we tell others dear to us that we feel loved by them. Try it and you will be amazed at the other’s reaction. A mother’s or father’s heart will surely burst with joy. Those words will be a treasured gift to them as they are to God.
The truth is that when I feel loved, I help others feel loved.
This is how love was designed….freely. Freely you have received, freely give. It wasn’t difficult for Mary Magdalen to return to the apostles and share her new feelings. It wasn’t difficult for the Samaritan woman or Peter and John in Acts to give witness to being loved by God.
What greater gift can we give each other than to love with the love we have received? What joy we bring the Lord when we go to our empty tombs and believe in his love and like Mary Magdalen express our feelings until he comes and we find the risen Lord, there to personally encounter us with His beautiful love.
Here in the Holy Land, we are excited to welcome the return of pilgrims from all over the world. The people of this land are resilient and despite the personal hardships never stop “thanking God” continually for His presence among us. Thank you for your prayers and support and be assured that I have you, your families, and your intentions daily in front of the Eucharistic Lord in our chapel of the Notre Dame Center.
May the Lord’s love become yours and may the Mother of our Lord and our Mother lead you to experience the love of God in all aspects of your life.
I look forward to greeting you soon when you can come and visit us here in Jerusalem. I send you my cordial regards and priestly blessing.
Sincerely in the Risen Lord,
Father David Steffy, L.C.