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Greetings from Jerusalem

By Fr. David Steffy, L.C., Chargé of the Holy See


March 6th, 2024 - Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center


Dear Friends of the Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center,


Greetings from the Holy Land, united in our prayers and intentions for peace.

 

“So, what are you giving up for Lent?”. This is the question that my older brother invariably asks me at the beginning of this special season. It reminds me to reflect on what is truly important to me and what may seem to be but is not. I know that Lent is more than giving up chocolate or something I particularly like. But the small practices of self-denial are a reminder of how often I do not appreciate the simple “gifts” of everyday life. Lent helps shake me up a bit, as it should all of us, to be more reflective on what truly gives meaning and purpose to our lives and what does not. It is a season to grow in gratitude for what we have and to think of ways to become better stewards of his many gifts.

 

For sure, the greatest gift the Lord offers us is saving grace. He suffered and died for us so that we may live in his grace and love. That is his ultimate gift to us.  Everything that we do, sustained by his grace and love, lives on and bears fruit. It is his grace and sacrificial love that gives meaning and a sense of hope to what we do, and to how we suffer.

 

We are all aware, that everyone living in the Holy Land is suffering from the effects of the war. Many find it easy to stay in the suffering and become discouraged, while others, the great majority, look for ways to love more deeply. The war should not define us or how we respond to the suffering we go through. The question, so apt in this time of lent, becomes: “How can we unite our sufferings to Christ who suffers with us?” It is in Him that we find the strength to persevere in loving, especially our neighbor as ourselves. So much of what we experience is out of our control, but how we live in our present circumstances is our decision.

 

We can all be encouraged by the example of so many here who have not been defeated by the forces of evil but continue to sow goodness and love with a spirit of self-giving, gratitude, and hope. Each day several of the staff of Notre Dame remind me that we should thank God for everything. Their examples illustrate that we all can carry our crosses joyfully with Christ and help others carry theirs as well. They help me to realize that our goal is not to make it only to the foot of the cross but to arrive at the empty tomb and participate in his resurrection.

 

I try go to the Holy Sepulcher frequently these days to pray for peace and that all who are suffering may find God’s love and consolation in the midst of their sorrows. I also pray for all of you have made pilgrimages here and have grown attached to this Holy Land.  I intentionally go to Calvary first and then visit the empty tomb. Suffering was the path the Lord chose to bring us His grace and love but his purpose is for us to share in His Resurrection. We die with Him so as to live in Him forever. That is the true lesson of Lent and Easter that we all can embrace. It gives us hope, even in the shadow of darkness.



Empty Tomb of Jesus (Holy Sepulcher)


My prayer for each of you is that this season of Lent brings you to a deeper union with the Lord and a greater trust in his plan over your lives. May the Lord bless each you as you accompany Him as he carries our burdens and may you find the peace at the foot of his cross and hope and joy inside his empty tomb.

 

Thank you again for all of your prayers and the support.

 

Sincerely in the Risen Lord,

Father David Steffy, L.C.


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3 Comments


Wonderful. May God bless you 🙏. Adriana

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Querido Padre Steffi

la cuaresma es un tiempo en nuestras vidas qué es muy importante

Extraño sobremanera la iglesia del santo sepulcro donde espero volver estar ahí para sentir esas sensaciones que se sienten en ese espacio terrenal

Rezo por aquellos que sufren al no estar cerca de sus seres queridos en esa tierra donde el sufrimiento así como llegó se va ir ,esperando que sea pronto y de la mejor manera

que la paz vuelva a florecer en esa tierra lo más pronto posible

saludos a todos aquellos que están allá y espero pronto buenas noticias

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Dear Father Steffy,

Your words regarding Lent resonated deeply with me, albeit from a slightly different perspective..

I recently had a serious motorcycle accident and thank the Lord that I remain alive. However, several broken bones and concussion have limited my mobility and prompted ongoing reflection on how I (and perhaps all of us) take basic things for granted, such as getting dressed, making a meal, unscrewing a bottle top or reaching for a book. In such a situation, one's increased dependency on others is at the front of mind which made me compare what I actually did for others prior to my injury.


With a full recovery possible, again with thanks to the Lord and the kindness of others,…

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