Lent Season from Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
Updated: Mar 5, 2022
By Fr.David Steffy,L.C., Chargé of the Holy See
March 4th, 2022 - Lent Newsletter I Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
Photo by David Delgado, Artwork: The Last Supper by Gerardo Zenteno
Greetings from Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center as the Church begins our journey of Lent.
The Holy Land provides a unique experience of the Gospel narrative of the Paschal Mystery that we enter more deeply during this Lenten season. Every morning when I begin my day in the chapel of Notre Dame, I am reminded of the gift of Christ’s sacrificial love as I raise my gaze to his Presence in the tabernacle and am then drawn to the life-size image of Him on the cross in the sanctuary. His open arms nailed to the cross become a personal invitation to unite my deepest aspirations and sufferings to those of His.
His open arms nailed to the cross become a personal invitation to unite my deepest aspirations and sufferings to those of His.
The mystery of Christ’s sacrificial love is at the center of our ability to bear the pains and sorrows of this life. How can I ease the suffering of others? How can I banish the evil that seems so prevalent in our lives? How can I help fix a broken world? These questions invade my mind and heart while praying in the chapel. Then as on cue, someone praying there will approach the crucifix and lovingly bow down and kiss the feet of the realistic image of our suffering Lord. I often wonder what is going on in the heart and life of that person. I imagine they are expressing an outward sign of love to Him as a response to an interior experience of his love. We all have our stories and histories, and when we contemplate the love of Christ poured out on us through the redemptive sacrifice of his life, we can come to recognize that His story cannot be separated from ours.
It is such a blessing to call home the actual place Jesus lived, loved, and offered himself for our salvation. My afternoon walk ultimately leads me to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, less than a kilometer from Notre Dame. There I can take a moment to unite myself to his sacrifice and offer prayers of intercession for all who have asked me to pray for them. Feel free to email me with any special intentions you would like me to remember during these visits. One of my prayers is that all those who feel drawn to visit the Holy Land will be granted that grace.
When we contemplate the love of Christ poured out on us through the redemptive sacrifice of his life, we can come to recognize that His story cannot be separated from ours.
Since February, we have seen increased Pilgrim groups visiting the Holy Land. Little by little, the former restrictions and regulations have been loosening, and we are at the point where pilgrim groups are now queuing up for a visit that has been put on hold. The local Christians count on pilgrims to provide the jobs that help sustain their families. They have had a challenging two years and are thankful to the Lord for the renewed opportunities that pilgrimages offer them.
For those of you who can come in the next few months, you will have an opportunity to experience the holy sites without all the hustle and bustle that has become the norm before the pandemic. If you desire a Holy Land experience with fewer exterior distractions due to crowds and lines, now is the time to come.
I can’t wait to welcome you home. Count on my prayers, and please remember all of us who live, minister, and serve in the Holy Land in your prayers.
May our Lady of Sorrows be a constant companion for each of you on your Lenten journey,
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. David Steffy, L.C.