By Magali M.
October 5th, 2023 - Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
As a pilgrim coming to the Holy Land, I had certain expectations and presumptions on what my experience would be like. I quickly found myself living one of the most valuable lessons found in the Bible; keep your sight on Jesus. I found many distractions, whether fellow pilgrims, exhaustion, hope-sickness…you name it, but keeping in mind my motivation: a deeper connection and understanding of Christ allowed me to refocus and keep my eyes on the Lord. Through this openhearted-ness, I was blessed with many wonderful gifts throughout my journey.
One of the most beautiful ways God poured His graces upon me was being able to attend mass at The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Upon entering the Church and seeing the Stone of Anointing, I completely broke down, a feeling that overcame me instantaneously. I was overwhelmed by the immense Love that God has for us; having endured the most unjust and brutal Passion for our sins. This was the most profound feeling I had on my journey. After spending a moment with those feelings and trying to compose myself, I made my way up to the second floor where I touched the rock on which Jesus was crucified and offered my prayers and personal intentions. Knowing that mass was in about half an hour I found a seat on a bench where I had a front row seat to the most beautiful celebration, the mass of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. The mass was celebrated in Latin, full of incense and Gregorian chants, it was beautiful. I felt that I was witnessing something Holy, not like any other mass I had experienced before. I will forever cherish this memory and wonderful gift.
My Holy Land experience was truly a journey. I hope to be able to come back one day with my entire family and find even deeper connections to Christ. Until then, I am finding refuge during Adoration where I find peace and a true sense of being home.