Notre Dame of Jerusalem
"To dwell in the house of the Lord..."
Updated: Dec 7, 2021
"To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendour and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe."
The journey of every pilgrimage leads to the places of God, those spaces that He has chosen to put his tent or dwelling place among us. Those places, make it possible to broaden the heart. They allow us to see with our own eyes the background of the history of salvation and lead to a gratitude so full of wonder, that the perspective of the revelation and redemption is widened. To be a pilgrim is to update the mystery of the Incarnation.
" The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
"Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle."
(Ex 40: 34-35).
The man of all times longs to see and find the face of the Lord. Our human reality is no stranger to such a feeling and to that desire already expressed in many Psalms. It has always wanted to see the face of the Lord. " One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life”; “I seek your face, Lord; I want to see you”; “My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”, Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
That is why we make a pilgrimage with the illusion of finding something, the illusion of finding Him. In the end, we discover that it He is in our hearts and He has been there all along. Like Saint Augustine said: “You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you.” So many pilgrims have experienced it as they approach the Holy Land, where so little is enough to find Him. There are not many things here to distract you. He fills everything, everything is a reference of Him. He fills this small space of Earth and this great heart that has set out to seek Him.
This year, the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center, celebrates 130 years of welcoming thousands and thousands of these pilgrims who seek to walk, see and breathe His dwelling place. Since 1888, the year in which the first group of French pilgrims arrived, to this day, Notre Dame has witnessed countless stories. Whether it is for sleeping, resting, eating, praying, attending mass, seeking confession, NDC provides pilgrims with the possibility of feeling cared for and welcomed by a center that wants to be the "house of the Holy Father in Jerusalem."
In the end, each pilgrim returns with a heart full of God, widened for an active commitment of apostolate and a certain truth: The Holy Spirit leads the Church to the holiness willed by God.
Happy Easter to everyone.
Christ is risen in our souls.
Such is our celebration on these days from the blessed Holy Land.