Holy Land: destination heartCaterina Milo | August 30, 2017
During the past few years, I have had the pleasure of travelling quite a lot. I have experienced part of America and many different European countries. But this summer has been unique. I had the opportunity to visit the Holy Land.
When I decided to join this pilgrimage, I had no hesitations at all. I wanted to explore the places where Christianity started. I wanted to enrich my faith with an historical perspective of the Land where Jesus was born, raised, and crucified.
However, many people tried to discourage me. Others believed this pilgrimage was too risky with the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine and the recent events in Jerusalem. All this told them it was foolish to spend ten days there.
But sometimes, you need to listen to your heart if you want to truly go a step beyond in your life.
This is why, despite the opposition, I packed my luggage and on the nineteenth of August I headed to Bethlehem withother young pilgrims.
During our ten-day pilgrimage we visited places like Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Canaan, Mount Tabor, lake Jourdan, lake of Tiberias, Capharnaum.
The uniqueness of these places was very historical. Many archeological studies can now confirm that what the Scriptures documented is historically accurate. This first element gave me a historical foundation to my faith. In this sense, I recalled that our faith speaks daily to our reason and it is strictly interconnected to it.
Beyond a mere historical level, these places speak to you. Every city opens a small “drawer” into your heart. And it is in that moment that the pilgrimage into yourself truly begins.
Bethlehem, the city where Jesus was born, opens the first drawer, which says: you should be RE-BORN in Christ. To be re-born in Christ requires first to cross the small entrance of the Nativity Church. You should dress with humility because the Kingdom of God is reserved to those “little children” of God (Matthew, 11:25).
Jerusalem is the city where Jesus actively began His mission and paid the ultimate price of dying on a cross. It opens another drawer, which says, you should be His fellow, always ready to sacrifice your own life for His purpose. At “Via dolorosa,” Gethsemane, the Mount of Olives, we are reminded of the inevitable challenges of the fellowship.
But our faith truly begins at the empty tomb. The way of the cross is an inevitable path, but the Light has won the darkness.
Nazareth, the city of Jesus’ daily life, opens the most crucial drawer: you should bring your faith into your daily life. To do so, you should recall in your mind and in your heart experiences like this pilgrimage, which are your “Mount Tabor”, your Light, giving you strength and faith in your daily path. You should then embrace your life by always discerning His path for you and always being ready to trust in the God of the impossible.
Just as at Canaan, we are indeed called to bring the “water,” to take care of the daily things, and to trust that His grace will change them into the best wine, which gives fullness to our lives.
Now when my daily Nazareth begins, his voice still echoes into my heart: go and be not afraid of what your future will hold, because I am the God of the daily presence in your life.
This is a pilgrimage that went well beyond my expectations and that has opened my heart and mind to new beautiful insights.