I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Monday, July 7, 2014

Almost Done...(Saturday, 6/28)

Saturday, 6-28-14

Last night we had dinner in a Bedouin tent restaurant – it was air-conditioned, and we sat on small benches with cushions and coverings (much like they would have lounged in the times of Jesus). The view was stunning, though of what city, I cannot be sure. I sat with a lovely group of people – Kim, Tracy, Marisa, Kristen, Michael, Ryan, and Karen. It was very pleasant (food- and people-wise), and we had some thought-provoking and reflective conversation.

It still amazes me how much knowledge and insight everyone brings to the table. For example, Michael and Kristen took an online archaeological class that covered Masada and Qumran before coming on the trip. And Mary & Fr. Ken (and our guide, Youssef) are like walking encyclopedias, in the best sense! We are all so very blessed to be here…

And thus begins our final day…

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Post-excursion/Pre-dinner Reflection:

I have to keep this short because we need to be down to dinner in a few minutes. Today was our last day, and emotions are mixed (understandably so!)…

We began our day at the Mount of Olives and the Pater Noster (Our Father) chapel. It was neat to see so many different inscriptions of the Our Father in many different languages (much like the Magnificat and Benedictus) – Youssef said there were over 160 languages!

Then, we walked the Palm Sunday Road down to Dominus Flevit (“the Lord Wept”) – we could look out over Jerusalem (incredible view of the Dome of the Rock!), and below us were many many tombstones – the Jews believe that when the Messiah comes the final judgment will begin at the entry of the Beautiful/Eastern gate (which was just opposite us). It remains closed because it will be opened at the Final Judgment…

While up there, Youssef showed us the tree with the type of thorns that would have been used for Jesus’ crown on Good Friday. Karen touched some of them, noting that the dried out ones were very sturdy and hurt to touch. I can’t imagine them cramming that on Jesus’ head!

The Garden of Gethsemane was breathtaking and powerful. The olive trees (some of them) were over 2,000 years old – therefore, they would have been around at the time of Jesus. Youssef called them the “silent witnesses” – I thought that was meaningful image.

We had Mass at the Church of All Nations – it was designed and built by Antonio Barluzzi to appear from the inside as if it were always nighttime (to simulate Holy Thursday evening). For example, alabaster was used for the windows to block out some of the sunlight.

I was blessed to proclaim the Psalm – it was a little intimidating, though, because behind the divider of where we said Mass (around the stone on which Jesus asked God to let the cup pass from Him), other visitors and tourists had gathered to watch our Mass. (I just stayed focused on our group – that made it better/easier.)

Time to cut this short – off to our last dinner in Israel…

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