What an incredible morning- I would say these have quite possibly been a few of the best hours of my life. I was hit by grace like a bombshell this morning. We left the pilgrim house at 4:30 AM to celebrate Mass in Jesus' empty tomb. That was so humbling, to receive the sacramental Risen Lord from an altar maybe two feet above the slab from which He rose. I got to touch the original tomb rocks, which are hidden under an icon of our Lady.
After Mass I prayed a holy hour back up on Calvary. How much Jesus loved us! I was thinking of the love I sometimes feel for my family and closest friends and how much infinitely more Jesus loves each and every one of us, yet I thought that so strong a love would surely kill a man! But is that not exactly what happened? Is that not exactly what our Lord did? Did He not love us to the end? He did not need to die to redeem us, but He so desired out of love- He loved us so much that He died to show it, that, with His consent, it killed Him. Who are we to merit such a Redeemer, such a Lord, God, and friend?
That homily one of our priests gave discussed how we see so many instances in the Gospels of people just longing to be with Jesus, and how we, too, long to be with Him, yet how very much He longs to be with us, so much so that He gave us Himself in the Eucharist! Last night we had our holy hour at Gethsemane and a friend of mine who's pretty good with his Greek noted that the word used for 'stay with me' by Jesus in addressing the disciples in the Garden is almost always used by the disciples addressing Jesus, but here He is asking them to do the same. God longs for us to stay with Him- as He told us from the cross, 'I thirst.'
That time praying before our Lord in the Garden was very good. I realized just how beautiful that Church really is. I spent my time praying with Isaiah 40-42 and the Suffering Servant stuff from Isaiah 50-55ish. How beautiful and how obviously Christological it all was. It is easy for us to ask it in hindsight, but how could they not have seen this in Christ?! How could they not have understood the prophecy? How good our Lord is to us poor followers of little faith.
Later today we go to the Wailing Wall and St. Anne's Church. I also want to go to Pilate's place, the praetorium, and the 'Ecce Homo' Arch, and try to get back to the Dormition Abbey and St. Peter in Gallicantu.