Saturday, January 8, 2011

Holy Land Pilgrimage 2010: Day #5a Prayer in the Dark and More on Yesterday

Day #5
December 23, 2010 8 AM

So the time in the Synagogue Church yesterday was very moving. I had never given it too much thought before, but it must have been buddies and friends of the family who tried to kill Jesus after His reading of Isaiah, since Nazareth was such a tiny village. He would have known all these people trying to kill Him. What feelings of betrayal and heartache that must have inspired in our Lord!

There was a beautiful stained-glass window in the Church of Joseph's workshop- it depicted him on his deathbed with Jesus blessing him and Mary holding him. It was very beautiful. May we all die such a good Christian death.

So I got up early this morning, around 4:15 AM, to go pray like Jesus in the spot where He supposedly went. It was a nightmare getting out there...

(funny story about that: I went to leave our compound and the gate was locked. Fair enough, so I went to the guard booth because I saw the light of a TV on in there. I was about to knock but I noticed that the guard, a big, burly Israeli guy, was in his tightey-whities brushing his teeth at the sink. I really didn't want to disturb that, so I started wandering along our perimeter looking for another way out.

I didn't have to look long before I found a door which, thankfully, was unlocked. I snuck through it and promptly stumbled into a large pile of brush in the dark. I fought my way out and wandered around, realizing that I was still in a fenced in compound, so I looked for a way back to the road. I wandered through olive trees for a while before finding a road. I had gotten so turned around that I thought it was the road I was trying to find. 'Miracle of miracles,' I thought, 'I have made it back out of the fence to the road somehow.' ... False... I kept following it and thought, 'gee, this doesn't look familiar,' until I realized after a few minutes that I was now on the property of the monastery next door.

I thought, 'great, we can get to the road from here, too, and I haven't been walking in entirely the wrong direction.' So I left the gate in the direction of the road, which was unlocked. Great. I forgot that the main gate of the facility would probably be closed. 4:30 AM logic at its finest. I stood there dumbfounded at the main gate, with their camera faced squarely at me, so somewhere there is footage in Israel of some stupid white boy trying to break OUT of a monastery. I figured, 'if I just follow this big gate along the main road, I'm sure I'll find a break or a spot where I can get over it.' Well, following it required me to wade through 20 or 30 yards of underbrush and thorn bushes, which was unpleasant.

Finally, I made it to the fence along the road road. No break in the fence in sight. I decided, 'screw it, I've made it this far, I'm jumping the darn thing.' Thankfully, there was no barbed wire, in spite of Israel's deep and profound love for the stuff. I threw my bag over the fence and shimmied up between the main brick gate and the iron fence that connected with it. Just as I was throwing myself over the fence, a semi passed by and caught me in their headlights. I was sure that they were going to call the monastery and someone was going to arrest me, but thankfully nothing happened. I made it over, checked my clothes and thanked the Lord that nothing was torn, and continued on my way.

I got to the cave, prayed for about 30 minutes there, and decided to pray a rosary. I reached in my pocket and realized that I had taken both room keys, and the way the house was set up you could not activate the electricity in your room without your room key, so my roommate was stuck in the dark when he woke up. I heaved a deep sigh, bemoaning the fact that I was not going to be able to watch the sun rise from atop the hill, and slowly made my way back to our complex. This time, at least, the front gate was unlocked, so I didn't have to go through quite the some adventure getting back in.)

... and I had a goodly amount of desolation in my prayer, but I resolved to dedicate and consecrate that time to God whatever may be, and so I did. I wanted to watch the sunrise from there... (I already wrote about that part of the story above)... I still got to watch the sunrise on the Sea of Galilee from our pilgrim house, which wasn't all bad. ... ... ...

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