Today we rose early and had Mass at Calvary in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. After that we walked the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus supposedly took carrying the cross from the place of Pilate's judgment to the final stop on Calvary. I got to carry our cross briefly on the Way of the Cross, which was powerful. Then a little later we went to Peter in Gallicantu, where Peter betrayed Jesus and Jesus was held in a cistern awaiting trial in the grounds of what once was Caiaphas' House. We also visited the Church of the Dormition of Mary and the place of the Cenacle, supposedly. Those are the place where Mary is supposed to have been assumed and the upper room of the Last Supper, respectively. I think we can safely say that the Upper Room is no longer the same upper room that it was before, but it seems fairly undisputed that the current place was at least the same site of the original, from everything I can tell. The current Cenacle seemed sketchy to me because it is currently a small mosque, but I guess there is a long tradition on that spot, at least.
The place of the Dormition was beautiful. It managed to be more modern looking while still maintaining a relatively high level of beauty. I prayed the Glorious Mysteries of the rosary there with Our Lady and lit a candle or four for my mother. The place of Peter's Betrayal was very powerful. I spent some time praying in the dark cistern where Jesus probably would have been kept awaiting His trial- it was very busy down there but I hid under the set of stairs and so found some quiet time by myself with our Lord. I got trapped for a while by some charismatic Nigerians who were all speaking in tongues, but it just gave me some extra time to pray, as well. I had a very good day in prayer, so praise God. I guess I had enough material for a little meditation!
It was funny, though- a lot of guys really had dry pilgrimages, which is a good reminder of the fact that prayer isn't about feeling, it's about faith, love, and trust. The priest leading our pilgrimage even said at one point that if we weren't feeling what we wanted to be feeling at these places, that we ought to remember that Jesus' disciples probably weren't, either, and that we should take that with us to prayer. What a chaotic and disorienting week Holy Week was for them, moving from joy and expectation to total desolation and abandonment and betrayal. We shouldn't expect our prayer to feel moving all the time; we should stay with it whether it is or not, though. Prayer is a relationship, and it has its ups and downs like any, which help to purify the relationship and provide us with an opportunity to prove our dedication to one another. God's dedication is proven, but He desires opportunities to show it to us, anyway, and what a beautiful thought that is! It should move us to a greater desire in prayer. What a perfect school in God's gratuitous love Jerusalem is, where He came to die for us, proving His desire for each and every one of us!
P.S. Upon further reflection, I could write a great deal about each of these places, but I simply don't have the time now (nor did I do so in my original journal). If you want me to explain a place a little more in this post or others, please just feel free to ask!