As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was blessed with the opportunity to achieve one of my life's goals to go on Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The trip was more that I could ever have imagined. It has been, by the Grace of God, truly life changing for me.
As we commenorate on this Good Friday the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, I would like to briefly share how overwhelming the emotion of standing on summit of Calvary where God Omnipotent himself redeemed the world.
In the Church of the Holy Sepulcure, once must clime a number of steps (perhaps 15 or so) to get to the "summit" of Calvary. Once there, you are in queue, but standing in chapels for the final stations of the Via Curcis.
At top of the stairs, Jesus is Stripped of His Clothes... moving on, this haunting mosaic of Christ is Nailed to the Cross.
Staring at this mosaic, and imagining the pain as the nails were driven into Our Lord's wrists and feet... because of MY SINS... begin to have it impact as my tears began to well up in my eyes. (Even as I type this post, the emotion returns)
Moving on, one passes under an archway with a mosaic stating "Stabat Mater Dolorosa, juxta crucem" ( the Sorrowfully Mother stood next to the Cross) where the most moving statue of the Blessed Mother I have ever seen stood near the Cross of Calvary. As an Italian, I have seem many statues of the Madonna.. exquisitely and artfully done... but nothing prepared me for this:
I am sure the this photo does not convey to you dear readers the actual power of this statue, but I can tell you , it is the most "living" statue I had ever seen, and the quiet pain in the face of Our Blessed Mother finally drove me over the edge, and the my tears freely flowed.
By now my emotions were inflamed... the next few minutes were quite a blur... but it included kneeling under the altar set on Calvary, and placing my hand into the hole in which the Cross of Our Redeemer stood... knowing that His Most Precious Blood ran down this Cross to pool on the very ground I was touching... that Blood, shed for me and my sins!
The emotion of that moment, while trying with this words, is really indescribable... but it was so powerful a moment, that I immediately left Calvary and returned to the tomb, the empty tomb! to remind myself that Christ is now longer dead, he is alive and risen as he said!
Stabat Mater dolorosa, juxta crumen lacrimosa
29 minutes ago