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A Season Of Great Adventure

The Grotto of Betrayal, Gethsemane,  Photo by Ori~  Via, Wikimedia

The Grotto of Betrayal, Gethsemane, Photo by Ori~ Via, Wikimedia

“I’m going to make this Lent the best one of my life”, I have been saying to myself these days.  Maybe, it’s because of the memories of my 1995 pilgrimage to Jerusalem in January of that year.  Of all my trips to the Holy City that one turned out to be one of the most exciting and exhilarating, perhaps, because of my living at the First Station of the Way of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa (the Sorrowful Way.)

Frequently, during my nine day stay, I took a three block walk to the Garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of the Mount of Olives.  In the Church, I sat and thought of Jesus sweating Blood on these very grounds, as he saw all the sins of time to come.  Because of the purple glass windows, a darkness fills the interior of the Church, no matter how bright the sun might be outside.  I saw in this gloom, something of the despondency and despair that comes into my spirit when I sin.

  My prayers begged Christ to give me a horror of sin!  I need this Season of Lent, with its prayers and sacrifices, to strengthen my spirit.  Sin can easily slip into my life if I do not build up my defenses.  As I look back over my life, I realize that I was the happiest during times of Lent.  My extra prayers and little sacrifices, my desire to make myself a better person, brought a supreme peace into my Lenten days.

One morning, during my 1995 trip, I offered Mass in the Grotto of Betrayal, really, a cave cut out of solid rock, close to the main Church at Gethsemane.  Behind the altar, a large oil painting showed Christ just after Judas had betrayed Him with a kiss.  That morning, I said to myself, “How sad Jesus looks.  Will I too, betray Him in the days to come?  What a tragedy if I carelessly allow sin to enter my life.”  I need Lent to see the beauty of the Life of Christ and grow in love for Him.

My living quarters on the Via Dolorosa were just a 100 yards from the Chapel of the Scourging.  Sometimes, I sat up at night in bed and thought of the sacred place I was living in.  With whips, soldiers turned the back of the Savior into a bloody welter of flesh and exposed bones, all this, in atonement for the sins of the flesh.  St. Paul said, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Lent will help me be heroic in resisting evil which surrounds me.

Each day in Jerusalem, I looked over my second floor balcony to the Via Dolorosa below, only nine paces wide, and saw Christ starting His journey of three blocks to Calvary, holding on to His heavy Cross.  From this experience in Jerusalem, I will never be quite the same again.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

February 21, 2015 Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , , , | 3 Comments