|'And became man'...the Church of the Nativity.|
“If I should get tired and inclined to become short tempered Lord, May I remember – I am a pilgrim not a tourist!”
|Lisa Garland and Margaret Orton from St Patrick's Parish Blacktown at the site of the birth of John the Baptist.|
Chris, our tour coordinator gave us a prayer to say titled “A pilgrim’s prayer” and one of the lines in it was the one quoted above. These 6:30am wake up calls, for breakfast at 7am, to leave at 8am are getting tiring.
My roomy and I have learnt to sleep past the wake up call to 7am, and then have breakfast at 7:30am instead. Often I need to remind myself (or be reminded by others when I complain aloud) that I am a pilgrim, not a tourist indeed!
The air is so much cooler and fresher today in Jerusalem, so refreshing and beautiful.
Our day was meant to begin at the Israel museum where we were going to view the Second Temple scale model of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea Scrolls, but, when we got there early morning, of course it was closed.
Turning around, we headed to Ein Karem where Elizabeth and Zacariah lived and the birthplace of St John the Baptist. Inside the church, we could actually go down and view the spot where St John the Baptist was born, on the site is written "Hic Precursor Domini Natus Est" - "Here was born the precursor of the Lord".
Moving on, we arrived at a site with a large arch reading "Gloria In Excelsius Deo": we were at the Shepherd’s Field to commemorate the appearance of the angels to the shepherds on that first Christmas night. We were also blessed enough to celebrate Mass in the cave where it is thought the shepherds kept their animals.
After saying a desperate prayer in my head, and finding a back way to Bethlehem that required no checkpoint whatsoever, we came to the Church of the Nativity built over the stable where Jesus was born; the Grotto of the Holy Manger. I was so excited at first, to be visiting the spot where our Lord Jesus Christ was born.
Stepping through the doors, the line was beyond long and barely moving, beyond the first door there was another room we had to go through, and beyond that room, one more before we reached the spot where our Lord was born.
There were so many people there and because of this, no one had time to really pray here as we were all getting pushed to move along. This kind of put a dampner on the whole feeling of what I was there to see and wasn’t as excited.
Then I thought, at least I was here, at least I’ve seen the place. Better to have seen it for one second than not at all!