A Pilgrimage Through the Rosary
Upon returning from the Holy Land, many of our pilgrims exclaim how much more enriching it is to recite the Rosary after having visited the holy sites where almost all of the mysteries occurred. Because the mysteries of the Rosary are so tied to the Holy Land and the places associated with Jesus, our friars often speak about how reciting it is a way to make a Holy Land pilgrimage without actually going there.
Praying with olive wood or mother-of-pearl rosaries from the Holy Land, like the ones from the Holy Land Gift Shop, often help people feel even more connected to the “Land of the Bible.” Many of these Rosaries even come with elements from the Holy Land, like soil or water from the Jordan River, embedded in them.
Connecting the Mysteries and the Holy Land Sites
In order to help you better meditate and feel more connected to the Holy Land through praying the Rosary, some pilgrims wrote out their thoughts on each holy site connected to a mystery of the Rosary. Here’s more from Joy and Bill Exner’s article in the Madison Catholic Herald:
Our pilgrimage to the Holy Land last year was truly a life changing event. In fact, we continue to experience it, especially when hearing sacred Scripture read during Mass in the various liturgies and in reciting the Holy Rosary.
If we close our eyes, we see images of the places where Jesus taught, prayed, and walked. Many of these sites remain clearly visible in our minds, and yet we sometimes experience them through a mist, so we will have to go on pilgrimage again soon.
A highlight of the pilgrimage was saying all 20 mysteries of the Rosary at the actual site where each mystery occurred. It is these memories that we share with you now as we walk through some of the mysteries of the Rosary on a “spiritual pilgrimage.”
Mother-of-pearl rosary with elements from the Holy Land.
The Luminous Mysteries
The Baptism of Jesus
We were surprised at how narrow the River Jordan is and how steep its banks are. While the banks are covered with green foliage, the surrounding area is stark desert, the place where St. John the Baptist prayed and proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.”
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. And when Jesus had been baptized, a voice came from heaven saying: ‘You are My beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.’”
A pilgrim boat on the Sea of Galilee.
The Wedding at Cana
Traveling to Cana, we renewed our wedding vows in the Franciscan Church of the Wedding Feast. It was very significant for us since we just celebrated our 50th anniversary. And there in the narthex is an ancient stone jar, perhaps like the one used when Jesus worked His first public miracle.
The Proclamation of Kingdom
The Sea of Galilee is actually a lake, a very large lake, and as we walked along the shores, we visualized Jesus as he proclaimed the Gospel saying, “The kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
Olive wood Rosary from the Holy Land.
Nearby is Mount Tabor, rising some 1,500 feet above the plain below. The paths leading up are steep and winding, and it isn’t surprising that Jesus with Peter, James, and John traveled six days to reach the summit.
At the summit, one can view the plains below, the mountains and the sea in the distance, and all is quiet and peaceful. It is here that Jesus was transformed. With Him appeared Moses and Elijah, and from a bright cloud coming to rest over them, a voice said, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.”
We reflected that in today’s world with all its distractions and noise, it is next to impossible to listen to Jesus. We need that silence, peacefulness, and freedom from our smartphones, so that we too can listen to God’s voice. He calls to all of us — we only must listen.
The Institution of the Eucharist
We visited the Upper Room in Jerusalem and contemplated the institution of the Eucharist. We were struck by the great distance from Jerusalem across the Kidron Valley to Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives.
Original blog here.