Fr. Arturo Díaz, LC organizes the “Camino de Jésus,” or in English, the “Way of Jesus” every year, a pilgrimage through the Holy Land that passes through the principal sites where Jesus preached, beginning in Cana of Galilee and ending in Jerusalem. This year, the pilgrimage will begin Sunday, April 3rd and will end on Monday of Holy Week April 11th. María Linares from Spain has made this pilgrimage on several occasions and wanted to share her experience in order to make know this initiative. In her testimony she tells us that she was able to discover “a living God” in the Holy Land.
Although with time Maria has discovered that God is in the tabernacle, in adoration, living next door, “you can’t forget your first love.” For her, the Way of Jesus contains “all the ingredients to produce this profound encounter.” “It is a group of people, some of whom you know and others that you see for the first time, who come together to walk the same paths and places where Jesus walked, with boots and a backpack with everything you need. And accompanied by Fr. Arturo Diaz, LC,” she explained.
For Maria, the scene could not be better – the lake of Tiberias, the Sea of Galilee, the desert, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth. Although they are places that you have heard of your whole life and where you know that Jesus lived, when you live “a mass in the middle of the desert or on a boat in the midst of the lake, when you see the sunrise during a meditation on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, when you have adoration in Nazareth or when you confess your sins and your sins are forgiven by the mercy of God,” there is nothing left to do but “fall to your knees at his feet.”
She has also been able to see this same experience with other people who have accompanied her on this pilgrimage. “Through them I saw that God was became more and more alive, and I could see how God acted in each one of them,” she explained. Maria especially remembers one pilgrim who didn’t want to go on the trip and that, after two days on the pilgrimage, everyone witnessed the miracle that took place in his life and the radical change that occurred: “I was a witness with my own eyes what God was able to do. It’s something that I return to every time my faith becomes weak,” she said.
“I think that every Christian should have the opportunity to travel to the Holy Land. I would almost say they have the duty, if they can, to seek out this opportunity,” she pointed out in her testimony. On this Way, Maria has recognized that “you live the land, you walk on it and feel it with Jesus. Though it’s possible not to visit all the holy places, the ones that you do, you live intensely.
For Maria, the high point of this way was arriving to Jerusalem. “It is incredible to arrive singing, ‘Our feet are crossing your threshold, Jerusalem,’ and to have the chance to spend a few hours in the Holy Sepulchre alone with just a small group of people,” she said. It is also a privilege to stand quietly in the empty tomb, the place where they laid the body of Jesus. “It is amazing to be aware that it really is empty, because he truly rose and is alive!”
Writer, communicator, Canadian living in the US, and mother of 6, Kerrie Rivard blogs to connect the dots between her never-boring life and the things God is doing in her soul. Her missionary passions include accompanying others as they discover and live in the love of Christ, being a second mom to a Chinese international student who lives with them, regularly stocking the house with snacks for the random number of teenagers who habitually show up in her kitchen, and learning from the wisdom of homeless people she meets on family missions in downtown Atlanta. If she had all the time in the world she would spend more of it in adoration before the blessed sacrament, reading classic literature, practicing Spanish, and improving her surfing skills.