Thursday, July 11, 2013 | By: Jake

This Heavenly Look

Back in March for my Spring Break, I went on a pilgrimage with Notre Dame's Campus Ministry. Below is the continued reflection of my journey:

First of all, I'm realizing that I could be posting a lot more pictures than I currently am for all of these posts, so I'll see how that goes with this post. Also, my lovely grandmother keeps nagging me about how I need to post more about Jerusalem, or just post more in I'll work on that as well. :)

After we left the Church of the Nativity, we went around to the backside, where we stumbled upon The Church of St. Catherine.

The courtyard outside of the entrance that connected with the Church of the Nativity gave the place somewhat of a Hogwarts-feel to it, which I thought was particularly cool.

Needless to say, I was so excited to finally walk in a church that didn't look all doom-and-gloom. Light from the huge windows along the upper part of the walls gave the church this heavenly look. However, I will say that I was fairly disappointed by the lack of a 24/7 choir singing Alleluia...that would have been a lot cooler. The sight of that huge organ at the back of the church made me almost want to start learning how to play the organ.

But just when I thought the church was as good as it could get, I noticed Brett, one of the chaperones, walk down a stairway on the side of the isle. Beneath the Church of St. Catherine is where Jerome, the famous theologian and a saint within the Catholic Church, translated the Bible into Latin.

Underneath the church, there were many different types of chapels, altars, and Jerome's original "office". Sadly, we could not go into the office as a visiting tour group was celebrating mass in the space. However, we did get to see Jerome's original tomb, shown in the last picture above, where he was originally buried, before his remains were moved to Rome.

I thought of what it would be like to have been Jerome, to have been composing so many different theological works, biblical translations, gospel commentaries....all within feet of where Christ, the One of which all of Jerome's works revolved around, was born.

One of my favorite parts of this "underground" house was a pathway in the back that led directly to the place of Christ's birth. Currently, it is blocked off by a wall for conducting traffic, as well as for security reasons (the pathway connects the Church of the Nativity to the Church of St. Catherine). However, small holes appear in the wall, where you can look through and see all of the pilgrims venerating the birth site.

Lastly, I snapped a photo of this "cross gate" blocking off a portion of a cave, which greatly reminded me of the cross at Notre Dame that I see as the perfect place of peace and silence, other than the Grotto. I originally didn't have a picture of it. However, being honored to take a close friend's engagement photos back in May, I now have a photo of it!

Seeing the connections between Notre Dame and Jerusalem, such as this one, continually remind me that although Christ walked in the flesh in the Holy Land, we are just as close to Christ where we are right now as I was while in Bethlehem. The same "spiritual reawakening" that I experienced in Bethlehem while in Jerome's cave can be experienced at my home in Chicago, my school in Indiana, or even down here in Nicaragua. 


Post a Comment