Travel the Holy Land free and easy Print
Grand Mom
Thursday, May. 21, 2009 -- 12:00 AM
Grand Mom by Audrey Mettel Fixmer

Haven't you always wanted to visit the Holy Land? To see for yourself where Jesus was born and died? And Cana where he turned water into wine? And the upper room where the apostles received the Holy Spirit in fiery tongues? And the Jordan where Jesus was baptized? And all of those places from Scripture?

Well, yes, you say, BUT: I am not wealthy enough to afford a trip like that, and, besides, I am too old and crippled up now to do all that walking.

Well, guess what! I am doing it now . . . every day!

Right from my living room, where I am comfortably ensconced in my leather chair, a cup of coffee in one hand and a rosary in the other, my dog curled up beside me.

At 6:30 every morning we watch the televised Holy Land Rosary on EWTN. It's the only way to make that trip when you are my age.

Walking with Jesus

I learned about this last winter when one of my students in my Writing Your Life Story class, Kathleen Blair from McFarland, wrote about starting her day the same way.

To be honest, my first reaction was thinking, "How weird! Who wants to turn on the TV to say the rosary?" but my curiosity got the best of me.

The next morning found me sitting in front of the TV with my coffee and rosary (and my Shi-tzu dog) watching in amazement as Father Pacwa leads a group of pilgrims from one historic spot to the next while praying the rosary.

Based in Scripture

He follows the traditional mystery for that day of the week, and he brings those mysteries alive by first doing a verse or two from Scripture relating to that mystery. It had never occurred to me that every one of the mysteries is based in Scripture.

For example, with the Sorrowful Mysteries you begin with the garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus experienced his agony. Father stands by a huge old tree and tells us that some of the trees there are more than 2,000 years old, and could have been the same trees where Jesus knelt in agony. Then he begins the Hail Marys. You walk along the streets with the pilgrims on the Way of the Cross to Calvary. And you are there!

The Glorious Mysteries

I love the Glorious Mysteries because we are at the tomb of the Resurrection, and then the Mount Sinai where the Ascension took place, and then the Upper Room where the apostles and Mary received the Holy Spirit, and then we are told that this room is right across the street from the Church of Dormition or the Falling-Asleep of Mary, constructed many years after her death on the spot where she lived and died and was assumed into heaven. (A part of me wonders if that is too coincidental or "convenient" for tourists.)

And for the fifth one, Mary is crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth, they run a series of pictures of sculptures or paintings depicting Mary as looking exactly like the country: African for Queen of Africa, Polish for Queen of Poland, etc.

'Proud of your son'

I think my favorite, however, are the Luminous Mysteries. Maybe it's because they are the new ones and I have been a little uncertain of them.

I love visiting Cana, where the sculptures not only tell the story of the wedding feast, but real water runs into the jugs and wine pours out! And watching it all are the images of a smiling Mary with her head on Jesus' shoulder. I want to say, "I know the feeling! Isn't it great to be proud of your son?"

If you can't afford the trip to the Holy Land, or if (like me) you don't have the physical stamina, I highly recommend you turn on EWTN at 6:30 a.m. and pray along with me and thousands of others from the comfort of your home. It's the best way to start the day and still leaves time to go to Mass at your local church.

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