My Jesus, My Home.

Home is Where the Heart Is. I am sure you have heard this saying many times, but have you ever taken the time to contemplate its Christian implications? As we approach December 25th, the celebration marking the birth of Jesus in a rustic home away from home, let us pause to reflect upon its deeper meaning.

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The Christmas Creche or Nativity Scene. The scene of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem has been pictured and used in church services since the first century. The nativity scene we think of today finds its origin in Greccio, Italy, where St. Francis of Assisi set up the first live Christmas Creche on Christmas Eve, 1223.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, a home is one’s place of residence. To me this defines a house not a home. In regards to a home, I sense a deeper, more intimate meaning, one involving personal belongingness and happiness. The physical location of our house may change but the emotional constancy of our home usually travels with us. This emotional connotation, in my opinion, best reflects the nativity scene pictured above. There, in the small town of Bethlehem, Mary, Joseph and their new born Son, Jesus, found themselves far from their town of origin or house in Nazareth.

I can easily relate to the Holy Family’s experience as I recall my own son’s birth on Jan 6, 2001. It was two weeks before Christmas and my husband, Tom, and I had traveled to Daytona Beach, FL in anticipation of our son’s upcoming birth and adoption. Away from home, but not alone, we welcomed the birth of our only son, Joseph, three weeks later, on the Feast Day of the Epiphany. He was and is our greatest gift from God, more precious than gold, frankincense and myrrh. That special day, our family of three found a temporary home away from home in a Holiday Inn Express located two miles from the Daytona Speedway. Despite the noise and multiple distractions, our hearts were filled with love and gratitude. We were right where we longed to be. We were home.

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The Grotto (or cave) of the birth of Our Lord, located in the lower level of the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

About 8 years back, I had the privilege of going to the Holy Land and visiting the birthplace of Jesus in Bethlehem. As I walked in His footsteps, and those of His mother, Mary, I actually touched the very spots where Love was born; born in a stable in Bethlehem and perfected on the Cross in Jerusalem. Included in my pilgrimage was a visit to the ancient remains or foundation of Mary’s home in Nazareth, the largest city in the Northern District of Israel. In Nazareth, I not only saw the remains of Mary’s house but also the Grotto of the Annunciation. This cave, connected to the backside of Mary’s house, was where Mary gave her “fiat” or yes to God, “I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say,” (Luke 1:38).

Mary’s loving obedience, trust and joy, in the face of such confusion and fear, provides us with a deeper understanding of the meaning of home and an intimate peek into her Immaculate Heart. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is a name used to refer to the interior life of Mary, her joys and sorrows, her virtues and hidden perfections, but most of all, her virginal love for God the Father, maternal love for her Son, Jesus, and compassionate love for each of us. Near the Grotto and remains of Mary’s family house, I once again found a home, for there, my heart was filled with the love of my spiritual mother, Mary. There, in Nazareth, I found my spiritual home safely tucked away within the chambers of her Immaculate Heart.

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The Grotto of the Annunciation, located within the lower level of The Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

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The foundations of Mary’s house in the ancient town of Nazareth.

This past November, I traveled to Italy with Teresa Tomeo, Kelly Wahlquist and the women of WINE (Women In the New Evangelization), as we walked in the footsteps of many Catholic female Saints, including St. Claire, St. Katherine of Sienna, and St. Teresa of Calcutta. Perhaps my favorite of all our destinations was the small town of Loreto, located in the mid-western Italian province of Ancona. In this small town, we found the walls of Mary’s Nazarene House, the home where Mary raised her Son, Jesus.

How, you may ask, did Mary’s house from Nazareth find it’s way to Loreto, Italy? According to Church tradition, it was in 1221, during the Crusade time period, that this ancient domicile was transported by angels to Loreto. I have no trouble believing this story, for just as the angels announced the coming of the small babe, Jesus, in Bethlehem, so too, could the angels have transported Christ’s original house to the home country of His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. A second rendition of this miraculous story tells of a royal family named, the Angels, who meticulously transported the Holy House of Mary to Loreto for safekeeping. The House of Mary is pictured below.

 

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Pictured above: The Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy House of Loreto, otherwise known as Mary’s House.

Our group spent over two hours in the Holy House that morning. It proved an unforgettable experience for me. Quietly, I leaned up against the very walls where Mary raised her Son, Jesus. I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. “This is my home,” I thought. “This is the place that I long to be, where I want to spend my time.”  Amidst the ancient walls of Jesus’ childhood home, I found spiritual warmth and safety. As I pondered these feelings in my heart, I suddenly found myself, once again, within the confines of Mary’s Immaculate Heart. There too, was my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for Mary always points me toward’s her Son, Jesus. My home is with Jesus, deep within the confines of His Most Sacred Heart. He goes where I go. Present too was His mother, Mary, and her Immaculate Heart, for the two Hearts are bound together in love, the love of the Holy Spirit.

 

Yes, home is where the heart is, however, the question remains: Where is your heart this Christmas Season? Is it with the Lord and His Mother Mary? This is an appropriate question to ponder this Christmas Season, for as St. Augustine of Hippo says, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you, O God.”

“Home and Jesus! The two should be inseparable. Husband and wife need the clasp of that infinite love to keep their hearts true to each other. Parents need the guidance of that infinite wisdom and the power of that infinite strength to keep them patient and long-suffering and gentle and wise in the training of immortal souls,” (Albert Elliot Kittredge).

“It is to Jesus Christ we owe the truth, the tenderness, the purity, the warm affection, the holy aspiration, which go together in that endearing word – home; for it is He who has made obedience so beautiful, and affection so holy; it is He who has brought the Father’s home so near, and has taught us that love is of God.” (James Hamilton)

May the love of the Lord fill your home and your heart this Christmas Season. Amen

Please click on the link below to learn more about my non-for-profit company, The Healing Eyes of Mercy, make a donation for the people of Haiti, Rwanda, or the Holy Land, shop, or read about my upcoming book, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Trinity of Love. Thank you and God Bless!

http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com

 

 

Divine Protection.

“Beside each believer stands……?……as a protector and shepherd leading him to life” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #336). Can you fill in the blank to complete this sentence? There are several valid responses, however, the correct answer may actually surprise you. Please join me on a virtual pilgrimage as we learn more about our promised protector and shepherd, which leads us to life.

Book Excerpt. Chapter Twenty-Four: The Protection of Mercy (The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love. By: Karen Sheehy).

Feeling helpless and unsure, the despondent mother cried out, “My God, my God, why have You abandoned me? Joseph, my son, is made in your merciful image. He is your child as well as mine. Please, merciful Father, tell me how to reach him.” Getting no immediate response, she vowed to persist in her asking and interceding on his behalf. Later that week, while praying in a rocking chair near his bedroom, she received a  response, as several unexpected visitors appeared before her. Seeing with the eyes of faith, for none were visible to the naked eye, she found herself within the very presence of an angel. Leading the group was a valiant warrior, and the leader of all angels, St. Michael the Archangel. He made no sound but simply called fourth four others. One by one, they each appeared before her.

From infancy to death, human life is surrounded by their (guardian angel’s) watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth, the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united to God, (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #336).

So, here we find our answer to the posed question. But what can we, as Catholics, actually learn about these angelic beings from Sacred Scripture and Tradition? Continue reading to find out.

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Angels are mentioned throughout the pages of Sacred Scripture. In fact, they appear from the beginning to the end, from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation.  As we read in the opening line of the Bible, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Most of us are very familiar with these famous opening lines of the Bible, but how many of us are aware of creation’s deeper revelation contained within Paul’s Book to the Colossians? Here, Paul writes that all things in heaven and on earth were created through and for Jesus Christ, who is the very “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:16). Paul’s words illuminate many things, in regards to angels, including their intended purpose (to serve and honor God) and their relationship with humanity (as creatures of God).

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Cave of the Grotto, in Nazareth, where the angel Gabriel appeared to the virgin Mary during the Annunciation.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), the angels serve as “messengers of his saving plan” and are “spirits sent forth to serve” for the sake of our salvation (CCC #331). How appropriate is it then that an angel, named Gabriel, announced the birth of our Savior to Mary in the small town of Nazareth (Luke 1:26-28)?

“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said,”Hail, Full of Grace. The Lord is with you.”

One angel announced the birth of the Messiah, however, many others would continue to minister and care for God incarnate, Jesus Christ, throughout His life on earth. Shortly after the Annunciation, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:19). Shortly after the birth of our Lord, in the small town of Bethlehem, an angel once again appeared to Joseph saying, “Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you otherwise. Herod is searching for the child to destroy him” (Matthew 2:13). Here, we find two divine functions carried out by God’s angels, that of divine messenger and protector of humankind (Genesis 28:12 and Psalm 91:11). As a matter of fact, the word angel itself means “messenger”. Therefore, in this title, we learn something about their mission. But what of their nature?

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Grotto under the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem where the angel warned Joseph about the plans of Herod, prior to their flight into Egypt.

According to St. Augustine, angels are spirits who are “servants and messengers of God”. They do not have physical bodies like humans. As purely spiritual creatures, they are personal, immortal, and possess intelligence, power and free will (Hebrews 1:14, Luke 20:36 and CCC #330). Throughout various Bible passages, we find mention of nine different orders of angels: seraphim (Isaiah 6:2), cherubim (Ezekiel 10:22), thrones, dominions, principalities and powers (Colossians 1:16), virtues (1Peter 3:22), archangels (Jude 1:9) and angels (Matthew 17:27). Of these, only three are named in Sacred Scripture, the archangel Michael (Daniel 12:1), Raphael (Tobit 12:15) and Gabriel (Luke 1:19).

Although angels are pure spirit, they can take on any form to accomplish the will of God. Most often, throughout the pages of Sacred Scripture, we find them taking on the appearance of men (Genesis 19:1-2). At other times, like at the site of the Lord’s resurrection, angels have appeared like a “flash of lighting” as “dazzling as the snow” (Matthew 28:3). So, you may ask, do angels actually have wings, as we so often see them depicted? In Isaiah 6:2, we read about angels with six wings and in the Book of Exodus, we find God instructing Moses to make a pure gold covering for the Ark, topped by the outstretched wings of two angels (Exodus 25:20).

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Catholic Church at Shepherd’s Field where an angel announced the birth of the Lord, and a multitude of the heavenly host sang praise and honor to God.

When Jesus Christ came to earth, a new era began in the ministry of angels. Although we find their presence throughout the Old Testament, it was only through Christ’s birth, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven that we find the “whole life of the Church benefiting from the mysterious and powerful help of angels” (Hebrew 1:14 and CCC #334). This is why the People of God, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, join with the angels and saints in offering praise, honor and glory to their King, Jesus Christ. For this is the ultimate mission of each of God’s creatures, including the angels, saints and each of us.

Each of the four living creatures had six wings and eyes all over, inside and out. Day and night, without pause, they sing: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, He who was, and who is, and who is to come!” (Revelation 4:8).

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Hebrews 12:22-24: “You have drawn near to Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to myriads of angels in festal gatherings, to the assembly of the first born enrolled in heaven, to God the judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which speaks more eloquently than that of Abel.  

Moreover, the Church encourages all the faithful to pray to St. Michael, the archangel, for protection against the wickedness of Satan (the fallen angel), and to their own personal guardian angel for comfort, protection, guidance and care.

Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day, be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. St. Michael, the archangel, pray for us. Amen

(Revelation 12:7-9) Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. Although the dragon and his angels fought back, they were overpowered and lost their place in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent known as the devil or Satan, the seducer of the whole world, was driven out; he was hurled down to earth and his minions with him.

Closing 3:00 p.m. prayer for Divine Mercy.

Eternal Father, I offer You, the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and the sins of the entire world.

For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the entire world. (Repeat two more times).

Jesus, I trust in You.

Please click on the link below to learn more about my non-for-profit company, The Healing Eyes of Mercy, make a donation for the people of Haiti, Rwanda, or the Holy Land, shop, or read about my upcoming book, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love. Thank you and God Bless!

http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com

The Right to Choose or a Gift of Life?

The Gift of Life. Whose life is it any way and what part does God play in this often debated question? Please join me on a virtual pilgrimage to the ancient City of David in Jerusalem, and the altar commemorating the Church’s first martyrs in Bethlehem, as we search for answers to this important question. No passport necessary.

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The Chapel of the Innocents, located in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, is dedicated to the young children killed by Herod during the time of Christ’s birth, (Matthew 2:16-18).

Book Excerpt. Chapter Twenty: The Gift of Life (The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love. By: Karen Sheehy)

Watching the birth of her new born son and holding him for the first time, the new adoptive mother was filled with an extreme sense of hope and gratitude. Together, with her husband, Tom, they gazed upon their son, Joseph, meaning “one who adds”, with awe and wonder. Filled with emotion, a tear of joy rolled down the new mother’s cheek and onto her son’s forehead. Startled, he looked up with the biggest brown eyes she had ever seen. Staring at him, looking so tiny and vulnerable, she instantaneously fell in love and quietly whispered, “Hello, Joseph, my son, I have been waiting for you for a long time! It’s me, your mother, nice to meet you!” Among their immense joy, however, was immense pain; the pain of incredible loss felt by the birth family. One family felt the joy of new life while the other, the sorrow of loss. Joy and sorrow, two opposite emotions but both redemptive and life giving. The pain and loss of the one led to life and joy for the other, so is the mystery of Christ.

But whose life is it any way and what part does God play in this often debated question?

God's Saving Hand reaching for the faithful

God’s Saving Hand!

“O Lord of hosts, if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid, if you remember me and do not forget me, if you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to the Lord for as long as he lives,” (1Samuel 1:11). These words were spoken by Hannah, the barren wife of Elkanah, who was mentioned in the Old Testament Book of 1Samuel. As we read in 1Samuel 1:20, God heard Hannah’s prayers, for she did conceive and bear a son, whom she named Samuel. Here, we find our first clue to the stated question: that this child is in fact a gift from God to a mother longing for a son.

As we continue reading, however, we find that, once this child was weaned, Hannah returned to the Temple and said, “I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request. Now I, in turn, give him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord,” (1Samuel 1:27). Here, we find our second clue to the stated question: that this child belongs to God, who created him for a specific purpose. This purpose is revealed in several subsequent chapters, for there, we find Samuel in the Temple of the Lord, responding to God’s instructions with faithful obedience, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening,” (1Samuel 3:9). Accordingly, “Samuel grew up, and the Lord was with him,” thus all of Israel came to know that, “Samuel was an accredited prophet of the Lord,” (1Samuel 3:19-20). In fact, Samuel was the very prophet who anointed a young shepherd boy, named David, King of the Israel, (1Samuel 16:13).

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Entrance to the ancient City of David, located just south of the Old City Wall and Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

King David, however, is a mere foreshadowing of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, for David was not only the “anointed” king of God’s people, but also a shepherd caring for his flock, a warrior uniting His people, and a Messiah leading them to Jerusalem in the Promised Land. Here, we find our third and final clue to the stated question: for each soul, made in the very likeness of God, is created for the new, heavenly Jerusalem or Kingdom of God. For just as David built his house or castle in the earthly Jerusalem, so too does Christ, build His Church, a place where all members of His Body call home. Protected by the true King of Kings, and Savior of the world, each life is, in fact, a gift to Jesus and through Him, the Heavenly Father. Each life is precious, and it’s fate and ultimate return home, therefore, must be determined by God, who alone knows when it’s earthly purpose and mission are fulfilled.

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The City of David is an Israeli settlement and archaeological site which is speculated to contain the 9th century B.C. remains of King David’s Palace. This intensively excavated site holds many significant biblical sites, including the Pool of Siloam where Jesus performed a miraculous healing.

 

In closing, let us pray for the protection of life, from conception to natural death, and the wisdom to see each miraculous gift as:

  • the conception of a body and soul made in God’s likeness,
  • a soul created for the Kingdom of God,
  • a member awaiting initiation into Christ’s Body, the Church, and finally
  • a gift to loving parents, who, like good stewards, dedicate their child to God, in fulfillment of His divine pleasure. Amen.

 

Closing 3:00 p.m. prayer for Divine Mercy.

Eternal Father, I offer You, the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and the sins of the entire world.

For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the entire world. (Repeat two more times).

Jesus, I trust in You.

Please click on the link below to learn more about my non-for-profit company, The Healing Eyes of Mercy, make a donation for the people of Haiti, Rwanda, or the Holy Land, shop, or read about my upcoming book, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love. Thank you and God Bless!

http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com

Merry Christmas!

A virtual pilgrimage to Bethlehem and digital Christmas greeting for you and your family from The Healing Eyes of Mercy (a non-for-profit organization). President: Karen Sheehy at spiritualsafariguide.com

 

I hope you enjoy the following pictures from my trip to the Holy Land which spotlights the various events and holy sites surrounding the birth of Jesus over 2,000 years ago.

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The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem built over the cave or grotto of Jesus’ birth. Actual grotto pictured below.

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Grotto of the birth of Our Lord in Bethlehem.

 

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Life-sized creche located outside of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

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Cave or grotto, located on Shepherd’s Field in Beith Sahour, Israel, where the shepherds first heard the angels announcing the birth of Jesus Christ. Actual interior pictured below.

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Interior of the grotto on Shepherd’s Field.

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Catholic Franciscan Chapel at Shepherd’s Field.

May the peace and joy of the Christ fill your hearts and homes this Christmas Season! Amen.

To view our digital greeting card, please click on the link below and enjoy.

http://www.jacquielawson.com/ecard/pickup?code=6537555167051&source=jl999&utm_medium=internal_email&utm_source=pickup&utm_campaign=receivercontent

Friday, 3:00 p.m. prayer for Divine Mercy.

Eternal Father, I offer You, the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and the sins of the entire world.

For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the entire world. (Repeat two more times).

Jesus, I trust in You.

 

To learn more about my non-for-profit company, The Healing Eyes of Mercy, to make a donation for the people of Haiti, Rwanda, or the Holy Land, to shop for books and sacred devotionals, or to learn more about my own upcoming book, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love, please click on the link below. Thank you!

http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com

The Sky Proclaims the Glory of God.

Chapter Sixteen: A Rainbow of Mercy.

As we journey through the Advent season, how can we keep our sights on the coming of Christ amidst the secular world’s celebration of  “Hallowthankschristmas”? To search for answers, please join me on a virtual pilgrimage to Bethlehem, located in the “West Bank” of Palestine, as we explore the Church of the Nativity and the divine beacon of light leading the way. No passport necessary.

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Book Excerpt. Chapter Sixteen: A Rainbow of Mercy. (The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love. By: Karen Sheehy)

Genesis 10:14-15. When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the covenant I have made between me and you and all living beings so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings.

A deafening silence filled the air as the proposed mystic announced the arrival of “Our Loving Mother” Mary. Thousands fell to their knees in adoration while others pointed to the sky in amazement. Cameras clicked all around as several onlookers gazed upon the sun. Curious as to what they saw, the young woman asked to see one of the polaroid pictures. There she saw a clear image of Mary, clothed in the beautiful rays of the sun. Unsure what to think, but certain that something unusual was occurring, she silenced herself for prayer as the mystic began describing her vision and divine message from Mary, “I love you all and desire your happiness. Oh how I wish to take each of you by the hand, to walk you towards my Son, Jesus Christ. Pray my rosary, dear children and meditate on it well, for these mysteries will aid you in your journey towards His light.” Struck by her words, the young woman wandered towards a nearby statue of Mary for silent prayer. Looking up, she found a beautiful circular rainbow or crown of sorts, positioned about twenty feet above the statue. Overcome with joy, she suddenly felt an intense but warm electricity passing from her heart to her right hand. Tears streaming down her face, she looked down at her rosary only to find it transformed, for the metal rings joining Christ’s Body to the prayer beads had changed from silver to gold.

 

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Pictured above: a circumscribed halo (top) and circumhorizontal arc (below). These two related optical phenomena, called halos, are similar in appearance to a rainbow but occur when light refracts through hexagonal ice crystals as opposed to liquid water droplets. 

There have been many documented incidents and wondrous signs which have occurred at various proposed and approved Marian apparition sites, including Fatima in Portugal, Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Conyers in Georgia. In fact, on October 13, 1917, between 30,000 to 100,00 people gathered near Fatima in Portugal and witnessed the great miracle or extraordinary spinning of the sun. According to newspaper reports, this miraculous event lasted approximately ten minutes. At this same moment, the three young visionaries, including Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, reported seeing visions of Jesus, Mary and Saint Joseph blessing those in attendance.

Virtual Pilgrimage Location. The Church of the Nativity, located in the Palestinian West Bank city of Bethlehem.

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The Church of the Nativity was built over the site of Jesus’ birth in 326 A.D. by the Emperor Constantine and his mother, St. Helena. In 530 A.D., Emperor Justinian destroyed the original church and rebuilt the larger structure, pictured above, which remains to this day.    

 

The Old Testament identifies Bethlehem as the city of David, where he was anointed and crowned as king of Israel. The New Testament identifies this same city as the birthplace of Jesus, the promised Messiah. This came as no surprise to Herod, the reigning King of the Jews, for he knew about the Messianic prophecy contained within the Book of Micah (5:1), “But you, Bethlehem, too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from old, from ancient times.” King Herod, however, was not the only one who knew of the eminent birth of the promised Messiah, for at that time, astrologers from the east were also searching for the new born King of the Jews. Following the brilliant Star of Bethlehem, the three wisemen eventually found their way to Jesus’ home town of Bethlehem, where they worshiped him and brought him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, (Matthew 2:1-11). Many Christian theologians claim that this star fulfilled the “Star Prophesy”, mentioned by Moses in the Book of Numbers (24:17), “A star shall advance from Jacob, and a staff shall rise from Israel that shall smite the brows of Moab…….till…….Jacob shall overcome his foes.”

Directly beneath the altar of the Church of the Nativity, one finds the Grotto, or rectangular cavern of Jesus’ birth. Pictured left is the marble staircase leading down to the silver star marking the very spot where Christ is believed to have been born. Above the star is a Latin inscription which reads, “Here of the Virgin Mary Jesus Christ was born.” This Latin inscription is our beacon of light during the craziness and distraction of this time, for, there, in a cave in Bethlehem, we find simplicity, and Mary, the Mother of God leading us towards her Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as we celebrate the season of Advent and joyously anticipate the coming of Christ, I suggest that we too, keep our lives simple, turn towards our Spiritual Mother, Mary, and constantly search for the signs and wonders directing us towards the light of God’s love.

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In closing, consider Cardinal Ratzinger’s remarks (Pope Benedict), “No apparition is indispensable to faith. But this does not stop God from speaking at times through simple people and through extraordinary signs which point to the shortcomings of our prevailing rationalistic culture.” What is important about these types of occurrences is not necessarily the “scientific validity” of these events but the “spiritual fruits” they produce in the lives of Christian people. During this Advent season, I pray that we:

  1. keep our eyes focused on Christ,
  2. strive to discover and appreciate the many signs and wonders which fill up the pages of Sacred Scripture and lives of our Catholic saints,
  3. focus on the spiritual meaning of our customs and symbols, including the Advent wreath, Christmas lights, trees, presents, manger scenes, etc.
  4. realize that all things should point us towards the light of God’s love and the coming of His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Closing 3:00 p.m. prayer for Divine Mercy.

Eternal Father, I offer You, the Body and Blood, soul and divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and the sins of the entire world.

For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the entire world. (Repeat two more times).

Jesus, I trust in You.

Please click on the link below to learn more about my non-for-profit company, The Healing Eyes of Mercy, make a donation for the people of Haiti, Rwanda, or the Holy Land, shop, or read about my upcoming book, The Healing Eyes of Mercy. A Journey Towards the Light of God’s Love. Thank you and God Bless!

http://www.spiritualsafariguide.com