My Fair Maiden

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Each of these aspects are worth reflecting upon. First, we leave behind our regular routine. A pilgrimage is similar to a vacation in that it gives us a break from the ordinary, but different in that it is a quiet time of purification, a time to examine our lives and our priorities to see if they are attuned with what God wants of us, and a time to grow in union with Christ.

Simple meals, silence, the Liturgy of the Hours or other forms of prayer may also be helpful. Second, we pack only that which is essential. Just as a backpacker, carries only the bare minimum to reach the summit of a mountain, so too in setting out on a pilgrimage, we adopt the spiritual practice of detachment so as to reach new spiritual heights. Not that God wants us to shun the world. But too often our focus shifts from Our Creator to His creation and we fail to put Him first.

So just as Jesus spent 40 days in the desert and time away in prayer, so too in an effort to be more mindful of His presence, we spend time weeding out unnecessary things that distract us from God or carve out time for prayer and embrace our share in the cross of Christ. As a general penitential practice, almsgiving has always been embraced by the Church as well at this time as a sacrificial way to give more of ourselves to Christ among us in the poor.

Jesus' baptism was an ordination in which he was set aside and empowered for his mission of drawing people to God, inviting them into God's kingdom, demonstrating God's will, and ultimately laying down his life for humanity. For us, as Christ followers, baptism is also meant as a defining act.

Through our baptism we are claimed by God, anointed with the Spirit, and set aside for God's purposes. Our brokenness is recognized and God's grace is promised. And in our baptisms we are initiated into, and become a part of, God's covenant people. We are meant to remember our baptisms each day. Even if we don't remember the act of baptism itself, we remember that God has promised to forgive our sins, that we are called to ministry, that the Holy Spirit resides in us, and that we are God's children.

It is said that Martin Luther, when he struggled with bouts of depression, would look into the mirror when he was at his lowest and say to himself, "Martin Luther, you are baptized. Don't forget it. To help them do so, we prepared a simple prayer and printed it on a plastic card with a rubber band attached.

Way 40 Days of Reflection: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus

We invited our members to hang this prayer in their shower and to recite the prayer when they stepped into the water each morning. The card says,. Lord, as I enter the water to bathe, I remember my baptism. Wash me by your grace. Fill me with your Spirit.

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Renew my soul. I pray that I might live as your child today and honor you in all that I do. We give these shower tag prayers to our graduating high school seniors each year so that, when they go off to college, each morning as they take a shower they will remember their baptisms and, in so doing, remember who they are. They are children of God and a part of the family of Christ.

The Scripture tells us that Jesus, immediately following what must have been one of the most spiritually significant experiences of his life, was led or driven by the Spirit to the wilderness to be tempted while fasting for forty days and forty nights. Many of you will be reading this book during the season of Lent. The Christian season of Lent is a forty-day period, excluding Sundays, in which Christ followers join Jesus on his forty-day fast, spiritually walking in his footsteps. Lent is a season of repentance and spiritual self-examination.

It is a time to draw near to Christ, and a time when we recall our brokenness and mortality. This allows us to appreciate the blessings that come on Good Friday and Easter, when Christ dies for us and then is raised to life. As we retrace Jesus' footsteps during his forty days in the wilderness, we'll learn something about where he spent the forty days and why he went there, and we'll consider the nature and meaning of his wrestling match with the devil. Jesus left John at the Jordan River and hiked five miles due west across a flat desert dotted with scrub brush.

The desert likely looks the same today as it did when Jesus began his journey.


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In this area one might pass a camel or two, or a shepherd grazing his sheep, but otherwise there's not a lot to see between the Jordan River and the mountains of the wilderness. According to tradition Jesus would have passed on the north side of Jericho, the desert oasis town. He would also have come very close to the Wadi Qelt, where King Herod had built a fabulous winter palace, a palace that was at that time still in use by his family, the ruins of which you can visit to this day.

Just north of Jericho, the first of many Judean wilderness mountains arises. It is a rugged and barren mountain, known today as Mount Qurantal. Qurantal means forty; the mountain is so named because it is thought that Jesus spent his forty days of temptation here. It is often referred to simply as the Mount of Temptation. Some people who read that Jesus spent forty days and nights in the wilderness picture an overgrown tropical forest. But the wilderness of Judea is a desert, dry and arid, that looks something like the Badlands of South Dakota or one of many places in the desert southwest of the United States.

This is where Jesus would spend the next forty days and forty nights fasting, praying, and wrestling with the devil. Halfway up Mount Qurantal is a large cave, easily seen from the base of the mountain. The tradition going back at least to the s is that Jesus slept there during his forty days. Certainly this was the closest large cave in the wilderness to the place where Jesus was baptized. Today the Monastery of the Temptation clings to the side of the mountain and covers the cave. Pilgrims can walk up, as Jesus did, or ride a tram.

I took that walk with a group of pilgrims on a recent trip. Once inside the monastery, we went past rooms belonging to Orthodox monks until coming to the entrance of the large cave. Partway back into the cave, which is set up as a chapel, is an iron gate.

40 DAYS REFLECTION INTO LENT DAY 17 Jesus' Victimhood for salvation of Humanity

It is opened at various times during the day for service or for visitors to go deeper into the cave. At the back of this large cave is an opening and several stairs down.

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All but children have to duck their heads as they enter. Here is a smaller cave, which I judged to be about three feet by six feet with a height of about five feet. This smaller cave is said to be where Jesus slept during his forty days and forty nights in the wilderness. I was fortunate to have the space to myself for a few moments, and I tried to imagine Christ sleeping here.

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Scattered throughout the room were photos brought by visitors of loved ones they were praying for and scraps of paper bearing prayer requests. A fissure in the rock displays the damage caused by the earthquake that followed Christ's death. An altar in an archway between the 11th and 12th stations marks the 13th station where Jesus was taken down from the cross following this death. Returning to the ground level, the 14th station can be found in the rotunda of the basilica.

This spot is accepted as the genuine place of Christ's burial by most Eastern and Western churches. Tyler St. Search form Search this site. Search this site. Reflection Fourth Station: Jesus Meets his Afflicted Mother An image of Jesus meeting his mother with the cross appears on the doorway of a small chapel to mark this station.

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Reflection Seventh Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time Though not in Scripture, tradition holds that in the time of the crucifixion, a copy of Jesus' death sentence was posted on an old gate nearby. Reflection 10th Station: Jesus is Stripped of his Garments Coming into the main square of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, on our right we find the steps leading up to the small Franciscan chapel where Jesus was stripped of his clothes. Reflection 11th Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross Within the Latin chapel in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the 11th station houses modern mosaics that illustrate Jesus being nailed to the cross.

Reflection 13th Station: Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross An altar in an archway between the 11th and 12th stations marks the 13th station where Jesus was taken down from the cross following this death. Reflection 14th Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb Returning to the ground level, the 14th station can be found in the rotunda of the basilica. Reflection Return to Top.