Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Holy Land: Dormition Abbey, King David's Tomb, The Upper Room (Day 5: Afternoon, 2 June 2011)

Day Five: Part Two

After an unbelievably full and memorable morning, we enjoyed a relaxing lunch at a kibbutz before venturing out for more exploring in Jerusalem. Our first stop of the afternoon was the Dormition Abbey, a Benedictine Abbey on Mount Zion. This Abbey commemorates Mary's assumption into Heaven after her life on earth. Some believe that this is the location of Mary's assumption into Heaven. Dan and I like to believe that it is in Ephesus where her home was located after Christ's death. There is no doctrine that declares the exact location of Mary's Assumption. Either way, it was a beautiful church that honored Mary as Christ's sinless mother and the day she joined her Son in Heaven.

Dormition Abbey

Inside of Dormition Abbey

Next, we walked to King David's Tomb. This Jewish holy site on Mount Zion has been traditionally viewed as the burial place of King David, the second king of Israel. The site was very small, simple, and humble. The holy site was divided into two sections, one for men and one for women, similar to our experience at the Wailing Wall.

Our last stop on Mount Zion was the Cenacle, also known as the Upper Room. I got goosebumps as my brain tried to process the immensity of this location. This was the location of the Last Supper. Christ Himself washed His Apostles feet, shared His last meal before His Passion and Death, and celebrated the first Mass on this very spot. This spot is also believed to have been a regular meeting place for the Apostles. This is where they gathered in fear after Christ's death. This is one of the spots the Risen Lord appeared to His Apostles bringing words of peace. This is where they elected Saint Matthias as the Apostle to replace Judas. This is where the Holy Spirit came down in tongues of blazing fire and gusting winds on the Apostles at Pentecost. Incredible. My mind raced as I tried to choose which event to meditate on first. There was just too much to wrap my brain around. I ended up just resting my mind in the peace of this place, just soaking in the grace from the few precious moments we had there. I can spend the rest of eternity traveling back to that spot in my mind and meditating on its immesity.

The Upper Room

After such a grace filled day, we were eager to return to the hotel to praise God at Mass. Father celebrated Mass in a small conference room in the hotel. We were especially thrilled to offer up our prayers at Mass because it was the Feast of Ascension Thursday! It was incredible celebrating Acension Thursday with a view of Jerusalem out the window. Our hotel in Jerusalem was called the Olive Tree Hotel and the conference room we had Mass in that evening was the "Mount of Olives Room"-- so we were honored to celebrate the Ascension (which took place on the Mount of Olives) in such an appropriately named place! God is good!

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