By Sister Natalie DeLuca, MHSH
Earlier this year I was invited on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I won’t forget the introductory words of Father Peter Vasko who was the group leader: “You did not decide to come on this journey,” he said. “God Himself decided long ago that you would come on this journey. It will change you; you will never be the same. God will make Himself known to you, touch you in a special way, heal you where you need to be healed or call you to a special or renewed purpose. But you will never be the same.”
There were so many moments that touched me during this pilgrimage. One was at the site of the Annunciation where the Incarnation became a reality—the place where Mary’s “Yes” changed the world and turned its values upside down. Our group gathered there in silent awe, and I pondered this question: “What has Mary meant to me throughout my life?”
Quietly, prayer filled the hallowed space at the site, and the strains of “Gentle Woman/Hail Mary” began softly then became our special American tribute and our heart-song. We lingered, hesitating, not wanting to rush this moment, yet we knew that other groups of pilgrims were waiting and longing to enter this space.
What has Mary meant to you throughout your life?
NOTE: More of Sister Natalie’s reflections on the Holy Land will be posted over the next several months.