Partially refreshed after that tough travel day, and after getting Susan and Sam out of bed, we had coffee and piece of coffee cake, loaded the car and headed out. Our first stop the Stella Maris Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. A lot of you know the special affection we have for Our Lady and the Brown Scapular so this was a perfect starting point for this Holy Land
As we were to find out, parking close to these shrines is next to impossible. Stella Maris was our first encounter with several turns up and down the mountain. On the last pass we all said a hail Mary and just as we turned the corner there was an end spot across the street from the front door. It wasn’t even a real spot, but the car fit, and someone was in it before…..and I’m not shy!
The Monastery is very large and is the Carmelite headquarters for the whole order throughout the world. The chapel is beautiful and perched high above the altar sits Our Lady holding Her Son and the Scapular in hand. Below this altar is the cave of Elijah where he was said to have lived. We spent very some special time in prayer with our Lady for all of you and your intentions. It was very moving to be here at last.
We spent a few shekels in the gift store and headed down the mountain on this beautiful day. Our next stop was Nazareth and we were all anticipating how we would feel being were the Annunciation took place and where Jesus spent most of his life with His Mother and St. Joseph. Nothing could prepare
us for this experience and the emotion of it all.
Our GPS took us up and down the hills in Jerusalem and we were close to the Basilica so as we turned on a new street the on the end of a row of cars was an empty spot, unbelievable in this area. We stopped for coffee and the shop owner was great. He told us we had a 5 minute walk to the Shrine and were very lucky to be able to park. He taught us some Arabic since many of the people in the area are of Arab descent. We voted Sam to be the interpreter so we enjoyed our coffee as he wrote down all the words the owner taught him.
Everywhere he goes now he whips out his sheet because he can’t remember if he is speaking Arabic or Yiddish. He’s too funny…… I’ll stick with English.
Upon entering the Basilica we heard beautiful chanting as benediction was ending in the grotto where the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. We fell to our knees and the tears flowed as we contemplated where we were. The word Sacred took on a whole new meaning. Mesmerized and light headed we went down to the grotto after the priests left and the few tourist in the Basilica took their photos’s and left. Again we knelt and prayed and took a few tourist photos. A young college student we had met walking to the shrine was there with his friends and came down to the grotto with us. He asked me to explain everything to him, because he wasn’t sure what he was seeing. His friends were upstairs being tourists. They all went to school in Miami.
I told him the story of the Annunciation as I had read it out of the Mystical City of God. He was truly moved and I asked if he was Catholic. He was and was from Brazil, as well as his friends who were also catholic, but didn’t practice. I told him he was now the teacher of the group we all hugged gave him our e-mail and he re-joined his friends.
After an very emotional stay we went to explore the upper church, stopping at Mary’s well on the way. Inside was the group of students, this time together they were studying the depictions and statues on the walls and Enrika, our friend, was talking and trying to explain what he could.
After looking at the ruins of the home of Mary we went on to the Church of St. Joseph were his home and workshop were said to be. It was a spiritual place filled with love. The photo’s help, but being here is incredible.
As we headed back to the car the school was letting out and there was no way we were going to get out easily so we went to a local rest. across the street from our car for lunch. We were starved and ordered 3 large portion meals with side plates to split. Susan ordered chicken livers, and everyone but me passed on sharing. Sam was trying to communicate in Arabic to the staff and we were all laughing. At lunch like kids we began to make up our own words for things and we laughed so hard we and the staff were all in tears.
Lunch was great and we headed out for Mt. Precipie where after the announcing of the Kingdom they tried to throw him off the cliff but he passed thru there midst.
It was getting late so we headed to Cana and the site of the first public miracle of Jesus. This town was tough and the GPS took us thru some very steep and narrow streets to get there, and there was no parking. We asked for help and a kind soul directed us to the parking area just around the corner which we had passed a couple of times. LOL Cana was special and we had to light a candle and pray for a special friend who proposed to his girl friend there in Jan. while everyone else in the group had their wedding vows renewed. A renewal of vows with a group from Africa was taking place so wewatched for awhile and left for Tibeiras and our Beautiful Mountain Home with a view.
The home was pretty good with 5 bedrooms, baths kitchen, laundry and great patio and balcony with views of the sea of Galilee. Sam and I went to the supermarket for supplies and had everyone in the store laughing as we tried to figure out what everything was since it was all labeled in Yiddish. Mission accomplished, we went back to the house and spent a great evening reminiscing our day.
May God bless all of you
Love Susan, Tom and the Kids
The Angelus is traditionally recited morning (6:00 a.m.), noon and evening (6:00 p.m.) throughout the year except during Paschal time, when the Regina Coeli is recited instead.
The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
And she conceived of the Holy Ghost.
Hail Mary, etc.
Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it done unto me according to Thy word.
Hail Mary, etc.
And the Word was made Flesh.
And dwelt among us.
Hail Mary, etc.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let Us Pray
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord.
May God Bless Each and Every One Of You!
Tom & Susan Melillo
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418 (USA)