JUST outside the walled city of Old Jerusalem and on the eastern slope of a hillside of Mt. Zion is the Gallicantu. There the church of Saint Peter is located. And accordingly, this was the site of the triple denial of Peter about Jesus. There is a statue of it. Beside the statue is a road that leads down. And if you look beyond, your eyes will fall on the ancient city of Jerusalem. And that is where my story begins.
When our guide told us if there was one place that he was sure that Jesus walked in, it would be this place. And that gave me the shivers. It is one thing to read about the denial and it is an entirely different thing to experience it. And that would probably be the summary of my Holy Land pilgrimage. It would be useless to tell you about it because you really need to see and feel it. But let me share with you one experience and it happened in Gallicantu.
We went up there late afternoon. And it was a blessing because as the sun set I had a once in a lifetime experience. From out of nowhere the sounds of praise rolled over the ancient city of Jerusalem. They came from all over. You could hear the voices and the pealing of bells and it was so magical. Monks, Muslims, priests, nuns. Oh it was divine.
I was in one of the terraces when the call to prayer happened. And time just stood still. I was mesmerized and stunned at the beauty of it all. All praying, all praising to one God. And I was in tears and then at the exact moment my eyes fell on the road that Jesus walked in. And I just stared and stared. I mean, this was where Jesus walked. Nothing could be so sublime, so holy, so supernatural. And in cases like these I was quiet and I just took it all in. And it was true for all the rest.
The Sea of Galilee, The Nativity Church, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Via Dolorosa, The Transfiguration Church and a lot of other places. It was just a humbling experience and yet one place stood out, one place that was whispered to me at the beginning of the Pilgrimage, Gethsemane. That place was just different for me. I wish I could explain it but I really cannot. It is too sublime, too simple, too deep and just too... But it is something I shall never forget.
Our Benedictine monk told us your pilgrimage begins after the Holy Land. And he was right. It begins after.