By Lauren Revay
I remember as a child having a weekly coloring page depicting a different scene from Scripture. In a sense, the scene came alive well before I could read or understand what was contained within the rich words of the Gospels. Little did I know that many years later those scenes would not take on the array of primary colors found in my crayon box, but rather I would see the scenes of Scripture come alive on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2019. Throughout the pilgrimage, we went on a whirlwind tour through Nazareth, Capernaum, Cana, Magdala, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem, among others. We would visit remnants of the manger it is believed Christ was born in. We would go on to walk the road Christ did during Palm Sunday and reflect in the Garden of Gethsemane. So, too, we would pray the Stations of the Cross on the road to the Holy Sepulcher, where Christ was crucified, laid, and resurrected. Underlying the spiritual pilgrimage, we also had the opportunity to learn more about Israel by meeting locals and hearing their stories.
One takeaway from visiting the Holy Land was just how alive the Scriptures are. Our tour guide, an Israeli Jew, could trace his ancestors back to the early days of the Church—emphasizing the deep connection from the past to the present. So too, I remember the moment where I saw the ruins of the Temple mentioned throughout Scripture. Surrounding where the Temple used to stand lay hundreds of rocks strewn around the ground. In that moment, Christ’s words, “Amen, I say to you, there will not be left here a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down” were made manifest. Throughout the Holy Land, I could see myself a part of the story of Salvation and to reflect evermore deeply on various people who were a part of Christ’s time on Earth.
It led to an increased devotion towards Saints Joseph and Mary, Saint Elizabeth, Saint Anne, and Saint Mary Magdalene as I learned more about their stories and place within the narrative of Christ’s life on earth. We often hear of these saints and learn of their roles within Scripture, but being where they themselves lived helped forge a deeper connection to those who were a part of Christ’s life. I particularly grew closer to the Holy Family visiting the Basilica of the Annunciation and Saint Joachim and Saint Anne in praying at the Church of Saint Anne. Through learning so much of the history and meditating more deeply on these figures, I was led to a deeper understanding of the context and background that surround the Life of Christ. I was invited to contemplate more on the role of the family especially as it relates to the future vocation I feel drawn towards—being a mother and a spouse.
This emphasis on the family was only furthered by visiting a Jewish family and participating in a Shabbat dinner with them. In the Jewish faith, Shabbat marks their Sabbath beginning at sunset and is a time to rest and gather with family. The father of the family spoke blessings over the bread, wine, and his family—marking a sacred moment that they share each week. After dinner, the evening continues sharing in laughter as board games are brought out and all are invited to rest and relax. The intentionality in which they gathered and prayed and the joy that animated the evening easily left a deep impression upon myself that has remained over the last few years.
That evening constantly serves as a reminder of the importance of the family and rest as well as a challenge to carry those principles into my daily life. It is the charge to continue to discern how the Lord is inviting me to continue to bring Scripture to life and to allow it to be spoken over the meals I share. It also charges me to remember the truths which it contains as I saw in the ruins of the Temple. It is an invitation to reflect and consider more deeply the ways in which the Lord is inviting me to become childlike again and continue to find my own role in the story of Salvation that continues to live on today.
 Matthew 24:2