|Some of the Ancient ruins at Caesarea Maritima|
Caesarea Maritima is has a beautiful beach on the Mediterranean Sea.
Our next stop was at the top of Mount Carmel to the Carmelite Monastery. Mount Carmel is the place where the prophet Elijah slaughtered 400 of the prophets of Baal, and challenged the Israelites to return to their faith in Yahweh.
The view of the valley from on top of this mountain is breathtaking, looking down unto the valley and the river.
Nazareth. Mary and Joseph’s home. The place where Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit. The place where Jesus grew up. In ancient times, Nazareth was not a good place to come from because it was so small and of no account. Only a couple of hundred people lived there at the time of Jesus.
The experts seem to have little doubt that the cave under the Church of the Annunciation was the place of the home of the Holy Family.
I sat and prayed in this spot for some time. Mary conceived of the Holy Spirit very near to this sacred place. After the birth in Bethlehem, they returned to raise Jesus in this very place (except for their journey into Egypt to protect Jesus’ life from Herod). Nazareth was their home.
Not far from here is the ancient well for the town of Nazareth. Mary would have lived much of her life going back and forth from her home to this well in the morning and afternoons. It is wonderful to imagine the Holy Family in the small town of Nazareth living a daily ordinary life in what was a very small town.
As I sat before the Holy Shrine of the Annunciation, I was remembering Mary’s total vulnerability and openness to God’s Divine Life. She models for the spiritual path to Incarnation - to becoming aware of God’s Spirit, God’s very Life, within us. God with us. With every human being. Everywhere.
|Church and Shrine of the Annunciation|