Sunday, February 23, 2020

A Pilgrim's Journey: Duc in Altum

Excited and tired after long hours in the plane and immigration ... we left Tel-Aviv Airport and proceeded to Magdala where Jesus had His public ministry reflected inside the chapels of DUC IN ALTUM.

Duc in Altum
Our visit to this church poses a very significant invitation to lower down our 'nets' and 'put out into the deep...' While it has a variety of meaning, the Lord's personal invitation to me was to unload my burden, cast my doubts and let go of my knowing... to unlearn things I knew of Him so He could meet me where I am now in my personal journey

He could have allowed a theologian to explore the depths of the Lord's mystery in this sacred place, He instead chose a simple servant to guide us throughout our pilgrimage. 
The Boat Chapel
I had several boat rides in the past, but this sight of the Boat Chapel mesmerized me. We were finally, finally in the Lord's place! We celebrated our first Mass here and the Lord's Resurrection Cross was an assurance of His victory over death. He is here present with us, in us and for each one of us. This very first act of 'breaking of the bread' also allowed me to open my heart to my co-pilgrims.
Cupola of The Women's Atrium
Everything in this place held meaning...from the baptismal font's mosaics to the pillars and finally that cupola. Jesus held women with esteem from His mother to those who accompanied Him in His ministry in prayer and service. 

I felt the Lord held my hand and carried me right there in His heart from the very beginning. My history is encircled in this pilgrimage and I gave Him my broken self ... this self-disdain and hatred I felt being a woman... so He can carry me through these ten days. Put yourself out into the unknown... and let your broken self be carried by His story. I asked for a miracle.

The atrium connects to four mosaic chapels which depicted the 'miracles' Jesus performed.

It shows here that the Lord is present in the lives 'of' the ordinary... 'in' the ordinary circumstances of our lives. But He does not leave us with a personal healing... he leads us to a social one because every miracle carries with it a mission.
Daughter of Jairus Chapel

Fishers of Men Chapel

Mary Magdalene Chapel
Walking on the Water Chapel

No more doubts... grant me great faith.

The Encounter Chapel
And finally, The Encounter Chapel, which for me was strategically placed in the basement of Duc in Altum... the very depth of the invitation lies in this encounter. Of the many miracles the Lord performed, this was the closest to my heart, the encounter with Christ and the healing of the hemorrhaging woman. 

A woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse... after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. 
~Mk 5, 25-27~

Most of the time, the affliction (the voices inside my head...the screwtapes) never ceases even after several years inside the walls and having psyche sessions. I remember St. Augustine when He wrote, "The Lord was in me but I was outside myself." Coming to the Holy Land, I sought Him that I may accept who I am so I could finally go inside me...

He led me there...
met me there...
to 'touch' Him..


  1. “Every miracle carries with it a mission.” I like what you said. It is given so we can share it. “The gift we received is not ours to keep.” I can’t wait to know as you reveal to us the miracle and the mission you receive at end of your pilgrimage.

    1. Same here Daniel... and the miracle is still unfolding after the pilgrimage. Thank you for journeying with me.

  2. This church with its various chapels is one I've never seen before until you shared it here, Melissa. How breathtaking and moving it is! I can feel the presence of Jesus through your words and photographs. He is with us always.

    1. Thank you Martha. There are many details I have missed out too. Everything in this place is symbolic. Thanks God you have felt His presence there too. Yes, He is always with us.