Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done unto me according to thy word.
As those words echo in our hearts today, please enjoy some pictures from my pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
This is a picture of Mary's Well in Nazareth. This well was built over what is believed to be the site of the well from which Mary would have drawn water for her family in Nazareth. This is also the location where (in the Greek Orthodox tradition - not Roman Catholicism) Gabriel appeared to Mary.
This is the main entrance to the Catholic Church of the Annunciation. It is built over the actual home of Joachim and Anne.
This is the grotto inside the home where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary (upon which the church from the previous picture was built).
Our group was able to celebrate mass right in front of the site of the Annunciation. In many traditional stories, the presence of Mary is often associated with the otherwise unexplained scent of roses. One of my favorite moments on this trip was during this mass when I could smell the sweetness of roses. That sign of Mary's presence along with our proximity to the location of the holy event that occurred thousands of years ago is a memory that stills brings me joy and peace.
As we take a break from our Lenten fasting today, may the disposition of our hearts and our own surrender to the will of our Father be united to Mary and offered to God through her generous and effective intercession.
Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.