The “Yes” that Changed the World

By Sister Natalie DeLuca, MHSH

Earlier this year I was invited on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.   I won’t forget the introductory words of Father Peter Vasko who was the group leader: “You did not decide to come on this journey,” he said.  “God Himself decided long ago that you would come on this journey.  It will change you; you will never be the same.  God will make Himself known to you, touch you in a special way, heal you where you need to be healed or call you to a special or renewed purpose. But you will never be the same.”

There were so many moments that touched me during this pilgrimage.  One was at the site of the Annunciation where the Incarnation became a reality—the place where Mary’s “Yes” changed the world and turned its values upside down.  Our group gathered there in silent awe, and I pondered this question:  “What has Mary meant to me throughout my life?”

Quietly, prayer filled the hallowed space at the site, and the strains of “Gentle Woman/Hail Mary” began softly then became our special American tribute and our heart-song.  We lingered, hesitating, not wanting to rush this moment, yet we knew that other groups of pilgrims were waiting and longing to enter this space.

What has Mary meant to you throughout your life?

NOTE:  More of Sister Natalie’s reflections on the Holy Land will be posted over the next several months.

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3 Responses to The “Yes” that Changed the World

  1. Dolores SSJ says:

    Natalie, I am so glad that you had this wonderful opportunity to go to the Holy Land. I appreciate your article.
    Mary has been very dear to me for many years. God bless! Dolores SSJ

  2. Sonia B. Canlas says:

    Sr. Natalie: Thank you for this inspirational reflection on our visit to the Basilica of the Annunciation. It was such a blessing to be one of those called to the Holy Land pilgrimage this year. Having you, Sr. Teresa Mary Dolan, MHSH and Fr. Mark Wajda as fellow pilgrims in this journey made for extra extra extra special blessings. It was deeply touching to have attended mass and received the Eucharist at this site. As if these were not enough, we were also presented each with a ‘special remembrance –a holy rosary’, from Fr. Peter Vasko, OFM – our dynamic, scholarly and good-humored group leader.

    Afterwards, our repeated chanting of: “Holy Sacred Spirit, breathe your breath in me; Holy Sacred Spirit, be alive in me” led by Sr. TM, in front of the cave of the Annunciation, proved to be a very moving experience.

    Looking forward to your next and future installments of reflections on the Holy Land. Peace and abundant blessings ……Sonia

  3. Martha VanZant says:

    Our visit as pilgrms with Sr. Natalie to the Annunciation Church in Israel touched me deeply. Fr. Peter had placed rosaries on the altar as Mass was being celebrated. As he gave them to each of us, he prayed for us. To me he said “Receive this Rosary, BE FREE, let go and let God.” How could he have known the bonds that held me, and yet he prayed. I will never forget this experience and I carry that Rosary with me always. Thank you…

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