I thought, since it is New Years Eve, I would post a photo gallery of shots from some of the places I’ve been around the world. Sort of a “Best of” gallery from previous posts. I’ve been only blogging since August, so I have yet to post shots from everywhere I’ve been. And, I have yet to even start posting video from all of these places. That is what 2014 is for. Resolution 🙂
The world is a big, beautiful place, filled with interesting people, amazing sights, random coincidences and occasional tender mercies. I have been blessed to travel. I have been blessed to make friends on every continent. I hope to keep the friends I have made and make more as time goes by. However, my greatest blessings are found at home, with a warm fire, a good meal and my family, who love me.
When Christ was accused of rebellion by the Jewish Sanhedrin, he was sent to Pontius Pilate for judgement. Legend says that he ascended the 28 marble steps leading to Pilate’s Praetorium where Pilate questioned him prior to judgement. Three hundred years later, as Rome was converting to Christianity under the leadership of Emperor Constantine and his zealous mother St. Helena, Helena had the marble steps of the Praetorium extracted and sent to Rome. Tradition says that by ascending the steps on one’s knees, the Scala Sancta, Holy Stairs or Jerusalem Steps, will bring Catholic Pilgrims special blessings, especially on Fridays or during Lent. It was following an ascent of these steps that Martin Luther allegedly experienced a prompting from the Holy Spirit directing him to rely on Faith rather than works. This experience was a turning point in Luther’s life and launched the reformation.
Today, Christian pilgrims still ascend the Jerusalem Steps on their knees, seeking for spiritual insight, divine guidance or, in Catholic Terminology, plenary indulgence–remission of temporal punishment as a result of sin. Interestingly, there is a sign at the base of the Scala Sancta instructing pilgrims that climbing the Holy Steps on bended knees does not substitute for sincere repentance. To receive entrance to the true Holy City, one must ascend the golden steps with a broken heart and contrite spirit.