First thing on Tuesday morning, we headed to the Mount of the Beatitudes. While the grounds were among the smallest we visited, the impact the Church of the Beatitudes on the students was among the largest. Student Natalie Schiferl writes:
For those who do not necessarily know the significance of the Mount, it is where Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount, later named the Beatitudes. These are eight guides for living, handed down from Jesus to his followers.
As we left the bus, you could see a gorgeous landscape of green grass, tall trees, and bright flowers surrounding a soft path decorated with fish patterns and lined with the Beatitudes on plaques leading up to the Church and other gardens. If you looked down from the hill, the Sea of Galilee sparkled in the sunlight. It was a gorgeous day and felt so right to be there. As I walked along the path, I enjoyed the beauty and read and reflected on the Beatitudes.
The Church on the Mount of the Beatitudes is shaped like an octagon. On a window on each side of the Church is each of the Beatitudes, written in Latin. As I walked around the Church, I prayed for each group of people that Jesus blessed in his sermon. While we were there, a school choir who was visiting started singing and filled the chapel with love, light, and prayer. On the way out of the Church, I strolled along the gardens. At one point there was a small pond with a fountain. Next to it was the following passage: “Let anyone who thirst come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as scripture says rivers of living water flow from within him.” John 7:37. It was so simple, yet so surreal.
Spending time on the Mount of the Beatitudes was one of the highlights of my trip. It was beautiful and calming. This was our first stop on Tuesday, and it set the pace for a wonderful day. It allowed for a calming, reflective start—especially after a few very long, busy days.