5 minute podcast on the Mount of Beatitudes on the Northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, traditional site of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and where he spent solitary hours in prayer.
Jesus’ solitary prayer
One of the things that the gospels tell us about the years of Jesus’ public ministry is that the Lord frequently slipped away from the crowds and from his disciples as well in order to spend evenings alone in solitary prayer, ususally on a hilltop or mountain.
The headquarters and home base of Jesus’ Galileean ministry was the town of Capernaum located on the Northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The only high hill along the northern shore is only a mile and a half west of Capernaum and could be reached in a brisk 20 minute walk. Known as the Mount of Beatitudes, it rises 600 or so feet above the level of the lake, but since the lake is actually about 700 feet below sea level, the top of the hill is also oddly below sea level.
From the very earliest days of the church, this place is remembered as one of perhaps several high places where Jesus spend hours in solitary communion with his father, passing the night in prayer.
Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes
The hill takes its name from another gospel episode that tradition tells us transpired there. It is the location of the famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and so is named for the first lines of that sermon what is commonly known as the Beatitudes.
Today, the summit is a magnificent garden spot with a stunning chapel by Italian Architect Antonio Barluzzi, a retreat center, and many outdoor altars where groups can pray and celebrate the eucharist. Our pilgrimage groups always have an outdoor mass in one of these gardens, surrounded by bougainvillea and trees filled with birds whose songs accompany our singing.
In the video Bible study Jesus the Way, the Truth and the Life from Ascension Press, Jeff Cavins and I sit in one of these tranquil gardens and discuss both Jesus’ prayer, which he summarizes for us in the Our Father, and the challenging demands of the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes, and how we find the power actually to bring this teaching to life in our everyday lives.
Mount of Beatitudes Podcast
In this podcast, an excerpt from a radio interview with Anna Mitchell, I discuss all this and invite listeners to experience the beauty and power of the Mount of Beatitudes through both the video study, which includes stunning footage of the mountain, its chapel and gardens, and through participating in an actual Holy Land pilgrimage with me and the Crossroads Initiative..
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To learn more abnout pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Dr. D’Ambrosio, visit the PILGRIMAGE SECTION of the Crossroads Initiative Website.
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