Holy Land Pilgrimage

Night at the Holy Sepulcher

March 12, 2022

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend the entire night at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It was one of the most meaningful experiences of prayer I have ever had. Often, it is not easy to stay awake all night in prayer and vigilance. Additionally, it is a bit cold inside the church at this time of the year. At some point, I found myself trying to accumulate some warmth by covering myself with my jacket and putting my hands inside my sweater. I spent a considerable amount of time in the tomb of our Lord, the place where the Lord was buried and where He rose from the dead. It was a sacred moment for me to be there.

Inside the tomb of the Lord, I realized that the Lord endured excruciating pain, rejection, betrayal, and finally death on a cross for one primary reason. I also understood that because of that same reason, He brought me to that holy place and allowed me to experience all these years of seminary formation. The reason is that the Lord desires my happiness and your happiness. Why? Because he loves us unconditionally. This means that the Lord loves our whole being. He embraces us with our strengths and limitations and not simply parts of our hearts. Sometimes it is difficult for us to receive this kind of love. We may even become afraid of or amazed by the fact that Someone can love us no matter what we may have experienced in life.

As my preparation to become a deacon continues, I am deeply grateful for this reassurance of what the Lord desires for me and why He desires it. My prayer for you as you read this reflection is that you grow in an ever-greater receptivity of the reality that God wants your happiness because He loves you unconditionally.

Angel Tarango
Diocese of El Paso, Texas

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