A Saxum Experience

Jun 19, 2024

I am Marián López, from Monterrey, Mexico. I recently experienced one of the greatest gifts of my life by being a trainee for one year in the Training Program of the Saxum Visitor Center, from August 2022 to August 2023.

This experience impacted me in many ways: specifically in regard to the Saxum Visitor Center, I was impressed to see so many people from all over the orb united by one common point: openness, learning, and discovering. Each person came from different contexts, religions, origins, and purposes.

As Christians, we may hear weekly, as far as we can remember, about places like Jerusalem, Nazareth… but without geographically locating them, they may travel through our imagination as places that seldom resemble what they really are (many times we can consider them almost imaginary sites). This was truly impactful for me from the first time I came to the Holy Land in 2014. Since that pilgrimage, I had the desire to return. And God willed it so.

Marián López guiando un grupo de visitantes

Marián López at Saxum Visitor Center

It is a great privilege to be able to come here, and I know that not everyone will have the opportunity to come. Being here and living the Saxum experience helped me grasp what it truly means to live the “hic et nunc”: the “here and now.” The history of Salvation occurs in a specific place and historical moment.

It means understanding that Jesus of Nazareth walked as we do in Jerusalem, felt the breeze as we do at the Sea of Galilee… And that His heart loved us so much, to the point of reaching the cross, and on the cross He continued loving. And that His heart continues to beat with love. It is literally a walk through the Scriptures.

Jesus is Jewish. Among many others, 2000 years ago, he spoke the words contained in the Gospel. Therefore, understanding the context in which He spoke—historical, political, geographical, philosophical, etc.—makes it easier to understand what He said and why He said it in a specific way.

Here I have experienced the blessing of the bread on a Shabbat and the host sharing and breaking the bread with all those present. All eating from the same bread. I have been invited to a provisional tent made by a family during the week of the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot, commemorating the forty years the people of Israel spent in the desert and the commandment to dwell in a provisional booth or “sukkah” (singular of “sukkot”). This gave new light to my understanding of the words “let us make three tents,” which the Gospels say Saint Peter spoke when on Mount Tabor.

Marián López guiding Saxum´s tour

Marián López guiding Saxum´s tour

Here I have witnessed what unites us as humanity: openness, tenderness, and love. Honestly, I dream of returning. There are also so many faces I would like to see again and which I was fortunate to meet: more than 10,000 people passed through the Saxum Visitor Center in that year.

Saxum and the Holy Land are experiences from which I will continue to derive gifts throughout my life.


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