|Posted on October 28, 2019 at 3:15 AM|
How has history impacted you?
In our travels my husband and I have visited many places in many parts of the world. Each place usually offers something unique, representative of the culture of the people who live there currently as well as who lived there in the past. You may see amazing vistas, archeological sites, and immense buildings erected for religious or governmental reasons. You can experience cultural delicacies and sometimes just peace and serenity.
In today’s world, most foreign places can be reached almost at any item by plane, train, cruise ship or via roadways. And tourism now plays a very important role in the lives of many countries’ inhabitants. For some countries tourism is now their number one industry – they want you to come and visit them and spend your money there!
Long ago, however, visiting other countries was not so easy. Some places were so far from others that the people were often isolated. Ships were necessary to travel from one land to another. Some places could be in a strategic location, such as at a good stopover point on the way from one port to another, and civilizations often battled to control these locations.
A Greek island we just visited was a small one called Patmos, south of Athens. Patmos is only 35 square kilometers in area, and the resident population currently numbers 3,000. However, that number swells to 15,000 during the peak summer tourist season. October is near the end of the tourist season, so the island was not overly crowded, and we had a lovely albeit short visit.
The main attraction for me on this little dot in the sea is a small grotto. This is the place that the Apostle John was sent in exile in the year 95 AD. The islanders, however, did not treat him as an exile. They removed his chains and allowed him to live freely on the island. St. John preached Christianity to the people and baptized many. John spent a lot of time in this cave praying, and it was here that he got his vision of Jesus which told him to write the Book of Revelation, also known as the Apocalypse.
We visited the cave as a group, and since other groups were behind us, we were not allowed to spend many minutes there. We also were not allowed to take photographs inside the grotto. But in that short period of time we were there, we learned a bit about what happened nearly 2,000 years ago right there. We listened to a short reading from Revelation Chapter 1, and I was immensely moved. To think I was there in the very spot where John received his vision took my breath away. And although I do not have a photograph, I will always remember the crack in the rock that split it into three pieces, and the feel of the cool, smooth center point of that crack on my fingers.
When I was young, I didn’t care much about historical events. It didn’t matter to me who fought who or when or why. I was merely concerned about what was happening at the current moment. I did not understand the value that historical events had on me today. It wasn’t until I actually started to visit places where historical events occurred that I began to really understand the importance of them.
I now have a much greater appreciation for history and events of the past. There is a lot of cause and effect between events of the past and what happens today. Of special importance to me are all those historical events surrounding the birth of Christianity and the lives of the faithful throughout the year. If St. John had not been on Patmos, would he have had his revelation? If he (or his scribe) had not written the word as Jesus commanded him, we would not have that important piece of our bible. And if we didn’t have Revelation, we would not understand much of the symbolism in our faith and we would not have as clear an idea of what Heaven will be like.
How have you been affected by historical events? Is there something that you enjoy today that might not have been created if it were not for something that happened in the past? Perhaps sometime during this week you can think about something that occurred long ago which may have affected your life. Or maybe you could just spend a little time learning about the history of a certain culture or ethnic group. You may learn something that will bless you in some way. And even if not, you will have broadened your knowledge about this wonderful world we live in.
Have a blessed Monday!
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