“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:1-2 NAB
Why is exploring the geography of Jesus’ life important for the child’s spiritual journey? Can pondering biblical geography help us understand that Jesus was a real man in time and place?
Julie Baltuska shares with us her pilgrimage to the Holy Land and how it moved her spiritually to see, touch, experience the humanity of Jesus by standing where He stood. Throughout her trip she took many pictures she was able to use to help children in the atrium see that the places we lift up are real places on earth they can visit. She later made these pictures into three books for anyone to use in their atria to aid the child’s understanding of Jesus in the land of Israel. These lovely picture books are available for purchase on the CGSUSA Parent Resources area of the CGSUSA eStore.
In the method of The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd we use geography to aid the understanding of Jesus’ incarnation and humanity. By seeing that the places mentioned in the Bible are real places we can better contemplate the mystery of God, who is outside of time and space, humbling himself to dwell with us in time and space.
Julie Baltuska is a catechist and formation leader for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa, Kansas. She received catechist formation in all three CGS levels and has served children in all three age groups. She particularly enjoys leading Level III catechist formation and is extremely proud that five additional members of her family are CGS catechists. (mother, brother, sister-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and granddaughter who is currently in Level 1 formation. Soon a sister will begin Level 1 catechist formation as well.) Julie has served on the board of directors for the SonFlower regional association of The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.
Julie holds a theology degree from Rockhurst University. She is married, the mother of seven children, and grandmother of nine. In her “retirement” from being a full-time mother of little ones, Julie has become fairly fluent in Spanish, is beginning to dabble in the arts (sculpture and pastels), and still dreams of learning to play the piano!