Sunday, April 20, 2014

The "Other" Prayer

As mentioned in a previous post, the Regina Coeli now takes the place of the Angelus when the church bells peel morning, noon, and night during the Easter Season. This is a wonderful reminder of our salvation during the next 50 days.

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V. Regina cæli, lætare, alleluia:
R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia,

V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia,
R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V. Gaude et lætare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

Oremus.  Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum lætificare dignatus es:
præsta, quæsumus, ut per eius Genitricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuæ capiamus gaudia vitæ.  Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
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V.
Queen of Heaven, rejoice. Alleluia.
R. For He Whom thou was made worthy to bear. Alleluia.

V. Has risen as He said. Alleluia.
R. Pray for us to God. Alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary. Alleluia.
R. For the Lord hath risen indeed. Alleluia.

Let us pray: O God, Who through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, hast vouchsafed to make glad the world, grant us we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may attain unto the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Originally posted 4/16/2006.
Re-posted 4/4/2010.
Re-posted 4/8/2012.
Re-posted 3/31/2013.

Easter Sequence

 
The Resurrection of Christ, by Peter Paul Rubens

Victimae Paschali laudes immolent Christiani.
Agnus redemit oves: Christus innocens Patri reconciliavit peccatores.
Mors et vita duello conflixere mirando: dux vitae mortuus, regnat vivus.
Dic nobis Maria, Quid vidisti in via?
Sepulcrum Christi viventis, et gloriam vidi resurgentis.
Angelicos testees, sudarium et vestes.
Surrexit Christus spes mea: praecedet suos in Galilaeam.
Scimus Christum surrexisse a mortuis vere: Tu nobis, victor Rex miserere.
Amen. Alleluia.

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Christians, to the Paschal victim offer sacrifice and praise.
The sheep are ransomed by the Lamb; and Christ, the undefiled, hath sinners to his Father reconciled.
Death with life contended: combat strangely ended!
Life's own Champion, slain, yet lives to reign.
Tell us, Mary: say what thou didst see upon the way.
The tomb the Living did enclose; I saw Christ's glory as He rose!
The angels there attesting; shroud with grave-clothes resting.
Christ, my hope, has risen: He goes before you into Galilee.
That Christ is truly risen from the dead we know.
Victorious King, Thy mercy show!
Amen. Alleluia.

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He Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed!

Happy Easter, Everybody!

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Originally posted Easter Sunday 2006.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2007.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2008.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2009.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2011.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2012.
Re-posted Easter Sunday 2013.

Some messages never change.

2014 Easter Card

The Resurrection of Christ by Paolo Veronese

May our Lord, Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, bless you abundantly.  May He Who overcame the grave bestow upon you true peace and love. May this Easter triumph bring you much Easter joy.

Happy Easter, everybody!

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

"...Ablaze With Light..."

Consider the words of the prophet Isaiah (8:23-9:3):
There is no gloom where there had been distress. Where once he degraded the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, now he has glorified the way of the Sea, the land across the Jordan, Galilee of the Nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at harvest, as they exult when dividing the spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, the rod of their taskmaster, you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
You should recognize it as the start of the First Reading from the Christmas Mass:  During the Night. But what does this have to do with Easter? Plenty.

The beginning of the Easter Vigil Mass can start no earlier than sunset. While twilight provides its own kind of "gloom", it is also not symbolic of the state of our souls, both as an individual and humanity, after being plunged into sin by Adam? Then comes the lighting of the Vigil fire, the Easter Candle, and those smaller candles given to the congregation, continuing to dispel the darkness. The triple proclamation of "Christ, our Light" and our grateful response of "Thanks be to God" begins the rejoicing at the harvest, the gathering of souls redeemed.  "This is the night" when the yoke of sin, the pole of guilt, the rod of death is smashed through the act of the Resurrection. Indeed, we do exult as Christ divides the spoils of salvation and allots us our share.

I make no claim of any theological accuracy, much less brilliance; I just think these thoughts are a possible insight. What was started at the Annunciation finds it zenith tonight.  Christmas and Easter unite. God's promise is fulfilled.

Rejoice as you hear the Exultet.  The Latin and English texts are provided.

Seven Last Words: Waiting And Trusting


Crucified Christ with Saint John the Evangelist, the Virgin, and Saints Dominic and Jerome
by Fra Angelico

This concludes a series of short meditations upon the statements made while Jesus hung on the Cross.

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"Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." (Luke 23:46, cf. Psalm 31:6)
Before the feast of Passover, Jesus realized that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had loved his own in this world, and would show his love for them to the end.

John 13:1
His final acts. One last attempt to reveal Himself to the world (again, a fragment of a Psalm which would be familiar to all, another one which portrayed His Passion). And then, He dies.

"What wondrous love is this, O my soul?" A love which takes a soul a lifetime to understand, much less appreciate, much less articulate, much less emulate. A love eternal.

And now comes the ultimate act of trust. In His humanity, He can no longer do anymore. In a sense, He has become a child again--placed in His Mother's arms, wrapped in cloth, laid to rest in a place not His own. He has now placed His trust in the Father, a trust that the plan of salvation would come to fruition.

His work on earth is done. His job--to re-create the world--is completed. The six days from Palm Sunday to Good Friday are over. "Since on the seventh day God was finished with the work he had been doing, he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken." (Genesis 2:2)

And so He rests.

And so we wait.

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Originally posted 4/15/2006 as "Seven Last Words: Trusting".
Re-posted 4/7/2007 as "Seven Last Words: Waiting."
Re-posted 3/22/2008.
Re-posted 4/11/2009.
Re-posted 4/3/2010.
Re-posted 4/23/2011.
Re-posted 4/7/2012.
Re-posted 3/30/2013.

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Belated But Merciful Remeinder


For the past few months I have been praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, albeit on a rather infrequent basis. It is an easy devotion to learn and maintain.  God knows how much I need it in my life right now, much less the world.

Good Friday traditionally marks the beginning of a novena using these prayers, each of the nine days focusing on a specific intention as mentioned in the writings of Sr. Maria Faustina. This year's novena takes on more significance as its promoter, Blessed Pope John Paul II will be canonized on Divine Mercy Sunday, along with Blessed Pope John XXIII.

Full details about this devotion may be found here.

Blessed are they who show mercy.  May mercy be shown to those who ask for it as well.


Seven Last Words: Completion


Christ Crucified Between Two Thieves by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn

This continues a series of short meditations upon the statements made while Jesus hung on the Cross.


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"It is consummated." (John 19:30)

Many of you have or will hear and/or read these or similar words today.

His Hour has finally come. With the coming of the darkness, it seems as if the first day of creation was being undone. Is not, in fact, what has been really happening since His entry into Jerusalem six days ago? Genesis, redux. All of creation is being re-newed. Made new again.

But not by destroying it, as Satan tried to do to Him. Redeeming it with His death. Reconciling it with the Trinitarian Life. Gathering it as He did His Cross. Healing it with the stripes of the scourging. Washing it clean with the blood and water which will soon flow from His side. Offering it all back to the Father.

This new work of creation is done. God has said again, with His Word, it is very good. Jesus has done all He could. Like the groom and bride, Heaven and earth are once again united in a new and everlasting covenant.

No Greater Love.

"It is consummated."

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Originally posted 4/14/2006.
Re-posted 4/6/2007.
Re-posted 3/21/2008.
Re-posted 4/10/2009.
Re-posted 4/2/2010.
Re-posted 4/22/2011.
Re-posted 4/6/2012.
Re-posted 3/29/2013.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Seven Last Words: Wanting

Cristo Crucificado by Zurbaran

This continues a series of short meditations upon the statements made while Jesus hung on the Cross.

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"I thirst." (John 19:28)

Was this an echo of another conversation Jesus had earlier in the Gospel of St. John, when He asks the Samaritan woman to give Him water from Jacob's well? No one overheard that exchange; remember, the disciples were returning as she was leaving. But, this short statement hearkens back to that incident.

The entire story (John 4:4-42) has hints of the Passion. Jesus and the Samaritan woman met at about noon, the same time when Jesus was fixed to the Cross. While she wondered if He was greater than Jacob, recall the crowd who wondered if He was greater than Elijah. He was still hoping people would recognize Him, just as He began to reveal Himself to her (John 4:10). Her coming to believe echoed the words of the Centurion. But the greatest clue was in His words to her as she spoke of where true worship of God would take place, seemingly as a foreshadowing of what was to come (John 4:19-24).

Jesus has had nothing to drink since the Last Supper. His scourging drained much blood. His carrying the Cross sapped what little strength He was conserving. He had to be severely dehydrated. Yes, He thirsted.

But not for water. I have read somewhere His thirst upon the Cross is for the salvation of all. But, is it also possible that His human nature was thirsting to see the living God?
O God, you are my God whom I seek; for your my flesh pines and my soul thirsts like the earth, parched, lifeless and without water.

Psalm 63:2
Jesus, in His life and in His death, has an unquenchable desire to draw all to Him. Soon, it would be sated.

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Originally posted 4/13/2006.
Re-posted 4/5/2007.
Re-posted 3/20/2008.
Re-posted 4/9/2009.
Re-posted 4/1/2010.
Re-posted 4/21/2011.
Re-posted 4/5/2012.
Re-posted 3/28/2013.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Seven Last Words: Utter Abandonement


Christ Crucified by Velazquez

This continues a series of short meditations upon the statements made while Jesus hung on the Cross.

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"Eli, Eli, lema sabacthani?" ("My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?") (Matthew 27:46b; cf. Psalm 22:2)

When the crowd heard this from Jesus, they responded by saying He was invoking Elijah. They must have forgotten Him saying there was Someone greater than Elijah amongst them. They also must have forgotten this was the opening line of a Psalm surely heard at times in their synagogues.

While all words in the Bible lead to the Word, some more than others point directly to Him. Psalm 22 is a case in point. Still a Teacher, still calling out to Israel to see Him as He truly is--their redeemer, Jesus leaves no stone unturned as His humanity begins to drain away. Indeed, as He said earlier in His ministry, this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.

Yet, how eerily these words echo in Heaven as well as on earth. A member of the Trinity, a union of Perfect Love, wondering out loud if He is no longer part of Them. Has God rejected Himself? The Begotten Son, forgotten? The Beloved, unloved? We can't fathom it.

Such is the Paschal Mystery. We can find the paradoxes. There are times when we seek answers to those contradictory questions. But, as Fr. John Powell, SJ, wrote in several of his books, we need to seek not peace of mind, but rather peace of heart. "Then God's own peace, which is beyond all understanding, will stand guard over your hearts and minds, in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)

Perhaps, Jesus thought of another passage to help His align His will to the Father's in this time of seemingly utter abandonment. It is a quote to quiet our souls and asks us to trust in the One Who is worthy of that trust. Maybe, just maybe, it helped Him in this moment.

"Be still, and know that I am God."

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Originally posted 4/12/2006.
Re-posted 4/5/2007.
Re-posted 3/19/2008.
Re-posted 4/8/2009.
Re-posted 3/31/2010.
Re-posted 4/20/2011.
Re-posted 4/4/2012.
Re-posted 3/27/2013.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Seven Last Words: Gifts Of Others

Crucified Christ by Francisco de Goya

This continues a series of short meditations upon the statements made while Jesus hung on the Cross.

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"Woman, behold thy son. . . .Behold thy mother." (John 19:26-27)

Although other accounts of the Passion mention other people near the Cross, it was the Blessed Virgin Mary and the disciple whom Jesus loved who had the courage to draw as close as possible in His agony. A love greater than their fear, they stood in the place of Adam and Eve, in a sense. In proxy of all humanity.

Jesus, in His humanity, would have never remembered the words of Simeon. Jesus, in His divinity, would have known them intensely. I don't think it is possible to determine who's heart was more broken at this moment; between the Son and the Mother, they both had to be aching infinitely.

Yet, in this moment of incredible anguish, love still abounds.

Jesus gave His Mother His adopted "children", those who worship in Spirit and Truth, those who Love as He demonstrated time after time, those who observe the Great Commandments, those who He has saved.

Jesus gave St. John, as the representative of His Church at this moment, the greatest example of what holiness is, the sign of what His grace can do in us, the model of what saying "yes" to Him means, the true meaning of what humanity is.

No small gifts.

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Originally posted 4/11/2006.
Re-posted 4/3/2007.
Re-posted 3/18/2008.
Re-posted 4/7/2009.
Re-posted 3/30/2010.
Re-posted 4/19/2011.
Re-posted 4/3/2012.
Re-posted 3/26/2013.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Seven Last Words: The Promise

Crucifixion by Matthias Gruenewald

This continues a series of short meditations upon the statements made while Jesus hung on the Cross.

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"Amen I say to thee: This day thou shalt be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)

From the website Catholic Community Forum:
One of the thieves crucified with Jesus, the other being traditionally known as Gestas; Dismas is the one who rebuked the other, and asked for Christ's blessing.

An old legend from an Arabic infancy gospel says that when the Holy Family were running to Egypt, they were set upon by a band of thieves including Dismas and Gestas. One of the highwaymen realized there was something different, something special about them, and ordered his fellow bandits to leave them alone; this thief was Dismas.
While St. Joseph taught Him the skills of carpentry, Jesus was actually a farmer. Recall the Parable of the Seeds, the need for harvesters, the call to die to self in order to be fruitful. While He was very familiar with wood (first the Manger and now the Cross), He came to reap and gather the most precious crop of all--souls.

Seeds of grace are what He planted. Some sprouted quickly (St. Paul). Some needed nurturing (the Samaritan woman at the well). Some matured with the help of others (St. Augustine, thanks to St. Monica). Some died on the vine (Judas). Now, one which had laid dormant for some 30 years blossoms.

The Church teaches it is never too late to repent. Salvation is close at hand when sincerely sought.

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Originally posted 4/10/2006.
Re-posted 4/2/2007.
Re-posted 3/17/2008.
Re-posted 4/6/2009.
Re-posted 3/29/2010.
Re-posted 4/18/2011.
Re-posted 4/2/2012.
Re-posted 3/25/2013.