Octave Of Easter

“The Lord, though he was God, became man. He suffered for the sake of those who suffer, he was bound for those in bonds, condemned for the guilty, buried for those who lie in the grave; but he rose from the dead, and cried aloud: Who will contend with me? Let him confront me. I have freed the condemned, brought the dead back to life, raised men from their graves. Who has anything to say against me? I, he said, am the Christ; I have destroyed death, triumphed over the enemy, trampled hell underfoot, bound the strong one, and taken men up to the heights of heaven: I am the Christ.”

St Melito Of Sardis

Holy Saturday Ancient Homily (Office Of Readings)

Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

author unknown

In A Glance

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, so at Mass the events from Jesus’ celebrated entry into Jerusalem through the Crucifixion were read…according to the Gospel of Luke this year.  I was caught by surprise Sunday morning, by a segment of the reading that had never sat with me like it did this time.

“…Assuredly, this man too was with him,

for he also is a Galilean.”

But Peter said,

“My friend, I do not know what you are talking about.”

Just as he was saying this, the cock crowed,

and the Lord turned and looked at Peter; 

and Peter remembered the word of the Lord,

how he had said to him,

“Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.”

He went out and began to weep bitterly.

As these words were read, I began to cry with Peter.   Why do you think Jesus looked at Peter?  ….to say to him “I told you so”….”Peter you are such a bad person”…. or, I love you Peter, even when you deny me.”  I recognized that feeling of looking to God, and realizing the sadness of failing to love Him yet another time.  To have Jesus return a glance my way with  Love,  and wishing I could do better.  Knowing that in His eyes reveal that; Peter, I am going to my Cross, so you don’t have to endure yours.  That is how I love you Peter. Then is when we weep bitterly, …because we know we need Jesus to carry that cross, our cross …because in our weakness we drop ours daily.

This is what I see, when I fail to love enough, and my Lord turns his glance to me.  I see a Savior crucified, because Love chose me.

Holy Week, 2019

Palm Sunday

Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority, and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of his own free will to make his journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise his voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and he will make his entry in simplicity.

Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward Jerusalem, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.

In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself. And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens—the proof, surely, of his power and godhead—his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven.

So let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him. We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him. Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms but with the real rewards of his victory. Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Blessed is the king of Israel.

Saint Andrew of Crete

Oh Susanna

When I read about Susanna, it always strikes a deep feeling of vulnerability  in me….to think of being at the mercy of a ruthless man. 

“I am completely trapped,” Susanna groaned. “If I yield, it will be my death; if I refuse, I cannot escape your power.

Daniel 13:22

In our world today, I hear men being offended by their job opportunities being biased not in their direction, by the stereotype of what men are, how the tables are turning, etc.  My answer is…welcome to the life of women.  That doesn’t make it right, for men or women, but it’s not a new problem.

This is the thing though, if women were given the freedom to be, who they were created to be as females throughout history, I believe this struggle of being “equal” would be naught.  If women could freely be the beautiful image of God, as He created her…. what woman would want to be “equal” with men.  Why would she want to be equal to man, when she could be God’s vision of woman.  We aren’t equal, we are God’s daughters, as he loved us to be in Creation, as He loves us to be within Himself.  Equal isn’t even a word that should be used here, because we are so much more than equal…we are life bearers…we are female created in the Image of God…. as men are male created in the Image of God.

 I think as females, we need to look to our Father to find our worth, not to men to find equality.  

We have made this such a tainted mess, and my intention is not to put men down.  It’s quite the contrary: I hope to celebrate men and women as they were created.  One isn’t better than the other, we are just created diferently.

Disclaimer:  I think men need to find their worth in the image of God also.  I believe there, they will no longer feel the need to dominate women.  If men think themselves superior to women, they need to take that up with the creator, and if women feel inferior to men, they need to do the same.  I think God would be offended on both fronts.

”For in giving themselves to others each day women fulfil their deepest vocation. Perhaps more than men, women acknowledge the person, because they see persons with their hearts. They see them independently of various ideological or political systems. They see others in their greatness and limitations; they try to go out to them and help them. In this way the basic plan of the Creator takes flesh in the history of humanity and there is constantly revealed, in the variety of vocations, that beauty-not merely physical, but above all spiritual-which God bestowed from the very beginning on all, and in a particular way on women.”

St John Paul II, Pope

Inspiring Thoughts

The enemy often tries to make us attempt and start many projects so that we will be overwhelmed with too many tasks, and therefore achieve nothing and leave everything unfinished. Sometimes he even suggests the wish to undertake some excellent work that he foresees we will never accomplish. This is to distract us from the prosecution of some less excellent work that we would have easily completed. He does not care how many plans and beginnings we make, provided nothing is finished.

St Francis de Sales

Tells

I loved when my son was little and got up in the morning.  I could hear him stirring in bed, and I knew he was on his way…morning snuggles, sigh.  He’d get next to me in my bed, and as close as he possibly could.  He’d try to maneuver himself into position, but I knew better what he needed on a given morning than he did.  My arms would go around him,  and I would pull his legs into a loose fetal position, and he’d resign to my direction.  His whole body would go limp, his breathing slow, he’d hold onto me somewhere, and peaceful sleep was achieved. He is in the embrace of his mother, safety, love, bliss.

I wonder if God feels the same eagerness that I do, when He hears our  “tells”.  When we get on our knees, make the sign of the cross, or clear our minds to make room for Him.  Does He ready Himself to receive us, to anticipate our needs for that moment.  Ready to “reposition” us so that we can get what we need.  I wonder though, if I don’t sometimes resist His efforts with my own ideas, so as not to rest limply in the safety, love, and bliss of my Lord.