Now all creation rejoices

Do you not know what holy day this is?483662_450760328326093_1835904721_n
No? Then whence come you?
Among what heathen have you dwelt,
not to know that today
is the supremely holy Good Friday?
Lay down your weapons!
Do not offend the Lord, who today,
bereft of all arms, offered His holy blood
to redeem the sinful world!

It is the tears of repentant sinners
That today with holy dew
besprinkle field and meadow:
thus they make them flourish.
Now all creation rejoices
at the Savior’s sign of love
and dedicates to Him its prayer.

Richard Wagner, Parsifal

And this is our hope

Agony

In the hour of darkness the moon had hid her face,
And all the world was sleeping, save one who wept.
He left the meager comfort of well-meaning friends,
Charging them, Watch; and into the garden crept,

And heard the lie of the world;
That the darkness here is a fell and final thing:
And flesh will crumble for aye in the valley of bones,
And tongues that are parched will never find voice to sing.

And this is our hope: that he whose sweat was blood,
As the heavy droplets fell and his spirits sank,
Lifted his eyes and murmured Thy will be done;
Lifted cracked lips to the Father’s cup; and drank.

~Joseph Prever

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We lack words

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Let us look with eyes of faith at the paschal events which begin today, during the Last Supper.

We lack words to express the depth of the mystery which opens up before us.

St. John Paul II

My Jesus I love Thee

My Jesus, I Love Thee

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

William Ralph Featherston, 1864

My world is so small

A beautiful meditation for all of you mothers out there, from this month’s Magnificat:

“Set your stakes on great ideals, the ideals that enlarge the heart,” Pope Francis exhorted young people early in his pontificate.

This call to greatness sometimes seems out of place here in the trenches of raising two young children.  Still, his words resonate with me.  My world is so small, and my routines are predictable and contained, but I’ve never felt my heart to be so enlarged as now–through long nights and lonely days of painful stretching, yes, but also through the simple bliss of playing raucously with my children on the floor.

I’m likewise drawn to the image of high stakes, of facing life with boldness and conviction.

There are times I feel that having a child is a sheer act of hope, a statement that, yes, we do believe the world is good and worth redeeming, so much so that we will bring children into it–not to hide in our bunkers, but to teach them to bring Christ’s love to where it’s needed most.  And constantly I’m reminded how the sacrifices of parenthood and marriage fly in the face of a world so taken by self-centeredness, guardedness, and materialism.  Our yes at the altar is repeated every day: to each other, to the needy toddler, to the invitation to allow our hearts to be stretched and filled.

The call to greatness, to holiness, is for all of us, regardless of how limited our spheres may seem.  I can’t answer for others, but what I’m finding is that underlying my small world of home and family is something timeless, expansive, and beautiful.  And that’s something to set my stakes on.

~Elizabeth Hansen

Unbinding

Following up on yesterday’s post:

“Several years ago a television documentary followed the family of a young woman who had been brutally murdered.  Her murderer was eventually caught, convicted, and sentenced to death for the horrible crime.  The victim’s father was given permission to witness the execution, which he was certain would give him satisfaction and peace.  In a press conference held after the execution, the father was asked if it was all he hoped it would be.  He answered, ‘Absolutely!’  He paused and added, ‘My only regret is that I can’t watch him die again every day for the rest of my life.’  My heart sank watching this poor man who had been robbed of so much.  The execution did not give him back his daughter, and would never give him the peace he so desperately needed.  Jesus’ command to be overly generous in forgiving those who have hurt us deeply is really an invitation to freedom.  The Greek word used in the New Testament that we usually translate as ‘forgive’ can also be translated as ‘unbind’.  When we forgive another person, we are unbinding him or her from some past sin or hurt–but, often enough, the other person either will not or cannot receive the gift.  However, the act of forgiveness always unbinds and sets free our hearts as nothing else can.”  (Fr. Richard G. Smith)

He tells us: “Come out!”

lazarus“Before the sealed tomb of his friend Lazarus, Jesus “cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth” (11:43-44). This commanding cry is addressed to every man, because we are all marked for death, all of us; it is the voice of he who is the Lord of life and desires that all “have it in abundance” (John 10:10). Christ has not resigned himself to the tombs that we have created with our choices of evil and death, with our mistakes, with our sins. He does not resign himself to this! He invites us, he almost commands us, to come out of the tombs in which our sins have buried us. He insistently calls us out of the darkness of the prison in which we have shut ourselves, contenting ourselves with a false, egoistic and mediocre life. “Come out!” he tells us, “Come out!” It is a beautiful invitation to true freedom, to let ourselves be seized by these words of Jesus that he repeats to each one of us today. It is an invitation to remove the “burial shroud,” the burial shroud of pride. Pride makes us slaves, slaves to ourselves, slaves of many idols, of many things. Our resurrection begins here: when we decide to obey this command of Jesus, going out into the light, into life; when the masks fall from our face – often we are masked by sin, the masks must fall! – and we rediscover the courage of our true face, created in the image and likeness of God.” (Pope Francis)