Frankly

A very good friend of mine just died.  She knew she was dying, and, as her spiritual director, we had many frank talks about death.  Her biggest question–one I think is all of ours–was “What will it be like?”  Another friend of mine tackles the same question here.  And, frankly, we both give the same answer.

Lord, you know that dying is not something I’m looking forward to.  You know my thoughts, so you know that I don’t spend much time even thinking about it.  But it’s impossible to mark your death and resurrection without thinking about the fact that I, too, am going to die.

Frankly, celebrating your resurrection doesn’t make death less dreadful.  Nor does thinking about my sharing in your resurrection.  Today, I know; this world, I know.  The resurrection–that’s something I don’t know.  I feel very rooted here.  being pulled up by the roots, well, it’s not a pleasant expectation.

Yet I do know that when the moment of being torn from this world comes, I will not be alone.  You will show me theplant-hand path to life.  No, you will be the path to life.  You’ve already made the journey form this world through death into risen life.  When it’s time for me to make the journey, you’lb be there to bring me from this life into life with you forever.  I still don’t look forward to being wrenched form this world.  And yet, Lord, “my heart is glad” (Ps 16.9)

(Kevin Perrotta)

Yet the star of hope has risen

2009-10-03-the-morning-star-paradox“Christ descended into ‘Hell’ and is therefore close to those cast into it, transforming their darkness into light.  Suffering and torment is still terrible and well-nigh unbearable.  Yet the star of hope has risen–the anchor of the heart reaches the very throne of God.  Instead of evil becoming unleashed within man, the light shines victorious: suffering–without   ceasing to be suffering–becomes, despite everything, a hymn of praise.”  (Benedict XI, Spes Salvi)

The one who still burns the light of hope

{This is a repost . . .]

mary-pierced-heartHave you ever wondered why Saturday is traditionally observed as the day of Our Lady? A few years ago I was reading a book by John Saward (The Beauty of Holiness, the Holiness of Beauty), and, in a section about our Lady, he described Mary’s unfailing faith through the long, terrible day after Christ’s death when she alone kept faith in her Son.   I had never before heard of this mariological foundation for Saturday being traditionally her day:

The yes [her continued yes to the Lord that began with her Annunciation yes] of Our Lady does not end on Good Friday and [Christ's] yielding of the spirit . . . . The faith and love of Our Lady last into Holy Saturday.  The dead body of the Son of God lies in the tomb, while His soul descends into Sheol, the Limbo of the Fathers.  Jesus goes down into the hideous kingdom of death to proclaim the power of the Cross and the coming victory of the Resurrection and to open Heaven’s gates to Adam and Eve and all the souls of the just.  The Apostles, hopeless and forlorn, know none of this.  “As yet,” St. John tells us, “they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise from the dead” (Jn 20.9).  In all Israel, is there no faith in Jesus?  On this silent Saturday, this terrible Shabbat, while the Jews’ true Messiah sleeps the sleep of death, who burns the lights of hope?  Is there no loyal remnant?  There is, and its name is Mary.  In the fortitude of faith, she keeps the Sabbath candles alight for her Son.  That is why Saturday, the sacred day of her physical brethren, is Our Lady’s weekly festival.  On the first Holy Saturday, in the person of Mary of  Nazareth, Israel now an unblemished bride, faces her hardest trial and, through the fortitude of the Holy Spirit, is triumphant.

I take great comfort in knowing that Mary always burns the light of hope for me (and you!) as well.

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