Published on April 6, 2012 By lulapilgrim In Philosophy
 
 
Whenever there is silence around me
By day or by night
I am startled by a 'cry'.
It came down from the Cross--
The first time I heard it,
I went out and searched--
And Found a Man in the throes of crucifixion,
And I said, "I will take you down,"
And I tried to take the nails out of His feet.
But He said, "Let them be for I cannot be taken down
Until every man, every woman, and every child
Come together to take Me down."
And I said, "But I cannot bear Your cry, what can I do?"
And He said,
"Go about the world----tell everyone that you meet---
There is a Man on the Cross."
                                                      Elizabeth Cheney
 
I saw the Son of God go by,
Crowned with the crown of thorn.
"Was it not finished, Lord?"  I said,
"And all the anguish borne?"
 
He turned on me His awful eyes:
"Hast Thou not understood?
Lo!  Every soul is Calvary,
And every sin a rood."
                                                    Rachel Annand Taylor

Comments
on Apr 06, 2012

Today is Good Friday and the readings from Scripture on the Passion are Osee 6:1-6; Habacuc 3:2-3; and Exodus 12:1-11; Psalm 139:2-10, 14; and St.John 18:1-40; 19:1-42. 

 

on Apr 07, 2012
Father Cantalamessa's Good Friday Homily
"I Died and Behold I Am Alive for Evermore"

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 6, 2012 (Zenit.org) .- Here is a translation of the homily that the preacher of the Pontifical Household, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, gave during the celebration of the Passion of the Lord today in St. Peter's Basilica.

* * *

“I DIED, AND BEHOLD I AM ALIVE FOR EVERMORE”

(Revelation 1:18)

Homily of Good Friday 2012 in Saint Peter’s Basilica

Some ancient Fathers of the Church enclosed in an image the whole mystery of the redemption. Imagine, they said, that an epic fight took place in the stadium. A courageous man confronted a cruel tyrant who had the city enslaved and, with enormous effort and suffering, defeated him. You were on the terraces; you did not fight, or make an effort or get wounded. However, if you admire the courageous man, if you rejoice with him over his victory, if you intertwine crowns, arouse and stir the assembly for him, if you kneel joyfully before the triumphant one, kiss his head and shake his right hand; in a word, if you rave so much as to consider his victory yours, I tell you that you will certainly have part of the victor’s prize.

However, there is more: imagine that the victor had himself no need of the prize he had won, but wished more than anything to see his supporter honored and considers as the prize of his combat the crowning of his friend, in that case, perhaps, will that man not obtain the crown also though he has not toiled on been wounded? He certainly will obtain it![1]

It happens thus, say the Fathers, between Christ and us. On the cross, he defeated the ancient enemy. “Our swords – exclaims Saint John Chrysostom – were not bloodied, we were not in agony, we were not wounded, we did not even see the battle and yet we obtain the victory. His was the fight, ours the crown. And because we are also the conquerors, let us imitate what soldiers do in such cases: with joyful voices let us exalt the victory, let us intone hymns of praise to the Lord!”[2] It is not possible to explain better the meaning of the liturgy we are celebrating.

* * *

However, is what we are doing itself an image, a representation of a reality of the past, or is it the reality itself? It is both things! “We – said Saint Augustine to the people – know and believe with very certain faith that Christ died only once for us […]. You know perfectly that all that happened only once, and yet the solemnity renews it periodically […]. Historical truth and liturgical solemnity are not opposed to one another, as if the second is fallacious and the first alone corresponds to the truth. In fact, of what history says occurred only once in reality, the solemnity repeatedly renews the celebration in the hearts of the faithful.”[3]

The liturgy “renews” the event: how many discussions have taken place for the past five centuries on the meaning of this word, especially when it is applied to the sacrifice of the cross and to the Mass! Paul VI used a verb that could smooth the way to an ecumenical agreement on such an argument: the verb “to represent,” understood in the strong sense of re-presenting, namely to render what happened again present and operative.[4]

There is an essential difference between the representation of Christ’s death and that, for example, of the death of Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name. No one celebrates as a living person the anniversary of his own death; Christ does because he is risen. Only he can say, as he does in Revelation: “I died, and behold I am alive ever more” (Revelation 1:18). We must be careful on this day, visiting the so-called sepulchers or taking part in processions of the dead Christ, not to merit the reproach that the Risen One addressed to the pious women on Easter morning: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5).

The affirmation of certain Orthodox authors is bold but true. The anamnesis, namely the liturgical memorial, “renders the event truer than when it happened historically the first time.” In other words, it is more true and real for us who relive it “according to the Spirit,” than it was for those who lived it “according to the flesh,” before the Holy Spirit revealed the full meaning to the Church.

We are not only celebrating an anniversary but a mystery. Again, it is Saint Augustine who explains the difference between the two things. In the celebration “by way of anniversary,” nothing else is required – he says – than to “indicate with a religious solemnity the day of the year in which the recollection of the event itself takes place;” in the celebration by way of mystery (“in sacrament”), “not only is an event commemorated but it is also done in a way in which its meaning is understood and it is received devoutly.”[5]

This changes everything. It is not just a question of attending a representation, but of “accepting” the significance, of passing from spectators to actors. It is up to us therefore to choose what part we want to play in the drama, who we wish to be: Peter, Judas, Pilate, the crowd, the Cyrenean, John, Mary … No one can remain neutral; not take a position, means to take a very precise one: Pilate’s who washes his hands or the crowd “standing by, watching” (Luke 23:35).

If when going home this evening, someone asks us “Where are you coming from? Where have you been?” We must also answer, at least in our heart: “on Calvary!”

* * *

However, all this does not happen automatically, just because we have taken part in this liturgy. It is a question of “accepting” the meaning of the mystery. This happens with faith. There is no music where there is no ear to hear it, no matter how loud the orchestra sounds; there is no grace where there is no faith to receive it.

In an Easter homily of the 4thcentury, the bishop pronounced these extraordinarily modern, and one could say existentialist, words: “For every man, the beginning of life is when Christ was immolated for him. However, Christ is immolated for him at the moment he recognizes the grace and becomes conscious of the life procured for him by that immolation.”[6]

However, let us stay on the safe side; let us listen to a doctor of the Church. “What I cannot obtain by myself – writes Saint Bernard --, I appropriate (literally, I usurp!) with confidence from the pierced side of the Lord., because he is full of mercy. Hence my merit is the mercy of God. I am certainly not poor in merits, as long as he is rich in mercy. If the mercies of the Lord are many (Psalm 119:156), I will also abound in merits. And what about my own righteousness? O Lord, I will remember only your righteousness. In fact, it is also mine, because you are righteousness for me on behalf of God” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:30).[7]

Did this way of conceiving holiness make Saint Bernard, perhaps, less zealous in good works, less committed to the acquisition of virtues? Did perhaps the apostle Paul neglect to mortify his body and reduce it to slavery (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:27), he who, before all and more than all, had made of this appropriation of Christ’s righteousness the purpose of his life and of his preaching (cf. Philippians 3:7-9)?

In Rome, as unfortunately in all big cities, there are so many homeless people, human persons who only have a few rags upon their body and some poor belongings that they carry along in a plastic bag. Let us imagine that one day this voice spreads: on Via Condotti (everyone knows what Via Condotti represents in Rome!) there is the owner of a fashion boutique who, for some unknown reason, whether out of interest or generosity, invites all the homeless of Termini rail way station to come to her shop; she invites them to take off their soiled rags, to have a good shower and then choose the garment they want among those displayed and take it away free of charge.

All say in their heart: “This is a fairy-tale, it never happens!” Very true, but what never happens among men is what can happen every day between men and God, because, before Him, we are those homeless people! This is what happens in a good confession: you take off your dirty rags, your sins, receive the bath of mercy and rise “clothed in the garments of salvation, covered with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).

The tax collector of the parable went up into the temple to pray; he said simply but from the depth of his heart: “God, be merciful to me a sinner!”, and “he went down to his house justified” (Luke 18:14), reconciled, made new, innocent. The same could be said of us, if we have his same faith and repentance, when we go home after this liturgy.

* * *

on Apr 07, 2012

From the book, "Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ" by Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerick

The Crucifixion by Pieter Bruegel
 

This Day Thou Shalt Be With Me In Paradise.

 

                              During the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus, the two thieves were left lying on the ground at some distance off;  their arms were fastened to the crosses on which they were to be executed, and a few soldiers stood near on guard.  The accusation which had been proved against them was that of having assassinated a Jewish woman who, with her children, was travelling from Jerusalem to Joppa.  They were arrested, under the disguise of rich merchants, at a castle in which Pilate resided occasionally, when employed in exercising his troops, and they had been imprisoned for a long time before being brought to trial.

 

     The thief placed on the left-hand side was much older than the other;  a regular miscreant, who had corrupted the younger.  They were commonaly called Dismas and Gesmas, and as I forget their real names I shall distinghish them by these terms, calling the good one Dismas, and the wicked one Gesmas.  Both the one and the other belonged to a band of robbers who infested the frontiers of Egypt: 

 

..........and it was in a cave inhabited by these robbers that the Holy Family took refuge when flying into Egypt, at the time of the massacre of the Innocents.  The poor leprous child who was instantly cleansed by being dipped in the water which had been used for washing the infant Jesus, was no other than this Dismas, and the charity of his mother, in receiving and granting hospitality to the Holy Family, had been rewarded by the cure of her child;  while this outward purification was an emblem of the inward purification which was afterwards accomplished in the soul of Dismas on Mount Calvary, through that Sacred Blood was then shed on the cross for our redemption.   Dismas knew nothing at all about Jesus, but as his heart was not hardened, the sight of the extreme patience of our Lord moved him much. 

 

     The crosses of the two thieves were placed, the one to the right and the other to the left of Jesus.  Nothing can be imagined more distressing than the appearance of the thieves on their crosses;  they suffered terribly, and the one on the left hand side never ceased cursing and swearing.

 

     I cast my eyes upon Jesus-----Jesus my Redeemer, -----the Redeemer of the world.  I beheld Him motionless, and almost lifeless.  I saw nothing distinctly, excepting my beloved Spouse hanging on the cross.  I contemplated His disfigured countenance, His Head encircled with that terrible crown of thorns, which prevented His raising it even for a moment without the most intense suffering, His mouth parched and half open from exhaustion, and His hair and beard clotted with blood.  His chest was torn with stripes and wounds, and His elbows dislocated, blood constantly trickled down from the gaping wounds in His hands and the flesh was so torn from His ribs that you might almost count them.  His legs and thighs, as also His arms, were stretched out almost to dislocation, and the flesh and muscles so completely laid bare that every bond was visible, and His whole body covered with black, green, and reeking wounds.  The blood which flowed from His wounds was at first red, but it became by degrees light and watery, and the whole appearance of His body was that of a corpse ready for interment.  And yet, nothwithstanding the state of ignominy to which He was reduced, there still remained that inexpressible look of dignity and goodness which had ever filled all beholders with awe.

 

    The complexion of our Lord was fair, like that Mary, and slightly tinted with red;  but His exposure to the weather during the last three years had tanned Him considerably.  His chest was wide, but not hairy like that of St. John the Baptist;  His shoulders broad, and His arms and thights sinewy;  His knees were strong and hardened, as is ususally the case with those who have either walked or knelt much, and His legs long, with very strong muscles;  His feet were well formed, and His hands beautiful, the fingers being long and tapering, and although not delicate like those of a woman, still not resembling those of a man who had laboured hard.  His neck was rather long, with a well-set and finaly proportioned head;  His forehead large and high;  His face oval;  His hair, which was far from thick, was of a golden brown colour, parted in the middle and falling over His shoulders;  His beard was not any great length, but pointed and divided under the chin. 

 

     When I contemplated Him on the Cross, His hair was almost all torn off, and what remained was matted and clotted with blood;  His body was one wound, and every limb seemed as if dislocated.

 

PRAYER

 

Dear Jesus! 

 I do not want to know the wisdom of the world; 

 I do not want to know on whose anvil snow-flakes are hammered or the hiding-place of darkness or from whose womb came the ice, or why the gold falls to the earth earthly, and fire climbs to the heavens heavenly; 

 I do not want to know literature and science, or the four-dimensional universe in which we live; 

 I do not want to know the length of the universe in terms of light years; 

 I do not want to know the breadth of the earth as it dances about the chariot of the sun; 

 I do not want to know the heights of the stars, chaste candles of the night; 

 I do not want to know the deptsh of the sea or the secrets of its water palace. 

 I want to be ignorant of all these things. 

 I want only to know the length, the breadth, the height and the depth of Thy redeeiming Love on the Cross, Sweet Saviour of Men. 

 I want to be ignorant of everything in the world------everthing but You, dear Jesus. 

                              And then, by the strangest of strange paradoxes, I shall be wise!  Amen.

 

 

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