Wednesday, 31 March 2010

"Spy" Wednesday of Holy Week

On this Post, for the moment this is a 'piggy-back' lift to Fr. Z's right-up-to-date "What Does The Prayer Really Says?"

It is another irresistible exposition of the COLLECT.

The taste will tempt to the feast, those who love 'the meaning of the words chosen for the celebration, often extraordinarily brief...’, and will know where to find the Website.

31 March 2010

WDTPRS - “Spy” Wednesday of Holy Week

CATEGORY: SESSIUNCULA, WDTPRS — Fr. John Zuhlsdorf @ 9:19 am

The term “Spy” Wednesday probably is an allusion to Christ’s betrayal by Judas.


Deus, qui pro nobis Filium tuum
crucis patibulum subire voluisti,
ut inimici a nobis expelleres potestatem,
concede nobis famulis tuis,
ut resurrectionis gratiam consequamur.

  • This prayer was the Collect for this same day in the 1962 Missale Romanum. It was also in the ancient Gregorian Sacramentary in both the Hadrianum and Paduense manuscripts.

  • The impressive and informative Lewis & Short Dictionary informs us thatpatibulum (deriving from pateo) is “a fork-shaped yoke, placed on the necks of criminals, and to which their hands were tied; also, a fork-shaped gibbet”. In turn, English “gibbet” means “an upright post with a projecting arm for hanging the bodies of executed criminals as a warning”.

  • The verb subeo in its basic meaning is “to come or go under any thing” and by logical extension “to subject one’s self to, take upon one’s self an evil; to undergo, submit to, sustain, endure, suffer”. The L&S explains that “The figure taken from stooping under a load, under blows, etc.)” There are other shades of meaning, including “to come on secretly, to advance or approach stealthily, to steal upon, steal into”. Keep this one in mind.
  • Consequor is very interesting. It signifies “to follow, follow up, press upon, go after, attend, accompany, pursue any person or thing” and then it extends to concepts like “to follow a model, copy, an authority, example, opinion, etc.; to imitate, adopt, obey, etc.” and “to reach, overtake, obtain”. Going beyond even these definitions, there is this: “to become like or equal to a person or thing in any property or quality, to attain, come up to, to equal (cf. adsequor).” I know, I know - mentio non fit expositio. Still it is interesting to make connections in the words, which often have subtle overlaps. Remember that interesting meaning ofsubeo, above? There is a shade of “pursuit” and “imitation” in the prayer’s vocabulary.

O God, who willed Your Son to undergo
on our behalf the gibbet of the Cross
so that You might drive away from us the power of the enemy,
grant to us Your servants,
that we may obtain the grace of the resurrection.

This is an austere prayer, razor like, cutting to the heart of the matter. By our sins we are in the clutches of the enemy, who mercilessly attacks us. Christ freed us from dire consequences of slavery to sin by His Passion.

in your plan of salvation
your Son Jesus Christ accepted the cross
and freed us from the power of the enemy.
May we come to share in the glory of his resurrection.

The ancient Romans would have their conquered foes pass under a yoke (iugum), to show that they were now subjugated. Their juridical status changed. Christ went under the Cross in its carrying and then underwent the Cross in its hideous torments. In his liberating act of salvation, we passed from the servitude of the enemy to the service of the Lord, not as slaves, but as members of a family.

We are not merely household servants (famuli), we are according the status of children of the master of the house, able to inherit what He already has.

• • • • • •


  1. Please afford a light moment. At the school where I learned Latin, detention under the prefect was known as “jug”—“Sub jugo praefecti passi sumus.”

    Ut semper, gratias orationum exegetis alti agimus.

    Comment by Tom in NY — 31 March 2010 @ 10:30 am
  2. He took the form of a slave and died a horrible death so that we would no longer be slaves to sin and death.

    Comment by Dr. Eric — 31 March 2010 @ 10:35 am
  3. Whereas you render crucis patibulum concretely and vividly as “gibbet of the cross”, and the lame-duck ICEL version labors along the “plan of salvation” route in order to simply omit the word patibulum, including no translation at all, the British Divine Office and Lauds and Vespers (ed. Fr. Peter Stravinskas) both take a “softer” intermediate course.

    Divine Office: agony of the cross
    Lauds & Vespers: ignominy of the cross

    Comment by Henry Edwards — 31 March 2010 @ 12:13 pm
  4. This was the second Collect for today. The first Collect is thus:

    Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut qui nostris excessibus incessantur affligimur, per unigeniti Filii tui passionem liberemur: Qui tecum vivit…

    “Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God that we who are incessantly aafflicted by our sinful excesses may be delivered by the Passion of Thine only-begotten Son.”—Taken from the Baronius Press missal ;)

    Comment by Phil — 31 March 2010 @ 12:59 pm
  5. So a patibulum is that thing that looks like the stocks, but is mobile.

    Huh. I guess a crossbar does look like that.

    Comment by Suburbanbanshee — 31 March 2010 @ 1:14 pm
  6. I found this translation in my mother’s 1948 Roman Missal:
    “O God who for our sakes didst will that thy Son should suffer the death of the Cross, and thereby free us from the power of the enemy: grant to us thy servants to have part in the grace of the resurrection.”
    I’m no latin scholar, but even I can see that ‘lame duck’ translations seem to be to the latin text, what decaffeinated coffee is to the real thing!

    Comment by Mrs Kate — 31 March 2010 @ 2:28 pm

Wednesday Holy Week

Spy Wednesday

Today is Holy Wednesday, also called Spy Wednesday, as we draw closer to the end of Lent and the beginning of the commemoration of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord.

Today the Mass readings again show Judas Iscariot making the preparations to betray Our Lord.

The Synoptic tradition on the betrayal of Judas began about the time when the authorities in Jerusalem had determined to kill Jesus, and Judas engaged to betray Him into their hands.

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke did not imply that the betrayal was induced by anything more than the money offered or that opposition to Jesus was Judas’ motive; indeed Judas appeared as the instrument of higher powers as Luke write: “Satan entered into Judas.’’ (Lk 22:3).

The event was not unexpected to Jesus, since at the Last Supper, He had announced His coming betrayal by one of the 12 disciples. While to the 12, this event seemed at the time most improbable, to Jesus it was not so and indeed was in keeping with the divine purpose as expressed in the Scriptures and was a necessary means for the accomplishment of the divine plan.

What is so significant about Spy Wednesday is that it reflects the daily struggles we all endure in order to accept a relationship with the Lord. To live the life that Jesus intended for us is a perpetual struggle on a daily basis with good and evil. Sometimes when we are questioned about our transgressions, we answer back. “It’s not me Lord.’’ But the tranquility of Jesus’ realization of His mission provides us with hope in the days to come.

There is a real message here in Jesus’ tranquil resignation to the events that are coming: Faith in the love and power of the Father. As believers in the power of God’s love and goodness, Spy Wednesday should provide a period for reflection and prayer. We need to examine our lives and look for the moments that we have falsely shared intimacy with our brothers and sisters in faith.

(Clerical Whispers

What Does The Prayer Really Say

Surprise SNOW and BLIZZARDS at the end the first month of SPRING


----- Forwarded Message ----
From: William . . .
To: Donald . . .
Sent: Tue, 30 March, 2010 19:49:06
Subject: Re: [Blog] Tuesday in Holy Week (and every day)

Dear . . .

“What Does The Prayer Really Say?”

How much this article should cause me always to be alert to seek to grasp the meaning of the words chosen for the celebration, often extraordinarily brief... One sentence from the extract has me spellbound... "By our deepening of our grasp on Christ, and His grasp on us, His merit becomes our merit and thus we can receive the saving pardon He grasped for us on the Cross".

Thank you!


+ + +

"Spellbound", you say, William, so I have followed your highlights of "grasp". Back to the Post, it is even more clear Formating the text with Bullet Listing. Even again, it is a joy to relish the sense and significance. (Donald).

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Cistercian Fr Theodore

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Donald Nunraw
Sent: Tue, 30 March, 2010 11:31:04
Subject: Re: Fr Theodore

Fr. Theodore Berkeley R.I.P.
St Bernard

Cistercian Abbey

29 March 2008 : Father Theodore Berkeley. Born in 1930 in Birmingham ( Great Britain ), he entered Mount St Bernard in 1952 and made his solemn profession in 1957. He was ordained a priest in 1959. Father was 79 years old, had been in monastic vows for 55 years and 50 years a priest when the Lord called him.

Fr. Theodore died this morning at 11.45am.

He had been in hospital for a few weeks with a broken hip but his condition declined rapidly from last Tuesday and he died peacefully this morning.

+ + +

Nunraw Community Mass

Intro. Donald:

We remembered Fr. Theodore Tuesday morning.

In a manner of speaking, we can say that he gained a Bible Degree in Rome in order to become a hermit, as he became in the Abbey.

At Nunraw a fond recollection is that of the reading in the Chapter, Roots of Christian Mysticism by Olivier Clement and Theodore Berkeley - Feb 1993). Fr. Theodore was the translator and one Review comments, “The translations are crisp and fresh, the language swiftly taking the reader directly to the wisdom of the theologians of the early church”.

Fr. Nivard writes:

Fr Theodore's death was a surprise considering his robust health all these years.

Theodore and I entered the novitiate on the same day, the Nativity of Our Lady, 1962. He, from Birmingham , in the morning; I, from Glasgow , in the afternoon. Fr Gregory and Fr Simon, Secretary, were astonished to discover that both of us had the same Christian name, Brendan, and that we were born on the same day in the same year, 12 Nov.1930!

He really put his back into the daily work and easily kept up with the best of us. We respected his academic gifts, his ready smile and readiness to lend a helping hand. He continued to be most industrious when he came to live in his hermitage. He used to flood the gift shop with home-made large rosary beads as well as beautiful baskets. He also translated their new constitutions, post Vatican ll, for the Rosminian Sisters, and similar work for others. He visited the monastery every day at about 11 am for his daily needs, mass wine, food and especially books from the library, etc. He was his usual quiet, friendly self whenever you happened to meet him.

May he enjoy the love of the Lord whom he followed with great single-mindedness.

Tuesday in Holy Week

Courtesy of Fr. Z.
Tuesday of Holy Week

Leading the Concelebration I had to make a Copy of the Page of the Sacramentary of the prayers, COLLECT, Prayer of the Offertory, and Post-Communion. The type of the Hand Missal was too small for reading.

The Online Resources of the Mass are copious of the Ordinary of the Mass, Readings, Prefaces & Eucharistic Prayers, Responses, Music etc, but NOT the Sacramentary COLLECTS.

The only successful Internet entry to SEARCH gave the ANSWER,
“What Does The Prayer Really Say?” 11 April 2006 - Fr. Z.

It goes back to 2006 and I am grateful to Fr. Z., the most famous priest Blogger.

His significant conclusion the Holy Week Collects faithful to the ancient Sacramentaries.

What Does The Prayer Really Say?

Slavishly accurate liturgical translations & frank commentary on Catholic issues - by Fr. John Zuhlsdor

11 April 2006

Tuesday in Holy Week

CATEGORY: SESSIUNCULA, WDTPRS — Fr. John Zuhlsdorf @ 4:01 pm

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,
da nobis ita dominicae passionis sacramenta peragere,
ut indulgentiam percipere mereamur.

This prayer was in the 1962MR
on Tuesday of Holy Week. It was in the Hadrianum and Paduenese of the ancient Gregorian Sacramentary for the same day, when the Station is at Santa Prisca. So, it seems that today we have a prayer which The Redactors of theNovus Ordo didn’t fiddle around with. They left it on the same day as it had always been, and didn’t change or cut out any words.

The verb
perago means, according to the dark blue bound Lewis & Short Dictionary, in its fundamental sense “to thrust through, pierce through, transfix”. It can then come to mean by logical extension “to drive about, harass, disturb, disquiet, agitate, annoy a person or thing”. However, in our context here, it is probably “to carry through, go through with, execute, finish, accomplish, complete. . . .

The verb
percipiois “to take wholly, to seize entirely”. Often when you see a prepositional prefix per on verbs, you get an intensification of the concept of the verb. At the same time percipio is “to perceive, observe” and “to feel” and “to learn, know, conceive, comprehend, understand, perceive”. Blaise/Dumas gives us “recevoir (l’eucharistie)”. I think this gets us close to the meaning for our prayer.


Omnipotens sempiterne Deus,

da nobis ita dominicae passionis sacramenta peragere,

ut indulgentiam percipere mereamur.


Almighty everlasting God,

grant us so to celebrate the mysteries of the Lord’s Passion,

that we may merit to receive pardon.

Almighty everlasting God,
grant us so to celebrate the mysteries of the Lord’s Passion,
that we may merit to receive pardon.

  • The words peragere and percipere underscore the intensity with which we ought to participate in the sacred mysteries especially during this Holy Week. The per prefix suggests to us a thoroughness of our participation, the one per leading to the other per through the connect of the ita... ut. The peragere is an invitation to us to participate in the mysteries of Holy Week in a way that is “full, conscious and active”, especially in the interior sense.
  • In this way we can more completely grasp in all senses of that word what the Lord has to offer to us.
    As the Council document
    Gaudium et spes 22 tells us, and this was a contribution of the young bishop Karol Wojtyla, the Second Person of the Trinity took up our human nature and came into this world to reveal man more fully to himself.
  • Our participation in the sacred mysteries at all times of the year help us to grasp and perceive many things.
  • We learn about ourselves, we learn about the magnalia Dei, we grasp and perceive the fruits and graces of the Eucharist and the other sacraments, we deepen our grasp of the content of the Faith.
  • The content is both things we can learn and contemplate and, more deeply, the divine Person of the Lord Himself.
  • One of the most important things we grasp, as our prayer reminds us, is pardon for our many and black sins which merit hell.
  • By our deepening of our grasp on Christ, and His grasp on us, His merit becomes our merit and thus we can receive the saving pardon He grasped for us on the Cross.

It might be a good idea to meditate a bit on the 1 Cor 11:29-31, in which Paul talks about “discerning” the Body and Blood of the Lord before our reception. The Greek verb
diakrino for “discern” doesn’t quite match in exact meaning the force of percipio but there is a conceptual connection between discerning verbs. In any event, this verse came to mind and it is good to examine ourselves carefully in this regard.

• • • • • •

Monday, 29 March 2010

Pope Palm Sunday

Pope Benedict's Palm Sunday homily

Benedict XVI's Palm Sunday Homily

Note to readers: Over the weekend there was extensive reporting in the media of the sex abuse issue in the Church interspersed with references to Pope Benedict's Palm Sunday homily and address, several of which implied that he had made comments on the crisis. This morning the texts have been released in full..

Text of Pope Benedict XVI Palm Sunday homily during his Mass in St Peter's Square. Many young people participated in the celebration, which also marked this year's World Youth Day, held on a diocesan level worldwide.

The Cross Is Part of the Ascent Toward the Height of Jesus Christ

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Dear Young People!

  • The Gospel for the blessing of the palms that we have listened to together here in St. Peter's Square begins with the phrase: "Jesus went ahead of everyone going up to Jerusalem" (Luke 19:28). Immediately at the beginning of the liturgy this day, the Church anticipates her response to the Gospel, saying, "Let us follow the Lord." With that the theme of Palm Sunday is clearly expressed.
  • It is about following. Being Christian means seeing the way of Jesus Christ as the right way of being human -- as that way that leads to the goal, to a humanity that is fully realized and authentic. In a special way, I would like to repeat to all the young men and women, on this 25th World Youth Day, that being Christian is a journey, or better: It is a pilgrimage, it is a going with Jesus Christ. A going in that direction that he has pointed out to us and is pointing out to us.
  • But what direction are we talking about? How do we find it? The line from our Gospel offers two indications in this connection.
    In the first place it says that it is a matter of an ascent. This has in the first place a very literal meaning. Jericho, where the last stage of Jesus's pilgrimage began, is 250 meters below sea-level while Jerusalem -- the goal of the journey -- is 740-780 meters above sea level: an ascent of almost 1,000 meters. But this external rout is above all an image of the interior movement of existence, which occurs in the following of Christ: It is an ascent to the true height of being human. Man can choose an easy path and avoid all toil. He can also descend to what is lower. He can sink into lies and dishonesty. Jesus goes ahead of us, and he goes up to what is above. He leads us to what is great, pure, he leads us to the healthy air of the heights: to life according to truth; to the courage that does not let itself be intimidated by the gossip of dominant opinions; to the patience that stands up for and supports the other. He leads us to availability to the suffering, to the abandoned; to the loyalty that stands with the other even when the situation makes it difficult.
  • He leads us to availability to bring help; to the goodness that does not let itself be disarmed not even by ingratitude. He leads us to love -- he leads us to God.
  • "Jesus went ahead of everyone going up to Jerusalem." If we read these words of the Gospel in the context of Jesus' way as a whole -- a way that, in fact, he travels to the end of time -- we can discover different meanings in the indication of "Jerusalem" as the goal. Naturally, first of all it must be simply understood as the place "Jerusalem:" It is the city in which one found God's Temple, the oneness of which was supposed to allude to the oneness of God himself. This place thus announces in the first place two things: On the one hand it says that there is only one God in all the world, who is completely beyond all our places and times; he is that God to whom all creation belongs. He is the God whom deep down all men seek and whom they all have knowledge of in some way. But this God has given himself a name. He has made himself known to us, he has launched a history with men; he chose a man -- Abram -- as the beginning of this history. The infinite God is at the same time the God who is near. He, who cannot be enclosed in any building, nevertheless wants to live among us, be completely with us.
  • If Jesus goes up to Jerusalem together with Israel on pilgrimage, he goes there to celebrate the Passover with Israel: the memorial of Israel's liberation -- a memorial that is always at the same time hope for the definitive liberation that God will give. And Jesus goes to this feast with the awareness that he himself is the Lamb spoken of in the Book of Exodus: a male lamb without blemish, which at twilight will be slaughtered before all of Israel "as a perpetual institution" (cf. Exodus 12:5-6, 14). And in the end Jesus knows that his way goes beyond this: It will not end in the cross. He knows that his way will tear away the veil between this world and God's world; that he will ascend to the throne of God and reconcile God and man in his body. He knows that his risen body will be the new sacrifice and the new Temple; that around him in the ranks of the angels and saints there will be formed the new Jerusalem that is in heaven and nevertheless also on earth. His way leads beyond the summit of the Temple mount to the height of God himself: This is the great ascent to which he calls all of us. He always remains with us on earth and has always already arrived [in heaven] with God; he leads us on earth and beyond the earth.
  • Thus in the breadth of Jesus' ascent the dimensions of our following of him become visible -- the goal to which he wants to lead us: to the heights of God, to communion with God, to being-with-God. This is the true goal, and communion with him is the way. Communion with Christ is being on a journey, a permanent ascent to the true height of our calling.
  • Journeying together with Jesus is always at the same time a traveling together in the "we" of those who want to follow him. It brings us into this community. Because this journey to true life, to being men conformed to the model of the Son of God Jesus Christ is beyond our powers, this journeying is also always a state of being carried. We find ourselves, so to speak, in a "roped party" [1] with Jesus Christ -- together with him in the ascent to the heights of God. He pulls us and supports us. Letting oneself be part of a roped party is part of following Christ; we accept that we cannot do it on our own. The humble act of entering into the "we" of the Church is part of it -- holding on to the roped party, the responsibility of communion, not letting go of the rope because of our bullheadedness and conceit.
  • Humbly believing with the Church, like being bound together in a roped party ascending to God, is an essential condition for following Christ. Not acting as the owners of the Word of God, not chasing after a mistaken idea of emancipation -- this is also part of being together in the roped party. The humility of "being-with" is essential to the ascent. Letting the Lord take us by the hand through the sacraments is another part of it. We let ourselves be purified and strengthened by him, we let ourselves accept the discipline of the ascent, even if we are tired.
  • Finally, we must again say that the cross is part of the ascent toward the height of Jesus Christ, the ascent to the height of God. Just as in the affairs of this world great things cannot be done without renunciation and hard work (joy in great discoveries and joy in a true capacity for activity are linked to discipline, indeed, to the effort of learning) so also the way to life itself, to the realization of one's own humanity is linked to him who climbed to the height of God through the cross. In the final analysis, the cross is the expression of that which is meant by love: Only he who loses himself will find himself.
  • Let us summarize: Following Christ demands as a first step the reawakening of the nostalgia for being authentically human and thus the reawakening for God. It then demands that one enter into the roped party of those who climb, into the communion of the Church. In the "we" of the Church we enter into the communion with the "Thou" of Jesus Christ and therefore reach the way to God. Moreover, listening to and living Jesus Christ's word in faith, hope and love is also required. We are thus on the way to the definitive Jerusalem and already, from this point forward, we already find ourselves there in the communion of all God's saints.
  • Our pilgrimage in following Christ, then, is not directed toward any earthly city, but toward the new City of God that grows in the midst of this world. The pilgrimage to the earthly Jerusalem, nevertheless, can be something useful for us Christians for that greater voyage. I myself linked three meanings to my pilgrimage to the Holy Land last year.
    First, I thought that what St. John says at the beginning of his first letter could happen to us: That which we have heard, we can, in a certain way see and touch with our hands (cf. 1 John 1:1). Faith in Jesus Christ is not the invention of a fairy tale. It is founded on something that actually happened. We can, so to speak, contemplate and touch this historical event. It is moving to find oneself in Nazareth in the place where the angel appeared to Mary and transmitted the task of becoming Mother of the Redeemer to her. It is moving to be in Bethlehem in the place where the Word, made flesh, came to live among us; to put one's foot upon the holy ground where God wanted to make himself man and child.
  • It is moving to climb the steps up to Calvary to the place where Jesus died on the cross. And then standing before the empty tomb, praying there where his holy corpse lay and where on the third day the Resurrection occurred. Following the material paths of Jesus should help us to walk more joyously and with a new certainty along the interior paths that Jesus himself points out to us.
  • When we go to the Holy Land as pilgrims, we go there, however -- and this is the second aspect -- as messengers of peace too, with prayer for peace; with the firm invitation that everyone in that place (which bears the word "peace" in name), has everything possible so that it truly become a place of peace.
    Thus this pilgrimage is at the same time -- as the third aspect -- an encouragement to Christians to remain in the country of their origin and to commit themselves in an intense way to peace.
  • Let us return once more to the liturgy of Palm Sunday. The prayer with which the palms are blessed we pray so that in communion with Christ we can bear the fruit of good works. Following a mistaken interpretation of St. Paul, there has repeatedly developed over the course of history and today too, the opinion that good works are not part of being Christian, in any case they would not be significant for man's salvation. But if Paul says that works cannot justify man, he does not intend by this to oppose the importance of right action and, if he speaks of the end of the Law, he does not declare the Ten Commandments obsolete and irrelevant. It is not necessary at the moment to reflect on the whole question that the Apostle was concerned with. It is important to stress that by the term "Law" he does not mean the Ten Commandments, but the complex way of life by which Israel had to protect itself against paganism. Now, however, Christ has brought God to the pagans. This form of distinction was not to be imposed upon them.
  • Christ alone was given to them as Law. But this means the love of God and neighbor and all that pertains to it. The Ten Commandments read in a new and deeper way beginning with Christ are part of this love. These commandments are nothing other than the basic rules of true love: first of all and as fundamental principle, the worship of God, the primacy of God, which the first three commandments express. They tell us: Without God nothing comes out right. Who this God is and how he is, we know from the person of Jesus Christ.
    The sanctity of the family follows (fourth commandment), holiness of life (fifth commandment), the ordering of matrimony (sixth commandment), the regulation of society (seventh commandment) and finally the inviolability of the truth (eighth commandment). All of this is of maximum relevance today and precisely also in St Paul's sense -- if we read all of his letters. "Bear fruit with good works:" At the beginning of Holy Week we pray to the Lord to grant all of us this fruit more and more
  • At the end of the Gospel for the blessing of the palms we hear the acclamation with which the pilgrims greet Jesus at the gates of Jerusalem. They are the words of Psalm 118 (117), that originally the priests proclaimed to the pilgrims from the Holy City but that, after a period, became an expression of messianic hope: "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" (Psalm 118[117]:26; Luke 19:38). The pilgrims see in Jesus the one whom they have waited for, who comes in the name of the Lord, indeed, according to the St. Luke's Gospel, they insert another word: "Blessed is he who comes, the king, in the name of the Lord."
  • And they follow this with an acclamation that recalls the message of the angels at Christmas, but they modify it in a way that gives pause. The angels had spoken of the glory of God in the highest heavens and of peace on earth for men of divine goodwill. The pilgrims at the entrance to the Holy City say: "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heavens!" They know well that there is no peace on earth. And they know that the place of peace is in heaven. Thus this acclamation is an expression of a profound suffering and it is also a prayer of hope:
    May he who comes in the name of the Lord bring to earth what is in heaven. The Church, before the Eucharistic consecration, sings the words of the Psalm with which Jesus is greeted before his entrance into the Holy City: It greets Jesus as the King who, coming from God, enters in our midst in God's name.
  • Today too this joyous greeting is always supplication and hope. Let us pray to the Lord that he bring heaven to us: God's glory and peace among men. We understand such a greeting in the spirit of the request of the Our Father: "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!" We know that heaven is heaven, a place of glory and peace, because there the will of God rules completely. And we know that earth is not heaven until the will of God is accomplished on it. So we greet Jesus, who comes from heaven and we pray to him to help us know and do God's will. May the royalty of God enter into the world and in this way it be filled with the splendor of peace. Amen.

Ronald Knox Palm Sun

Passion(Palm) Sunday

From the writings of Ronald Knox (Stimuli, XIV, The Sowing, 29-30)

Holy Week

ANYBODY would have told you, if you had asked in Jerusalem on the first Palm Sunday, that Jesus of Nazareth was at the height of his popularity. It even looked as if his reputation was destined to go beyond the limits of Palestine. Some Greeks, who had come up to Jerusalem for the feast, expressed a desire to see him. If we may use a modern comparison without irreverence, he was in the position of some popular leader nowadays when the foreign journalists begin to take notice of him. What was the" interview" he gave them? A curious one. "The hour is come for the Son of Man to be glorified. A grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die, or else it remains nothing more than a grain of wheat; but if it dies, then it yields rich fruit."

Our Lord Jesus Christ did not come to earth to share our crowns. The pageantry with which he rode into Jerusalem was not what it looked like, a bid for popular leadership. Rather, it was a kind of satire on worldly success; he would heighten the contrast between that whirl of popularity in which he lived, and the lonely contempt in which he died, by a dramatic gesture. Those palms should lie trodden in the dust for days afterwards, to remind the world how brief are its triumphs. He had come to earth to die. His human body should be lodged in the earth like a grain of wheat, to yield the splendid harvest of his Resurrection. And it was our Resurrection, as well as his; we were to see with our eyes, handle with our hands, the mystery which still baffles our understanding, the law of death in life and life in death.

It would not be difficult to illustrate that moral by an allusion to those many countries in the modern world which lie dead, awaiting their Resurrection. But perhaps the best way of keeping a day of intercession is to look beyond the immediate prospect which drives us to our knees.

Holy week should be a week of holydays-holidays from the problems and fears which occupy our thoughts. Your soul is a grain of wheat which must fall into the ground and die, on pain of sterility; only by a death to self and a Resurrection into the world of grace can it become fruitful for God. We must enter into the joys of Easter by entering into the sufferings and the death of Christ. Entering into them, not by way of artistic appreciation, not by merely feeling sorry about it. We were buried with Christ in our baptism; we are dead, and our life is hidden with Christ in God. Our business this week is to associate our selves with Christ's Passion, to unite ourselves with the dispositions of will and purpose with which he emptied himself, annihilated himself, in our name. Self has to be dragged out and crucified.

New Book:

Ronald Knox and English Catholicism (Paperback)

by Terry Tastard (Author), Gracewing (Oct 2009)

See, Amazon (customer review)

“A welcome new biography", By J. R. Gunsel,15 Dec 2009 " . . .

Knox's abiding legacy is his translation of the Bible which has always had its critics. Every child in my Westminster diocesan school was given a 'Knox Bible' to keep, testimony to the very Edwardian Knox's influence even through the upheavals of Vatican II. On my bookshelf, the AV, RSV, NEB and JB sit alongside my old school Knox which alone is terribly dog-eared; the others have received more respectful but far less affectionate treatment. Perhaps Knox's Evangelical patrimony, so well described by Tastard, accounts for the touching tenderness found so often in Knox's text. The relaxed yet consciously hieratic rhythm in his Job XXII: 21-28, for example, encapsulates sweetly and succinctly the eternal promise of the Christian vocation, conveying such an assurance of love as to comprise a near-perfect form of blessing".

. . .

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Gregory Nazianzen


First Reading

From the book of Numbers (24:1-19)

Second Reading

From a homily by Saint Gregory Nazianzen (Oratio 45, 23-24: PG 36, 653-656)

Saint Gregory was at his best in his homilies, forty-five of which are still extant. Most of them may be dated between 379 and 381, when he was bishop of Constantinople. In the present extract he shows the practical way in which Christians should share in the paschal mystery.

  • We are soon going to share in the Passover, and although we still do so only in a symbolic way, the symbolism already has more clarity than it possessed in former times, because under the law the Passover was, if I may dare to say so, only a symbol of a symbol Before long, however, when the Word drinks the new wine with us in the kingdom of his Father, we shall be keeping the Passover in a yet more perfect way, and with deeper understanding: he will then reveal to us and make clear what he has so far only partially disclosed.
    For this wine, so familiar to us now, is eternally new.

  • It is for us to learn what this drinking is, and for him to teach us.
    He has to communicate this knowledge to his disciples, because teaching is food even for the teacher.

  • So let us take our part in the Passover prescribed by the law, not in a literal way, but according to the teaching of the Gospel; not in an imperfect way, but perfectly; not only for a time, but eternally.
    Let us regard as our home the heavenly Jerusalem, not the earthly one; the city glorified by angels, not the one laid waste by armies.

  • We are not required to sacrifice young bulls or rams, beasts with horns and hoofs that are more dead than alive and devoid of feeling; but instead, let us join the choirs of angels in offering God upon his heavenly altar a sacrifice of praise.

  • We must now pass through the first veil and approach the second, turning our eyes toward the Holy of Holies.

  • I will say more: we must sacrifice ourselves to God, each day and in everything we do, accepting all that happens to us for the sake of the Word imitating his passion by our sufferings, and honoring his blood by shedding our own We must be ready to be crucified.

  • If you are a Simon of Cyrene, take up your cross and follow Christ.

  • If you are crucified beside him like one of the thieves, now like the good thief acknowledge your God.

  • For your sake, and because of your sin, Christ himself was regarded as a sinner; for his sake, therefore, you must cease to sin.
    Worship him who was hung on the cross because of you even if you are hanging there yourself. Derive some benefit from the very shame; purchase salvation with your death.

  • Enter paradise with Jesus, and discover how far you have fallen.

  • Contemplate the glories there, and leave the other scoffing thief to die outside in his blasphemy.

  • If you are a Joseph of Arimathea, go to the one who ordered his crucifixion and ask for Christ's body: make your own the expiation for the sins of the whole world.

  • If you are a Nicodemus, like the man who worshiped God by night, bring spices and prepare Christ's body for burial.

  • If you are one of the Marys, or Salome, or Joanna, weep in the early morning. Be the first to see the stone rolled back, and even the angels perhaps, and Jesus himself.