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he gets it, she gets it; God gets it, we get it

3 Apr

Good Friday wall 01

On Good Friday the wall behind our altar is noticeably blank. Something is missing. If one looks closely, one sees where the crucifix usually is. It is taken down to be carried in procession into church for the Veneration of the Cross during the Liturgy of Lord’s Passion.

Good Friday wall 02

Jesus knows suffering: physical suffering, emotional suffering, and spiritual suffering. He knew the pain of whips, thorns and nails. He knew the pain of betrayal and the pain of being left alone in agony. He knew the pain of feeling abandoned by God. He knows suffering.

When we go to him because we are suffering, physically, emotionally or spiritually, we know that he understands. He gets it!

Here’s how I tried to say that on Good Friday:

During the veneration of the cross our music director played a piece for the first here at St. Andrew, which was the first time ever that the piece was played and sung anywhere. The “Ave Maria – Woman of Sorrow” was written/composed by our Deacon, Timothy S. Schutte, at the death of Pope John Paul II. Good Friday is the one day of the year that the text and music is appropriate; it is meant for Good Friday. The piece joins the Annunciation and the Crucifixion, the conception of Jesus in her womb and the death of Jesus on his cross. As Mary stands at the foot of the cross in her overwhelming grief, she remembers and feels all over again her bewilderment when she was face to face with the angel Gabriel.

Ave Maria Schutte

The refrain is the words of the angel to Mary, “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, and blessed are you” (in Latin). In the grief of Good Friday, Mary speaks, “My Heart pierced through, / my sorrow the sword. / His mission done, / my tears freely flow,” and then the line that connects this moment to her response to the angel, “Look what my ‘yes’ has done.” But then God speaks, “Oh fairest one, / do not despair /  your Son and Mine, Divine Heir / His love poured out, / My face you see,” and ends with a phrase echoing back to Mary her own words, “Look what your ‘yes’ has done.”

Here’s how our choir sang it on Good Friday:

In the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, we pray, “Eternal Father, for the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”

returning to our first love

21 Apr

“In the Cross we see the monstrosity of man, when we allow ourselves to be guided by evil; but we also see the immensity of God’s mercy who does not treat us according to our sins, but according to His mercy.” 

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“The message which Christians bring to the world is this: Jesus, Love incarnate, died on the cross for our sins, but God the Father raised him and made him the Lord of life and death. In Jesus, love has triumphed over hatred, mercy over sinfulness, goodness over evil, truth over falsehood, life over death.”

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Descent from the Cross

30 Mar

Descent from Cross

The Descent from the Cross is a panel painting by the Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden created c. 1435, now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid.

their cross and His cross

29 Mar

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Jesus never gave up.

And he doesn’t give up on us. 

Jesus always did the will of the Father.

And it is the will of the Father we will all be saved.

During this Holy Week I have carried with me in my pocket a small wooden cross. It has reminded me of the cross that my Palestinian friends in Beit Jala (Bethlehem) carry every day. I wanted to carry their cross with me this week, and, during the veneration of the cross on Good Friday, to touch it to the cross at church.

Today I touched that cross – their cross – to the cross of Jesus, and I held that cross – their cross – in my hands all during the time during which all the others came to the sanctuary to venerate the cross. I asked Jesus to either take the cross of occupation off their backs or to let them know in their arms and legs, in their minds and hearts that he was carrying it with them.

I haven’t decided yet whether I will hide that little cross in the Easter lilies on Sunday or give it to the Catholic parish priest in Beit Jala when I see him in June.

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we help to carry it as Simon of Cyrene did

29 Mar

Station 5 Way of Cross Pope Francis 2013Way of the Cross at the Coliseum, Stations of the Cross led by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, on Good Friday: The Passion of the Lord Meditations by Lebanese young people under the guidance of His Eminent Beatitude Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï.

[Whenever I pray the 5th station, I think of our suffering brother and sister Palestinians in Beit Jala. I like to think that, in some small way that might help them to keep hope, we help them carry their cross.]

V Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the Cross

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke 23:26

As they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the Cross, to carry it behind Jesus.

Jesus’ meeting with Simon of Cyrene took place in silence, providing us with a lesson for our lives: God does not want suffering and he does not accept evil. The same is true of the human being. But suffering, accepted in faith, is transformed into a path of salvation. Then we accept it as Jesus did, and we help to carry it as Simon of Cyrene did.

Lord Jesus,
you have involved man in the carrying of your Cross.
You have invited us to share your sufferings.
Simon of Cyrene is like us
and he teaches us to accept the Cross
that we encounter on the paths of life.

Following your example, Lord,
we too carry the Cross
of suffering and illness today,
but we accept it because you are with us.
It can nail us to our chair,
but it cannot prevent us from dreaming;
it can obscure our vision,
but it cannot touch our conscience;
it can deafen our ears,
but it cannot prevent us from listening;
it can bind our tongue
but it cannot suppress our thirst for truth;
it can weigh down our spirit,
but it cannot rob us of our freedom.

Lord,
we want to be your disciples
so as to carry your Cross every day;
we will carry it with joy and hope
because you are carrying it with us,
because you have triumphed over death for us.

We give you thanks, Lord,
for every sick or ailing person
who knows how to bear witness to your love,
and for every “Simon of Cyrene”
whom you place on our journey.
Amen.

for us and for all

29 Mar

Calvary jen holy land 964 (788)

He broke his body and poured out his blood – for us and for all!

Calvary DSC_1650

Good News for Good Friday

29 Mar

Good Friday

at St. Andrew

 Morning Prayer: 8:00 am (in  Church Hall)

Way of the Cross: 12 noon

Good Friday Liturgy: 1:30 pm

Night Prayer: 10:00 pm (in Church Hall)

We adore your Cross, O Lord,

we praise and glorify your holy Resurrection,

for behold, because of the wood of a tree

joy has come to the whole world.

“Shadow” Stations by 7th grade at SASEAS School

28 Mar

Shadow Stations 2013

The Fifth Station:  Simon Helps to Carry the Cross

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.

Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Jesus, as you grow weaker, the soldiers grow impatient.  They worry this execution will take too long.  They grab a random man from the crowd, Simon, traveling from Cyrene for the Passover festival.  Simon does not want to help – he does not want to become involved, but the soldiers force him to help you carry your cross.   Simon’s strong hands somewhat lighten the heavy load for you, dear Jesus.

How many times has God placed an opportunity to help someone else in my path and I ignored it?  I walked past another student whose books are scattered in the stairwell.   I failed to share my lunch with a student who forgot his.  I ignore papers or trash I’ve left on the floor, expecting someone on clean-up duty to pick it up.  I dash to the bus and don’t bother to hold the door for someone behind me. At home, I ignore the basket of clean laundry as I head upstairs.  I make myself scarce when it’s time to carry in groceries or set the dinner table.  I ignore the needs of my younger siblings. 

Let us pray:  Lord, help me notice the needs of those around me.  Help me to do more than just stand there and watch.  Help me to see the needs of others as opportunities to show my love for you; that in loving others, I will surely find you. 

We pray to the Lord.

Lord, hear our prayer.