RSS

Tag Archives: Redemption

8th APRIL, GOSPEL READING (JOHN 8:21-30)

WHEN YOU HAVE LIFTED UP THE SON OF MAN, THEN YOU WILL KNOW THAT I AM HE.

Jesus said to the Pharisees:
“I am going away; you will look for me
and you will die in your sin.
Where I am going, you cannot come.”

The Jews said to one another, “Will he kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” Jesus went on:
“You are from below;
I am from above.
You are of this world;
I am not of this world.
I have told you already: You will die in your sins.
Yes, if you do not believe that I am He,
you will die in your sins.”

So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus answered:
“What I have told you from the outset.
About you I have much to say
and much to condemn;
but the one who sent me is truthful,
and what I have learnt from him
I declare to the world.”

They failed to understand that he was talking to them about the Father. So Jesus said:
“When you have lifted up the Son of Man,
then you will know that I am He
and that I do nothing of myself:
what the Father has taught me
is what I preach;
he who sent me is with me,
and he has not left me to myself,
for I always do what pleases him.”
As he was saying this, many came to believe in him.

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

14th MARCH, RESPONSORIAL PSALM (PSALM 129)

Psalm 129, “De Profundis”, prayed also for the faithful departed.

R. If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?

1. Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice!
O let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleading. (R.)

2. If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?
But with you is found forgiveness:
for this we revere you. (R.)

3. My soul is waiting for the Lord,
I count on his word.
My soul is longing for the Lord
more than watchman for daybreak.
Let the watchman count on daybreak
and Israel on the Lord. (R.)

4. Because with the Lord there is mercy
and fullness of redemption,
Israel indeed he will redeem
from all its iniquity. (R.)

ACCLAMATION

Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and that the Lord God of hosts may really be with you.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

WHEN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, THE WORLD HAD THREE FLOORS AND THE EARTH WAS UPHELD BY PILLARS – AND AT ONE POINT, EVERYTHING CHANGED FOR US…

“The first Christians were predominantly of Jewish extraction. The way they understood the physical world around them enabled them to understand the meaning of the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus in a unique way that still has implications for us today. Their primary understanding of redemption was firstly formed by the belief in the way God had created the world around them, and secondly in their belief in a universal truth. Their understanding of the physical structure of the world was, however, archaic, but the universal truth, namely that love is communicated by touch, was right. Nevertheless by putting these two concepts together considerable light can be thrown on the essence of any authentic spirituality that claims to be Christian.

HUMAN BEINGS LIVED IN A WORLD WITH THREE FLOORS

In the Old Testament human beings lived in a world with three floors. On the first floor, upheld by pillars to stop the earth from falling into the waters below, men and women lived out their lives until when, after death, they were sent down to the ground floor to live in the shadowy world of Sheol. What we would call the sky, they called the firmament. God was seated on a throne above it using it as his ‘footstool’. The firmament was visualised as something solid, rather like a transparent cooking pot that enabled God to observe how human beings were behaving. The firmament was supported on either side by the ‘eternal hills’ and had flaps strategically placed, enabling God to send down rain and snow, wind and thunderbolts, and angels too, when their services were being called for. Although the sun shone as it arched its way across the firmament, like the moon and the stars, the ground floor and the first floor had been plunged into spiritual darkness. These were now the places where the demons ruled, ever since the first man and woman had rejected God. So, in future men and women would no longer ‘walk and talk’ with God, ‘in the cool of the evening’, as they had done in the first paradise.

LAYING ON OF HANDS

When Jesus was born on the first floor, His physical presence radiated the love that shone out of Him to bring light where darkness had prevailed before. This love, like all human love, was communicated through touch, by a kiss, an embrace, by the washing of feet, all common practices in the world into which He was born. The very moment after His death on the cross, the New Testament pictured Christ descending into Sheol on the ground floor, to redeem those who had died before Him with the fullness of love that He had just received. It was believed that all who died before Christ’s coming would have to wait for His redemptive action. The same demons that were put to flight as He descended through the nether regions to release the ‘captives’ were put to flight for a second time, as He ascended through the air above, leading the captives back to His Father. Now seated at God’s right hand they could both send the Holy Spirit through the corridor made through the realm of the demons at His Ascension. This enabled the love that the apostles had already received to be surcharged on the first Pentecost Day with the Pleroma, or the fullness of love, that He had received on the first Easter Day. Now they in their turn literally handed on what they had received from Jesus to all who freely chose to receive it. That’s why all the sacraments involved the laying on of hands, so that what Christ had handed on to the apostles could be handed on generation after generation all the way down to us.

CHRIST’S TOUCH

So it is absolutely true to say that the love that Jesus experienced after His resurrection is handed on to us today through the hands of the priest who baptised us, and through the hands of the bishop who confirmed us. The measure in which that love possesses us is only limited by our capacity to receive it. These physical touches that happen but twice through the priest and through the bishop can be received every day through the touch of Christ Himself in thhe sacred mysteries. That is why for St Francis this was the most profound mystery of all:

‘He shows Himself to us in this sacred bread as He once appeared to His apostles in real flesh. With their own eyes they saw only flesh, but they believed that He was God, because they contemplated Him with the eyes of the spirit. We too with our own eyes see only bread and wine, but we must see further and firmly believe that this is His most holy Body and Blood living and true. In this way our Lord remains continually with His followers, as He promised: ‘Behold I am with you all days even to the end of the world’.” (Admonition 1)

The common belief of the first Christians in a universe with three floors was, of course, erroneous, but it is worth understanding for the insight which it can give us into the essential meaning of ‘Physical Redemption’ which cannot be discarded. It is the physical presence of Christ bursting with uncreated life and energy which brought and still brings to this world the love that impelled God to create it in the first place. It is this love and this love alone that, as was revealed to St Francis on La Verna, unites us to God.

ASCETICISM OF THE HEART

Now the most powerful form of energy that was originally responsible for the creation of the world entered the world again as human love in the person of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the story of how this otherworrldly
love gradually penetrated every part of Him, until it reached out through Him to others to transform their lives, as it had transformed His. There is [daily Holy Mass] one way to receive this love, as St Francis shows throughout his life, and that is to set aside daily quality space and time for prayer. When anyone asks me what ascetical practice they should adopt, I always answer that first and above all others you should adopt the asceticism of the heart. That is: don’t give up anything you like or enjoy (apart from sin, of course!) Except if it prevents you from giving quality space and time for daily prayer each day.

If you do that, come what may, you will eventually receive the love that will make you want to throw away all the so called pleasures and pasttimes that you once thought you could not do without, just as a miner throws away the dross when he has found true gold. The big question that was continually asked by the Fathers of the Church was not how do we love God, but what do we do to allow His love to enter into us so that He can give us the inner power and strength to love Him as we should and to love our neighbour as ourselves. As Jesus put it: First seek God and His kingdom and then everything else will be given to you. Prayer was everything in the spirituality of St Francis, all he was given, all he received, was received there.”
– This article by David Torkington was published in Messenger of Saint Anthony, March 2013 issue. For subscriptions, please contact: Messenger of Saint Anthony, Basilica del Santo, via Orto Botanico 11, 35123 Padua, Italy.

NB ÷ NB ÷ NB ÷ NB ÷ NB ÷ NB ÷ NB ÷ NB ÷ NB ÷ NB ÷ NB ÷ NB

[ NB. The greatest prayer is the Holy Mass. Those who pray well alone, however, pray also best together. And also remember to offer the Holy Rosary at least once a day in our troubled times, PLEASE. ♥ ]

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THE FEAST OF MERCY

The Feast of Mercy is officially celebrated on the Sunday after Easter, as requested by our Lord.

The Feast should be preceded by a Novena of Chaplets to the Divine Mercy beginning on Good Friday.

The Sermon by the priest that day should be on Divine Mercy – that is the mercy which God the Father bestows on us through Jesus Christ His Son.

That we contemplate, on this day, the Mystery of Redemption as the greatest revelation of Divine Mercy towards us.

The Image of the Divine Mercy is to be ceremoniously blessed that day.

The Image is to be publicly venerated. The Image should be exposed to all taking part in the celebration (to demonstrate this, an Image could be left in a position that all can touch and say “Jesus I trust in You”). This can be carried out during the celebration like the kissing of the Cross on Good Friday or as people leave the Church, if numbers prevent it during the ceremony.

Confession and communion on the day. If confession is not available on the day it should be as close to the day as possible. St Faustina made it on the Saturday before the Feast. Communion, as always, should be a worthy one and must be accompanied by complete trust in Divine Mercy.

That an act of Mercy should take place in our lives, as part of our preparation for the feast. We should be merciful to others in our words, deeds and prayers:

Merciful Word: Forgiving and comforting
Merciful Deed: Any of the corporal works of mercy
Merciful Prayer: Prayers for Mercy for the world.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

ABOUT THE EASTER TRIDUUM

The greatest mysteries of the Redemption are celebrated yearly by the Church, beginning with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday and continuing until Vespers on Easter Sunday. This time is called ‘the triduum of the crucified, buried and risen’, it is also called the ‘Easter Triduum’ because during it is celebrated the Paschal mystery, that is the passing of the Lord from this world to his Father. The Church by the celebration of this mystery, through liturgical signs and sacramentals, is united to Christ, her Spouse, in intimate communion.

The Easter fast is sacred on the first two days of the Triduum, during which, according to ancient tradition, the Church fasts ‘because the Spouse has been taken away’. Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence; it is also recommended that Holy Saturday be so observed, so that, the Church, with uplifted and welcoming heart, be ready to celebrate the joys of the Sunday of the Resurrection.

It is recommended that there be a communal celebration of the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. It is fitting that the bishop should celebrate the Office in the cathedral with, as far as possible, the participation of the clergy and people. This Office, formerly called ‘Tenebrae’, held a special place in the devotion of the faithful, as they meditated upon the passion, death and burial of the Lord, while awaiting the announcement of the Resurrection.

For the celebration of the Easter Triduum it is necessary that there should be a sufficient number of ministers and assistants who should be prepared so that they know what their role is in the celebration. Pastors must ensure that the meaning of each part of the celebration be explained to the faithful so that they may participate more fully and fruitfully.

The chants of the people and also of the ministers and the celebrating priest are of special importance in the celebration of Holy Week and particularly of the Easter Triduum, because they add to the solemnity of these days, and also because the texts are more effective when sung.

Episcopal Conferences are asked, unless provision has already been made, to provide music for those parts which it can be said should always be sung, namely:
(a) The General Intercessions of Good Friday; the deacon’s invitation and the acclamation of the people;
(b) chants for the showing and veneration of the cross;
(c) the acclamations during the procession with the paschal candle and the Easter proclamation, the responsorial ‘Alleluia’, the litany of the saints, and the acclamation after the blessing of water.

Since the purpose of sung texts is also to facilitate the participation of the faithful they should not be lightly omitted; such texts should be set to music. If the text for use in the Liturgy has not yet been set to music it is possible as a temporary measure to select other similar texts which are set to music. It is, however, fitting that there should be a collection of texts set to music for these celebrations, paying special attention to:
(a) chants for the procession and blessing of palms, and for the entrance into church;
(b) chants to accompany the procession with the Holy Oils;
(c) chants to accompany the procession with the gifts on Holy Thursday in the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper, and hymns to accompany the procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the place of repose;
(d) the responsorial psalms at the Easter Vigil, and chants to accompany the sprinkling with blessed water.
Music should be provided for the Passion narrative, the Easter proclamation, and the blessing of baptismal water. Obviously the melodies should be of a simple nature in order to facilitate their use.
In larger churches where resources permit, a more ample use should be made of the Church’s musical heritage both ancient and modern, always ensuring that this does not impede the active participation of the faithful.

It is fitting that small religious communities, both clerical and lay, and other lay groups, should participate in the celebration of the Easter Triduum in neighbouring principal churches.

Similarly where the number of participants and ministers is so small that the celebrations of the Easter Triduum cannot be carried out with the requisite solemnity, such groups of the faithful should assemble in a larger church.

Also where there are small parishes with only one priest it is recommended that such parishes should assemble, as far as possible, in a principal church and there participate in the celebrations.

On account of the needs of the faithful, where a pastor has the responsibility for two or more parishes, in which the faithful assemble in large numbers and where the celebrations can be carried out with the requisite care and solemnity, the celebrations of the Easter Triduum may be repeated in accord with the given norms.

So that seminary students ‘may live fully Christ’s paschal mystery, and thus be able to teach those who will be committed to their care’, they should be given a thorough and comprehensive liturgical formation. It is important that during their formative years in the seminary they should experience fruitfully the solemn Easter celebrations, especially those over which the bishop presides.
– given at Rome, at the Offices of the Congregation for Divine Worship, 16 January 1988

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,