Tag Archives: ashes

Ash Wednesday and Mystical Death

for Swahili

A letter St. Paul of the Cross wrote about “mystical death” may help us celebrate Ash Wednesday.

“You can live as a true servant and friend of God by dying each day: ‘We die daily; for you are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God.’ It’s a mystical death I want you to undergo. I’m confident that you will be reborn to new life in the sacred mysteries of Jesus Christ, if you die mystically in Christ more and more each day, in the depths of the Divinity. Let your life be hidden with Christ in God…

“Think about a mystical death. Dying mystically means thinking only of living a divine life, desiring only God, accepting everything God sends without worrying about it. It means ignoring everything else so that God can work in your soul, in the sanctuary of your soul, where no creature, angelic or human, can go and where you can experience God working and being born, as you mystically die.

“But I’m in a hurry, and this note is getting too mystical, so listen to it with a grain of salt, because we don’t get it.”    (Letter, Dec 28, 1758)

ashes

Ash Wednesday’s a good time to try to “get” what the saint is saying.  Ashes are placed on our foreheads in the form of a cross and a few simple words are said: “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

A reminder we will die. Yet, this brief symbolic act says much more. A daily mystical death is now taking place within us. Our physical life will end, the ashes tell us; the day and hour unknown. But ashes in the form of a cross say Jesus Christ changes death. “Dying, you destroyed our death. Rising, you restored our life.” Jesus Christ has made his risen life ours. His gift is hidden from us; what he promises we will experience when we enter his glory.

Meanwhile, the mystery of his death and resurrection is at work in us now. Enter this mystery mystically, St. Paul of the Cross says. Daily, deliberately, attentively accept God working within you. A new life is being born in you, though you do not see it.  Desire it, accept what God sends, without worry. God is working within you through the mystery of the Lord’s cross.

Yet, the saint says in his letter that he has to hurry off, like the rest of us, to something else. He’s going somewhere, he has something to do, someone to see, and he tells his correspondent that you can’t think about deep things too long. No, we can’t.

And so, we only glimpse the mystery of the ashes that placed on us. Still, let’s hear the Lord’s voice in today’s readings and the signs of the liturgy. Ash Wednesday is an ambassador God sends to remind us he is at work in us; he’ll send  graces through the days of Lent and Easter. Yes, all the days of our life.

Embrace his cross each day and die mystically and be born anew.

En Espanol

Una carta que San Pablo de la Cruz escribió sobre “la muerte mística” nos podría ayudar a celebrar el Miércoles de Cenizas.

“Tú puedes vivir como un verdadero ciervo y amigo de Dios si murieras cada día: ‘ Morimos diariamente; porque tú estas muerto y tú vida está oculta adentro de Cristo en Dios.’ Es una muerte mística a la que yo quiero que tú te sometas. Tengo confianza de que tú renacerás a una nueva vida dentro de los sagrados misterios de Jesús Cristo, si tú mueres misticamente en Cristo más y más cada día, en las profundidades de la Divinidad. Deja que tu vida se pierda dentro de Cristo en Dios…

“Piensa sobe la muerte mística. Morir misticamente significa pensar solamente en vivir una vida Divina, deseando solamente a Dios, aceptando todo lo que Dios manda sin preocuparse sobre ello. Significa ignorar todo lo demás para que Dios pueda obrar en tu alma, en el santuario de tu alma, donde ninguna criatura, angélica o humana, puede ir, y donde tú puedas sentir a Dios trabajando y naciendo, mientras tú mueres misticamente.

“Pero, estoy apresurado, y esta nota se está poniendo muy mística, así que escúchala pero no te obsesiones, porque esto nosotros no lo podemos captar.”( Carta,  28 de diciembre,1758)

El Miércoles de Cenizas es una buena ocasión para poder captar lo que el santo está diciendo. Cenizas son untadas sobre nuestras frentes en la forma de una cruz y unas sencillas palabras son dichas: ” Recuerda que tú eres polvo y al polvo retornarás .”

Un recuerdo de que vamos a morir. Sin embargo, este breve acto simbólico dice tanto más. Una muerte mística diaria en este momento está tomando lugar dentro de nosotros. Nuestra vida física va a terminar, nos dicen las cenizas; el día y la hora, desconocidos. Pero cenizas en la forma de una cruz nos dicen que Jesús transforma la muerte. ” Al morir Tú destruistes nuestra muerte. Resucitando, restaurastes nuestra vida.” Jesús Cristo ha convertido su vida resucitada en nuestra vida. Este regalo de Él está escondido de nuestros ojos; lo que Él promete lo experimentaremos cuando entremos en su Gloria.

Mientras tanto, el misterio de su muerte y resurreción está operando adentro de nosotros. Entra adentro de este misterio misticamente, nos dice San Pablo de la Cruz. Diariamente, deliberadamente, atentamente acepta a Dios obrando dentro de tí. Una nueva vida está naciendo en tí, aunque no lo veas. Deséalo, acepta lo que Dios te manda sin preocupación. Dios está obrando adentro de tí a través del misterio de la cruz del Señor.

Sin embargo, el santo dice en su carta que está apurado y tiene que irse, como el resto de nosotros hacia otra cosa. Va para algún lugar, tiene algo que hacer, alguien que ver, y le dice a su corresponsal , que no se puede estar pensando sobre cosas profundas por mucho tiempo. No, no podemos.

Y así, nosotros solamete vislumbramos por un segundo el misterio de las cenizas que untan sobre nosotros. De todas maneras, escuchemos la voz del Señor en las lecturas de hoy y en los signos de la liturgia. El Miércoles de Cenizas es un embajador que Dios nos manda para recordarnos que Él está operando dentro de nosotros; Él nos mandará Su gracia a través de los días de Cuaresma y de Pascua. Sí, y todos los días de nuestra vida.

Abraza su Cruz cada día y muere misticamente para poder renacer.

Swahili
Lent

Jumatano Ya Majivu
Padre Evans FwambaCp
Mt. Paulo Wa Msalaba aliandika, “Kifo ni fumbo” na kinaweza kutusaidia kusherehekea vyema Jumatano ya Majivu. Maisha kwa watumishi wa kweli ni kuwa marafiki wa mungu, kwamba tunakufa kila siku; kifo chetu na kuishi vimefichika kwa kristo na kwa mungu. Hiki ni kifo ambacho ni fumbo ambalo, nina hakika kwamba tutazaliwa katika maisha mapya kupitia mafumbo matakatifu ya Yesu Kristo, kadiri tunavyo kufa zaidi na zaidi kila siku katika fumbo la kifo cha Kristo na katika undani wa mungu. Tunatambua maisha yetu yote yamefichika ndani ya kristo na mungu.

Fikiria juu ya kifo cha fumbo. Kifo cha fumbo kinamaanisha kufikiri maisha ya kimungu, kumtamani mungu peke yake. Kupokea mapenzi ya mungu bila wasiwasi wowote. Hii inamaanisha kudharau kila kitu ili mungu afanye kazi ndani ya mioyo yetu, ambapo hakuna kiumbe chochote kinaweza kuingia wala malaika au mwanadam. Hapo tunaweza kuona kazi ya mungu ndani yetu katika kufa kwetu ambayo ni fumbo.
“Ila nina haraka, na maandishi haya yanakuwa fumbo, basi yasikilize na punje ya chumvi kwani hatuwezi kuelewa.” (Barua, Dec 28,1758)

Tunapopakwa majivu, ishara ndogo ya msalaba hafanywa kwenye paji la uso na maneno yafuatayo husemwa, “Kumbuka wewe u mavumbi na mavumbini utarudi.” Hiyo alama ya msalaba inamaana kubwa sana. Inatukumbusha kwamba tuliumbwa kutoka udongoni na humo udongoni tutarudi. Kwamba maisha ya mwanadam ni msalaba na kifo ni fumbo kwetu.

Tunakumbushwa kwamba maisha yetu ya kimwili yataisha na kwa ishara ya msalaba, kifo chake Kristo kitabadili maisha yetu kwa ufufuko wake na kuturejeshea uhai.Majivu yanatukumbusha kwamba sisi hatujui mda wala siku tutakapokufa. Mt. Paulo anasema kwamba tafakari kila siku na kupokea kwa makini kazi ya mungu inayofanyika katika maisha yako. Maisha mapya yanazaliwa ndani yako, ingawa huwezi kutambua au kuona.

Mungu anafanya kazi ndani yako kupitia fumbo la msalaba wa Yesu.
Tunapopakwa majivu tunatafakari juu ya msalaba na maisha yetu. Leo tusikilize masomo na ishara za liturijia. Jumatano ya majivu ni kama balozi aliyetumwa na mungu kwetu kutukumbusha kwamba mungu anafanya kazi maishani mwetu. Katika mfungo huu mtakatifu wa kwaresima, mungu anatutumia neema katika kipindi kizima cha kwaresima na pasaka, ndio, na katika maisha yetu yote.
Tupokee msalaba wa Kristu kila siku na tuwa tayari kufa na Kristu katika fumbo la mateso na kifo chake ili tuweze kuzaliwa upya.

Ash Wednesday and Mystical Death

An excerpt from a letter of St. Paul of the Cross about mystical death may help us celebrate Ash Wednesday.

“Life for true servants and friends of God means dying every day: ‘We die daily; for you are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God.’ This is the mystical death I want you to undergo.

I’m confident that you will be reborn to a new life in the sacred mysteries of Jesus Christ, as you die mystically in Christ more and more each day, in the depths of the Divinity. Let your life be hidden with Christ in God…

Think about mystical death. Dying mystically means thinking only of living a divine life, desiring only God, accepting all that God sends and not worrying about it. It means ignoring everything else so that God can work in your soul, in the sanctuary of your soul, where no creature, angelic or human, can go. There you experience God working and being born as you mystically die.

But I’m in a hurry, and this note is getting too mystical, so listen to it with a grain of salt, because we don’t get it.”    (Letter, Dec 28, 1758)

On Ash Wednesday, ashes are placed on our foreheads in the form of a cross and some simple words are said: “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

A reminder we will die. Yet, so much more is said in this brief symbolic act. A daily mystical death is also taking place within us. Our physical life will end, the ashes tell us;  the day and hour are unknown. But ashes in the form of a cross tell us Jesus Christ changes death. “Dying, you destroyed our death. Rising, you restored our life.” Jesus Christ has made his risen life ours. Though his gift is hidden, we will experience it when we enter his glory.

Meanwhile, the mystery of his death and resurrection is at work in us now. Share this mystery mystically,  St. Paul of the Cross says in the letter quoted above. Daily, deliberately, attentively turn to God working within you. A new life is being born in you, though you may not see it.  Desire it, accept it in whatever God sends, without worry. God is working within through the mystery of the Lord’s cross.

Yet the saint, like the rest of us, has to hurry off to something else. He’s going somewhere, or has something to do, or someone to see, and he tells his correspondent that you can’t think about deep things too long. It’s a mystery beyond us.

And so, we only glimpse this mystery as ashes are placed on us. Still, may we hear the Lord’s voice in the day’s readings and in the signs of the liturgy. Ash Wednesday is an ambassador sent by God reminding us of his work for us; he will send his graces through the days of Lent and Easter. Yes, through all the days of our life.

Let us embrace his cross each day and die mystically and be born anew.

If you’re interested in more on Ash Wednesday and Lent, go here.

Ash Wednesday: Remembering and Turning

Religious language and customs lose their meaning when we don’t think about them. The ashes used today are from palm branches from last year’s Palm Sunday celebration. Once carried to shouts of glory, they’re reminders now of death. “Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

The biblical word “repent” is translated “turn”–calling us to turn away from sin and turn to God. It’s a certain kind of turning we’re called to make. Not a casual turning from curiosity, quickly returning to what really matters–ourselves.
We’re called to turn to God, our creator and redeemer, keeping  our eyes fixed on the One who is the source of our life.  We turn to God in humble appreciation to receive his promise of forgiveness and love.
“Someone wise must not glory in his wisdom, someone strong must not glory in his strength, someone rich must not glory in his riches.”

We come to God with nothing, so we might be filled.

Turning from sin, from anger, from resentment, we come to a gentle, forgiving  God who blesses us with gifts this holy season, through the intercession of Jesus, his Son. We know we have turned if we are gentle and forgiving of one another.
We are blessed with the sign of his cross today.