Tag Archives: prayer

Ash Wednesday

 

 

 

Want to know more about the Passion of Jesus, a mystery that helps us know the mysteries of our lives? Follow the commentaries of Donald Senior, CP. 

Want to know more about the Stations of the Cross? Look into the history of this devotion and some examples of it.

 

The Prayer of Jesus in the Garden

Mount Olives 3

Then going out Jesus went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. When he arrived at the place he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not undergo the test.’

After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.’ And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground.

When he rose from prayer and returned to his disciples, he found them sleeping from grief. He said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not undergo the test.’ Luke 22, 39-46

The Passionists remember The Prayer of Our Lord in the Garden in their liturgical calendar on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Lent is a time of prayer for the church. At this time, St. Paul of the Cross and other Passionist missionaries prepared for ministry in the lenten season. Leaving  their “retreats” they went out to awaken “those who sit in darkness…through the trumpet of God’s word.”

That can’t be done without prayer.

On the Mount of Olives Jesus prayed in the Garden before his arrest and crucifixion. He prayed while his disciples, who would soon abandon him, slept a short distance away. The executioners had not yet come, no scourging, no thorns, no nails had touched him, but here in the dark, Jesus faced death in all its many forms.

He saw before him an awful death by crucifixion, which a criminal faced. The Romans publicized that kind of death to frighten and keep order. They crucified their victims with great publicity outside the city gate. The execution place was chosen for all to see.

Jesus faced other forms of death too. He faced the question prophets faced: “Have I toiled in vain?” The sleeping disciples nearby, the towns that forgot the healing signs he worked, the powerful enemies who sought to destroy him and rejected his teaching. “Have I toiled in vain? Have I failed, have I accomplished anything ?”

Jesus does not pray in many words or set forms. “Father,” he prays to God who cares from him.

“Let this cup pass from me,” he prays from his fears and hopes. “Not my will but yours be done,” he gives himself into his Father’s hands.

His fears are real, so real that “his sweat becomes like blood falling to the ground.” St. Vincent Strambi says Jesus’ bloody sweat is “the voice of his heart, proclaiming his great love and sorrow.”

“An angel came to strengthen him.” God hears and cares and strengthens. “Pray, persevere in prayer.”

 

 

 

 

Two Feasts for Tired Missionaries

I mentioned yesterday the Passionists celebrate two feasts immediately before Ash Wednesday. This Friday it’s the Solemn Commemoration of the Passion of Jesus Christ. On the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the Prayer of Jesus in the Garden.

My intuition is that both feasts come from our missionary founder, St. Paul of the Cross, who for many years spent lent preaching in the villages and towns of the Tuscan Maremma, urging people to receive the graces and good news the lenten season promises.

It was a challenge. The Tuscan Maremma was a place where grace and good news seemed gone. An area in Central Italy facing the Mediterranean Sea of almost 2,000 square miles– roughly the size of Long Island and New York City together– it was the poorest, most troubled part of Italy in Paul’s day. Only gradually, towards the end of the 1700s, after his death, did it begin inching towards recovery.

The Tuscan Maremma–part of Tuscany– is now a popular tourist destination; then it was an unhealthily mix of hills and swamplands. Malaria was widespread, roads were often impassible, dangerous because of bandits. Farmlands were abandoned; beggars were everywhere. The population in isolated villages and hill towns suspected outsiders.
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Paul and his companions preached there for many years. Every year it was the same; it seemed to never change. You need other eyes and another kind of heart to work in a world like that and never tire.

And so as they packed their bags for their lenten journey into the Tuscan Maremma they had to remind themselves what was there before them: the mystery of the Passion of Christ. They needed to pray so they wouldn’t forget. That’s what Jesus did before the mystery of his Passion.

It’s still so today.

The Most Common Occurrence

by Howard Hain

 

Christ lives in the Eucharistic Prayer.

He listens carefully.

The Father listens too.

We listen with Them.

The Holy Spirit speaks.

He speaks a great silence.

He listens to the listeners.

We collectively hear.

God.

Three Persons.

His Entire People.

All Creation.

The Sound of One Breathing.

The Sound of Life.

Communion.

Amen.

 

(Jan/4/18)

Still Life with Nativity

by Howard Hain

 

Can’t keep it neat

Bunched-up cloth

Shifting sand

An avalanche of gifts

Those toward the outside move the most

The trough is fixed in place

The world turns, the Cross stands still” *

Manger, manger, what happened to you?

Sprouted roots

Began life as a tree

…..A table

……….A sawhorse

……………A wagon wheel

Dusty bumpy road

Excitement of a coming feast

Not quite yet

To and fro

Which place is home?

Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jerusalem

The land of Cana

A wedding toast

Now a wooden throne

Plenty of wine to go around

The world turns, the Cross stands still” *

Manger, manger, what happened to you?

Sprouted roots

Began life as a tree


 

* this line is a loose paraphrase of the Carthusian motto: “Stat Crux Dum Volvitur Orbis” (The Cross Stands Firm, While The World Turns)