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Sacred Paschal Triduum 2007 Archives

April 4, 2007

Illuminet Vultum Tuum Super Nos

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Missa Vespertina in Cena Domini

We came in singing a humble song:
“For us, no boasting” (Gal 6:14).
No boasting, that is, of anything that is ours.
For who am I and who are you to boast
in the presence of the Mystery?

Who am I and who are you to boast
on this the night of God’s doing,
the night of the covenant?
“Father,” says the deacon to the priest
at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy,
“it is time for the Lord to act!”
And so, it is all his doing, not ours.
It is time for the Lord to act!

“For us, no boasting,
but in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is health and life and resurrection to us,
by whom we are saved and set free (cf. Gal 6L14).

If you are sick; he is health.
If you are in the grip of death; he is life.
If you have stumbled and fallen low,
once, twice, three times or more,
he is resurrection.

If you are bound up and fettered,
if you are pushed down, or held back,
or laden with burdens too heavy to bear,
he is deliverance and freedom.

If you are oppressed in sin’s narrow place,
he takes you by the hand
and tonight, yes, tonight,
he leads you out into the vast and spacious place
of his prayer to the Father.
“Father, I desire that they also,
whom you have given me,
may be with me where I am,
to behold my glory
which you have given me in your love for me
before the foundation of the world” (Jn 17:24).

This is the birthnight of Eucharistic adoration,
the night of a hushed amazement,
the night of believing disbelief
and of wordless wonder.

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April 6, 2007

Et tu aperuisti lancea latus meum

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Friday of the Passion of the Lord

Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Psalm 30
Hebrews 4:14-5:9
John 18:1-19:42

Last night He sat with us at table.
His Face illumined the Upper Room
and there, just above the bread and behind the chalice,
beat His Heart of flesh.

John inclined his head;
he closed his eyes like a child secure on his mother’s breast,
and listened there to the rhythm of the Love
that, mightily and sweetly, orders the sun and stars;
to the rhythm of the Love that, with every beat,
stretches upward and spirals inward to the Father;
to the rhythm of Love that meets
the pulse of every of other beating heart.

Last night, He lifted up His eyes to heaven
and, all shining with the glory of His priesthood,
said: “Father, the hour has come;
glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee” (Jn 17:1).

And to His disciples He said:
Desiderio desideravi . . .
“With desire I have desired
to eat this pasch with you before I suffer” (Lk 22:15).
“And taking bread, He gave thanks and broke,
and gave to them, saying:
‘This is my body which is given for you:
do this for a commemoration of me.’
In like manner, the chalice also, after He had supped, saying:
‘This is the chalice, the New Testament in my blood
which shall be shed for you’” (Lk 22:19-20).

In that moment, the Sacrifice was already accomplished.
The wood of the supper table fused with the wood of the Cross.
The Cross became His altar,
and He became the Lamb
fulfilling Abraham’s prophecy on the mountain:
“God will provide himself the lamb for a holocaust, my son” (Gen 22:8).

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April 7, 2007

My Beloved Has Gone Down to His Garden

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Whither has your Beloved gone,
O fairest among women?
Whither has your Beloved turned,
that we may seek Him with you?

My Beloved has gone down to His garden,
to the beds of spices,
to pasture His flock in the gardens,
and to gather lilies. . . .

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
that you not stir up nor awake Love
until it please. . . .

Make haste, my Beloved,
and be like a gazelle
or a young stag
upon the mountains of spices.

Canticle 6:2; 7:14

Ecce Mater Tua

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As His last will and testament
Jesus committed to His beloved heir
the care of His mother
in whose debt He knew Himself to be.

So Christ divided His inheritance
between Peter who loved the most
and John who was loved the most.

To Peter fell the Church;
to John, Mary.

Blessed Guerric of Igny
Fourth Sermon for the Feast of the Assumption

April 8, 2007

THE SUNDAY OF THE PASCH IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD

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Christ is risen!
Last night, as we kept the great and solemn vigil, “the mother of all vigils,”
the brightest Eucharist of the year,
the Word of God, again and again,
struck our ears, pierced our hearts,
came to flower in psalms and canticles on our lips.
A procession passed before our eyes!
Abraham and Isaac were there;
Moses, Aaron, and Miriam were there, with all the children of Israel;
Isaiah, Baruch, and Ezekiel were there;
Paul was there, Paul of the risen Christ, Paul of the dazzling Christ.
And so were we led to the pure, the undiluted sound of Pascha.
The entire vigil dissolved into “the one first note of joy
which nothing and no one can imitate,” the alleluia.

Dame Aemiliana Löhr’s classic description of the Paschal Alleluia
remains the best of all:
“It rose with a slow movement;
it rose above the grave of Adam,
and it had the blood of Christ on it’s wings.”
The alleluia itself, for all its beauty, blossomed into something else.
It set the tone for Psalm 117, the paschal psalm par excellence,
the psalm that is, from beginning to end a cry of Eucharist:
“Confess unto the Lord for he is good:
unto ages unending is his mercy” (Ps 117:1).

Today’s liturgy, in response to the first reading,
continues the psalm intoned last night.
(It’s almost as if we never went to bed.)
The twenty-fourth verse becomes our refrain:
“Haec dies quam fecit Dominus:
exsultemus, et laetemur in ea.”
“This is the day which the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad therein” (Ps 117:24).
Psalm 117 is the last of the six psalms of praise known as the Hallel
sung in the liturgy of the Temple
at Passover, at Pentecost, and on the other high feasts.

In the Jewish ear, in the Jewish mouth,
Psalm 117 is a riot of jubilation;
it celebrates the triumph of the Messiah, the Anointed, the Christ.
The voice of the warrior-king makes itself heard above all others:
“I thank thee,
(I eucharistify thee)
that thou hast answered me and has become my salvation.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the head of the corner.
This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps 117:21-23).

In the Christian ear, Psalm 117 is the voice of Jesus,
the warrior-king come back from the stupendous struggle with death,
come back from the sixth day battle fought with outstretched hands,
come back from the harrowing of Hades.
It is the sound of Eucharist.

This thing done by God,
the victory of his Christ,
makes a today unlike every other day,
a day forever to be remembered
We hear the Haec dies more intensely than we sing it,
and in it recognize, like Mary at the tomb,
the voice of our Christ, our “Victor Rex.”

A few moments ago, we sang the Haec dies
in response to Peter’s confession of the crucified and risen Jesus.
“They put him to death by hanging him on a tree;
but God raised him on the third day and made him manifest;
not to all the people, but to us who were chosen by God as his witnesses,
who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead” (Ac 10:39-41).
Peter’s “third day” (Ac 10:39)
is “the day the Lord has made” (Ps 117:24);
the third day becomes the first day,
the day of the creation of the light (Gen 1:3).
It becomes the mysterious eighth day,
the eighth day reflected in the very architecture of this temple,
the beginning of the new creation
that has for light and for lamp the glory of God and the Lamb (Rev 21:22).

For us, this means,
that in our celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist today,
in our obedience to the commandment of the Lord,
“Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk 22:19),
we pass all together into the “Day of the Lord” (Rev 1:10).
The third day, the first day, and the eighth day
are mysteriously and simultaneously made present.
It is true: the then” of Christ has become our “now,”
and our “now:” passes over into his “then.”

“Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus:
quoniam in saeculum misericordia eius.”
“Confess unto the Lord for he is good:
unto ages unending is his mercy” (Ps 117:1).
To confess means to praise, to bless, to thank, to offer eucharist.
The Eucharist is Christ’s great confession of the goodness of the Lord;
the Eucharist is our memorial confession of his mercy.
The Eucharist is the goodness of the Lord
given for all in the bread and in the chalice.
The Eucharist is the taste of mercy in the mouth,
the sweetness of victory over death, leaving no bitterness,
satisfying, invigorating, making all things new (Rev 21:5).
Christ is risen!

About Sacred Paschal Triduum 2007

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