The Easter Fire is prepared on Holy Souls Mountain. The Sun is just now going down. The skies are clear. There’s not even a slight breeze. All is in expectation of the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Prince of the Most Profound Peace to rise up in His resurrected Body after having reprimanded the damned angels in hell. I’m fully expecting earthquakes, storms, thunder, lightning, hail, tumultuous winds. But wait! That was when He went down to hell. Now that He’s about to rise… what?… I’m expecting… well, just great, great joy… Time to vest up for the Vigil of all vigils, the Most Solemn, Joyous Liturgy of the year!
Daily Archives: 2012/04/07
After His death, Jesus went to hell! Yikes! You can be absolutely sure that He had a few words of reprimand to speak to the fallen angels. Yikes! That would be just so awesome to see. Fra Angelico’s painting of this above depicts the patristic reference to Christ crashing through the gates of hell, crushing Satan under those gates, while the other demons attempt to flee with their damned cohort.
Meanwhile, from another direction we see the saints of old coming to greet Christ from the “Limbo of the Fathers” as it is called. The patristic reference to this has it that Adam, who had converted and was one of this saintly crowd, cowered in the back of everyone, but was called forward by the Majestic King Himself to be the first to be greeted. Our Lord, just so good and just so kind!
He is busy in these hours. Soon He will rise from the dead!
Before beginning this post in earnest, I’d just like to mention something about the above picture. It depicts Hebrew University on Mount Scopus, which overlooks the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. That’s where I also went to school in my umpteen years of post-graduate studies. It’s situated in the West Bank. I used to walk through the West Bank to get there and back, being on a first name basis with the Palestinians. But now there’s a wall. I find it all so very sad. This makes my proposed book on the would-be sacrifice of Abraham’s son all the more pressing for me. Anyway…
As time goes on, I discover, to my joy, what an idiot I’ve been, that is, because such a recognition only comes about because of seeing a bit more clearly Him who is Truth and Charity. There is, after all, quite a contrast!
(1) One of the ways I’ve been an idiot has been to wonder about the appropriateness of the apologies expressed by Blessed Pope John Paul II. You can read about my rather fortuitous conversion to the deeper realities of the Church and the economy of salvation regarding those apologies in what I wrote in a post I could easily re-title as YIKES! In my humble opinion, that post is well worth the read, again, not because I’m so briliant, but because, before the Lord, I found our how stupid I was. If you read that post, you’ll quickly find out that what I say is not liberal drivel, but instead is a rather intense traditional Catholic evangelization.
(2) Another way in which I’ve discovered just how much of an idiot I’ve been regards the Good Friday prayer for the Jews.
- I’ve been a ferocious defender of the old prayer for the Jews in the Missale Romanum pre-dating Blessed John XXIII’s intervention. The reason for this is my rather freakish desire to know what words meant back when they were first used, so that perfideous referred, way back in the day, many centuries ago, merely to a lack of faith in Jesus.
- I’ve also been a ferocious defender of the Blessed John XXIII’s intervention, what was presented in the 1962 Missale Romanum. O.K.!
- I’ve also been, quite consistently I might add, a ferocious defender of Pope Benedict XVI’s revised prayer for the Jews for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
Here’s Father Z’s comparison of the last two versions back in 2008 (read the rest there):
|MR62 Latin||MR62 English||Revised ‘62 Latin||Revised ‘62 English|
|Oremus et pro Iudaeis: ut Deus et Dominus noster auferat velamen de cordibus eorum; ut et ipsi agnoscant Iesum Christum Dominum nostrum. …||Let us also pray for the Jews: that our Lord and God take away the veil from their hearts; that they too may acknowledge Jesus Christ to be our Lord.||Oremus et pro Iudaeis: ut Deus et Dominus noster illuminet corda eorum, ut agnoscant Iesum Christum salvatorem omnium hominum.||Let us also pray for the Jews: that our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men.|
|Omnipotens sempiternae Deus, qui Iudaeos etiam a tua misericordia non repellis: exaudi preces nostras, quas pro illius populi obcaecatione deferimus; ut agnita veritatis tuae luce, quae Christus est, a suis tenebris eruantur. Per eundem Dominum.||Almighty eternal God, who also does not repell the Jews from Your mercy: graciously hear the prayers which we are conveying on behalf of the blindness of that people; so that once the light of Your Truth has been recognized, which is Christ, they may be rescued from their darkness.||Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui vis ut omnes homines salvi fiant et ad agnitionem veritatis veniant, concede propitius, ut plenitudine gentium in Ecclesiam Tuam intrante omnis Israel salvus fiat. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.||Almighty and eternal God, who want that all men be saved and come to the recognition of the truth, propitiously grant that even as the fullness of the peoples enters Your Church, all Israel may be saved. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.|
I could go on forever about how incisive the new prayer is for the Extraodinary Form of the Mass, perhaps much more so than the old (against unthinking reactionaries), but I’ll let that go until another day. You can read, if you like, a conference on a study by Benjamin Leven, which he presented to Boston College back in 2010. Benjamin’s an old friend. We spoke much of this topic: Pro iudaeis - On liturgical change. He also spoke of the Novus Ordo, but I would like to add some of my own comments on the validity[!] of the Novus Ordo prayer in this post.
I’ve always been less than enthusiastic about this version of the prayer. It’s not that I’ve changed my mind about anything I’ve ever always thought. It’s just that I’ve more recently applied what I already knew about Catholic-Jewish relations to this prayer in a rather in-your-face manner. That’s a good thing, and, if you read the rest of this post, you’ll find out that what I have to say is not ambiguous liberal drivel, but instead is a rather intense traditional Catholic evangelization…
Here’s the Novus Ordo version:
Oremus et pro Iudaeis, ut ad quos prius locutus est Dominus Deus noster, eis tribuat in sui nominis amore et in sui foederis fidelitate proficere.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui promissiones tuas Abrahae eiusque semini contulisti, Ecclesiae tuae preces clementer exaudi, ut populus acquisitionis prioris ad redemptionis mereatur plenitudinem pervenire.
Here’s the new ICEL translation:
 Let us pray also for the Jewish people,  to whom the Lord our God spoke first,  that He may grant them  to advance in love of His Name, and  in faithfulness to His Covenant.
 Almighty ever-living God, who bestowed your promises on Abraham and his descendants,  graciously hear the prayers of your Church,  that the people you first made your own  may attain the fullness of redemption.  Through Christ our Lord.
 Just to say, praying for the Jewish people is not an act of hatred, like we don’t want them to exist anymore just because we want to share with them the greatest love in our lives! This isn’t a threat. It’s a manifestation of our love, and even an invitation. It’s a good willed intercession with our Lord.
 “Spoke first”, though not differently, in the sense that the Jews proclaimed the coming of the Messiah whom we accept as the Jewish Messiah. First Jews, then Gentiles. Fine. But, it’s always about Jesus.
 “Grant them…”tribuat… This doesn’t mean that the Lord isn’t doing anything. He is the One, after all, who is supplying the grace with the granting. This is what lifts the veil to that the faith, already having been provided, might be seen. This “grant them” bit simply recognizes that we also have free will.
 “To advance in love of His Name.” This name is Yahweh, He who is, He who causes to be. That is always an apt Name of the Most High. I’ve written a great deal on this elsewhere, but that comment suffices here. There is no bid here for the Jews to remain non-Christian. But, just to say, if “Name” has its reference in “Jesus”, which name means Savior, who is identified with the Messiah, then the prayer is more explicitly for conversion to the Savior we have already accepted has come among us. That Savior and Yahweh are identified. Indeed, in the New Testament citations of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, references to Yahweh are consistently translated with Kurios, that is, Lord, the usual title of Jesus, as in: the Lord Jesus (Yahweh Jesus).
 Most of the controversy about this prayer is over the covenant mentioned here. The advance is wrought by the action of the Lord’s grant of grace, which, in turn, is provided according to the prayer being offered. (Sorry, B.L.!) The idea of advancing in faithfulness to a covenant does not speak of multiple covenants, but of a new covenant which fulfills the old. We are not saying that there is a covenant for the Jews, just as valid today as it ever was, and a covenant for Catholics, that New and Eternal Covenant in the Blood of the Lamb, which however, excludes all Jews, and accuses them of not being faithful even to the first covenant they had. No, not that. Instead, the old covenant is fulfilled in the new. The essential nature of the old was to be fulfilled in the new. When the new arrived, the old ceased to exist outside of its being fulfilled in the new. Any advance in faithfulness would mean converting to the fulfillment of the old in the new. If there are two covenants, both active, both efficacious, then there are no covenants at all, for the two cancel each other out. That is just how much the old is essentially fulfilled in the new.
 “Almighty ever-living God, who bestowed your promises on Abraham and his descendants…” We are all descendants of our Father in Faith. He looked forward to the Messiah, to Jesus. In this sense, Catholics are fulfilled Jews.
 “Graciously hear the prayers of your Church…” Again, it isn’t evil to pray for others that they might know the greatest love of one’s own life.
 “That the people you first made your own…” Again, we are that people by way of faith. Also in the Jewish Scriptures, one could become Jewish by way of faith. Being Jewish is not tied absolutely to physical descendency, nor is the prayer trying to say that. It is speaking about those who looked forward to the Messiah before Jesus came.
 ”May attain the fullness of redemption…” Everyone is redeemed. Some of those who are redeemed are also saved. An important distinction. We pray that all Jews might know salvation, which is the “fullness of redemption.”
 ”Through Christ our Lord.” Just in case anyone was wondering what kind of prayer this was. This phrase proclaims that this is all the will of Christ, our Lord. Amen!
I don’t agree with the reasoning of the promoter of the changes, but the stands on its own apart from him. Having said that, here’s what he said:
I’m not getting more liberal! Just a bit calmer! That’s a good thing!
I would like to disable the “follow by email” option on the blog. Sorry.
Even if I do that, I would ask that you disable your following my email (which option you should be given at the end of every email that you get from the blog, something about unsubscribing).
The reason: I quite frequently update or rewrite posts with new info. These are often much more important than the original post.
For instance, in today’s post about updating some news on the Saint Michael prayer, I was flooded with accounts of harassment by Satan in any number of ways, but all related to participating in praying the Saint Michael prayer I’ve requested ye all to pray. But none of you received that via email.
Also, there was an addendum to the canary post (written about five seconds after I originally posted it) with an important distinction about what things are worse… Very important, but you didn’t get that.
I would have put all this up as an update to the first post on followers of the blog via email, but you wouldn’t have gotten that either.
So, Yikes! Put the hermitage on your favorites bar, or menu or what have you, please! Thanks for understanding my lack of ability to always know everything to put in a post the first time round!
Often I add updates to posts or, more rarely, with new info, re-write them altogether, but not in a new post, only by way of editing the existing post.
Do ye who receive these posts by email see changes or get new emails or what?
A very wonderful reader just sent in Christmas scene, from which I’ve extracted a detail, so that you might concentrate on the wood of the manger, which tradition has it was also used in the construction of the cross (must have been a big manger!). Notice that the donkey[!] and the ox seem to be discussing what will become of their manger. They have a stake in this too:
Romans 8,18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us. 19 For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; 20 for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22 We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now; 23 and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. [nab]
“Behold, the wood of the Cross…”
For some time now I’ve been asking you readers to invoke Saint Michael, asking that you pray the Saint Michael prayer once for my intentions and then once for you and yours. Many of you have also had Masses offered for me. Thank you. Don’t forget to include each other in the latter prayer!
I think things are going well. The reason I say that is that some of you who are praying this prayer are being harassed a bit by Satan’s minions. That must mean that the prayers are very much needed, very much appreciated by our Lord, very much despised by Satan’s minions.
I thank you for your continued prayer. Satan doesn’t like getting kicked in the face by Saint Michael. That’s O.K. by me.
And an update to this post (already): I am distressed that I keep getting even more reports of getting harassed when this prayer is being recited for my intetions and then for all of you who are praying. I would just like to say that there is no reason to fear. This is Satan’s tactic to stop you from praying.
If you are being extraordinarily tempted, use this as an occasion to grow in simplicity, in trust, before our Lord, like a little child, no matter what… always more simple, more humble, more trusting in Him, instead of getting intense with our pretending to be able to control everything, then getting frustrated, then getting depressed, then risking falling into sin.
If you (also) being physically harassed, simply offer yourself as a living intercession for the good of Christ’s Mystical Body. This goes for temptation as well. Have no fear. Rather, be a good solidier of this Church Militant!
Again: If there is such extraordinary frustration on Satan’s minions’ part (which is why they would strike out instead of continuing to hide themselves), it is only because those of you who are praying are so very much loved by our Lord, who holds your prayer to be most precious. Jesus is the Lord of History, but He wants us to pray. Please, don’t give up now! Join us if you haven’t already. Just make sure you are someone who goes to confession regularly! Yikes and Yikes again! Let’s pray:
Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in proelio;
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,
satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute in infernum detrude.
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle; be our protection
against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan
and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Lent is always supposed to be a time of celebration, that is, of recognizing more accurately the friendship that our Lord Jesus is drawing us into, how it is, we are to realize in some way a bit more clearly, how it is that He has us worship the Most Holy Trinity, having us become one with Himself, a member of His Mystical Body, so that through, with and in Him we look to the Father as little children, as His enthusiastic children, ever trustful in Him, and all this, with quite a bit of inflamed ferocity, by the sanctification that the Holy Spirit provides, prescisely in making us one with Christ and having us look to the Father through, with and in Christ.
On the one hand, for myself, in my weakness, I’ve failed in a thousand ways, ten thousand, innumerable, with all this, this Lent. Alas!
On the other hand, Jesus forgives us should we take up His grace, His friendship, His goodness and kindness. He not only forgives, but He draws us closer in frienship, more intimately into the life of the Most Holy Trinity.
Having said that — and with my egregious failings ever before my eyes — I’ll also say this, as a way to brag about the goodness of kindness of Jesus — that this has been the best Lent ever for me. I mean, last year was good, in the drafty, literaly freezing loft of the barn, but this year… Yikes! I am in humble thanksgiving to have been introduced to aspects of Jesus’ ministry that many would not even consider a ministry of His, much less ours if His at all. I shall keep silent about the specifics of that, at least for now.
But what is important to me, and worthwhile to read about, dear readers, is that it is truly a glorious thing never to have goals in the spiritual life, for we can never, ever expect with any accuracy just where it is and how it is that our Lord wants us to get to know Himself and His Mystical Body all the better. Utterly simple faithfulness in the circumstances which the providential or permissive will of our Heavenly Father provides will drag us, even kicking and screaming, along the Way, right into the life of the Most Holy Trinity. We may well have a “My God! My God! Why have you abandoned me?!” moment or two… or three… but it is in this way that our hearts and souls are pierced, ripped wide open, to see more clearly just how it is — with great irony — that our Lord is dragging us to Himself as He hangs upon the Cross.
Please God, more Scriptural and Patristic sources will be added to the present “rant style” meditations when circumstances at Holy Souls Hermitage aren’t quite so utterly barbaric.
The purpose of this first run through these mysteries is to note especially the goodness and kindness of Jesus amidst the violence and chaos back in the day… and today. Hang on, it might be a bit of a rough ride, as rough and tumble as we focus on, in this post, the crucifixion and death of Jesus.
There is so very much material. I will only comment on this round through the mysteries just one aspect of this fifth sorrowful mystery, that which refers to the piercing of the side, of the Heart of Jesus as He hung there, already dead, on the cross.
I highly recommend reading psalm 22 in its entirety. Jesus quotes the first verse of this psalm on the cross, you know, this exclamation: “My God! My God! Why have you abandoned me!” That’s a prayer of union with the Father. If you need proof, read the psalm! There are many other aspects of this psalm which are reflected in the Gospels, such as the casting of lots for His robe. It is like watching the scene on Calvary unfold, but with such love and childlike trust in God by the one who is being crucified…
Anyway, here’s what John writes about the piercing:
John 19,34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness — his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth — that you also may believe. [rsv] 36 For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: [...] 37 “They will look upon him whom they have pierced.” [nab]
John is looking to Psalm 22, where we read about the perspective of the One who is crucified. He counts as dogs those who are crucifying Him. We have seen mention of dogs before, regarding the apostles and the Gentiles in the account of the “Dog-Woman”. In this scene of Psalm 22, the One who is crucified is still alive. They have not yet pierced His side, His Heart:
Psalm 22,16 Yea, dogs are round about me; a company of evildoers encircle me; they have pierced my hands and feet – 17 I can count all my bones — they stare and gloat over me. [rsv]
John was also surely thinking of Zechariah, where the One who has been crucified has died:
Zechariah 12,10 I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and petition; and they shall look on him whom they have thrust through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a first-born. [...] 13,1 On that day there shall be open to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, a fountain to purify from sin and uncleanness. [nab]
Later still, in the Apocalypse, written after the crucifixion of Jesus, we read this:
Revelation 1,7 Behold! He is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him. All the peoples of the earth will lament Him. Yes. Amen. 8 “I AM the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the One who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
As I write this, it is Holy Saturday. Those who have witnessed the piercing of Jesus continue to look upon those images, either gloating or in traumatic solidarity, but look they do, to their condemnation or sanctification. If we feel the least bit unworthy even to know about all these things, it is all for our sanctification.
All the sacraments gush forth from the side, the Heart of Christ Jesus. His will to save us is the very Sacrifice of the Mass, and all things are ordered to His drawing us to Himself in this way, as He is lifted up on the Cross.
The Catholic Church, founded by Jesus, who provided us with the sacraments, is not a set of buildings or a bureaucracy. It is, as all families, a hierarchical family, a family of faith, dedicated to bringing people to Jesus by way of the sacraments He brought to us. Sure, there is catechesis and preaching and teaching and governing and encouraging and correcting and loving… What else does one expect in a family?! But, let’s be clear: it’s all about Jesus. Damned are we in we present anything less than Christ and Him crucified.
Jesus loves us so very, very much. I’ll say it again: He took on what we deserve to have the right in all justice to have mercy on us. He loves us so very, very much.
Now, let’s look at that scene again. Mary is looking at us. She sees Christ, who has been pierced, within us by grace, does she not? She is looking for us to be in solidarity with her, with Jesus, is she not? She looking to us. We look to her. We all have Jesus, His grace, pierced through, before us all: