Friday, April 06, 2007

06/04/07 Good Friday


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Blessed are those for whom Easter is...
not a hunt, but a find;
not a greeting, but a proclamation;
not outward fashions, but inward grace;
not a day, but an eternity.


Almighty Father, who gave your only Son to die for our sins and to rise for our justification: Give us grace so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today's Scripture

AM Psalm 95* & 22; PM Psalm 40:1-14(15-19), 54
Wisdom 1:16-2:1,12-22 or Gen. 22:1-14; 1 Peter 1:10-20; John 13:36-38** or John 19:38-42***

Reflections on the Station of the Cross:$606?print-friendly=true

From Forward Day by Day:

Genesis 22:1-18. Abraham said, "God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son."

How could a loving Father-God provide a lamb tangled in a thicket, sparing Isaac's life, and not spare the life of his own Son? Jesus, the spotless lamb, carried my sins and yours with him on the cross, fulfilling God's purpose. Even so, today at noon, I will be crying out "Why?" to the Father, as I have on every Good Friday for as long as I can remember. How could a loving, just God ask such a terrible thing of one who has offered him nothing but loyalty and service?

Surely Jesus also, on the night he was arrested, prayed, "Is this really what you ask of me, Father?" On the cross, he was in such pain and despair that he shouted, "Why have you forsaken me?"

God had forsaken neither Abraham or his own Son. Yet at the hour of decision and the hour of suffering, neither had any total, absolute certainty of a good outcome. All they, and we, have to go on is what we know of God's nature: that he is just, and keeps his promises. That above all, he is God, and we are not. Our human reason is nothing when the one who made us asks for obedience and trust.

Lamb of God, your obedience, your suffering, won my salvation. I kneel before your cross in awe.

Today in the Anglican Cycle of Prayer we pray for the Diocese of Nassau & The Bahamas (West Indies)

40 Ideas for Lent: A Lenten calendar


Visit the virtual candle stand on the Rejesus website – click here.

Light a candle and post a prayer for someone you love, someone in need. And pray for others who have left candles and prayers.

Lent quote: "Jesus bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." – St Peter


A Celtic Lenten Calendar

Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works.

If you see a poor man, take pity on him.
If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him.
Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye and the ear and the feet and the hands and all the members of our bodies.
Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice.
Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin.
Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is sinful.
Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip.
Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism.
For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and devour our brothers and sisters?
May He who came to the world to save sinners strengthen us to complete the fast with humility, have mercy on us and save us.

St. John Chrysostom
++++++++++ Reflections

There are times when we are wearied with travelling, and the Lord grants our faculties tranquillity and our soul quiet, and while they are in that state, He gives us a clear understanding of the nature of the gifts he bestows on those whom He brings to His kingdom.
St Teresa of Jesus
Way, 30.6

Reading from the Desert Christians

He also said, 'The heights of humility are great and so are the depths of boasting; I advise you to attend to the first and not to fall into the second.'

Sayings of the Jewish Fathers (Pirqe Aboth)

R. Shime'on said, Three that have eaten at one table, and have not said over it words of Thorah, are as if they had eaten of sacrifices of (the) dead, for it is said, For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness without MAQOM ("without mention of the name of God").

6. But three that have eaten at one table, and have said over it words of Thorah, are as if they had eaten of the table of MAQOM, blessed is He, for it is said, And he said unto me, This is the table that is before the Lord.

Daily Meditation (Henri Nouwen)

Being Humble and Confident

As we look at the stars and let our minds wander into the many galaxies, we come to feel so small and insignificant that anything we do, say, or think seems completely useless. But if we look into our souls and let our minds wander into the endless galaxies of our interior lives, we become so tall and significant that everything we do, say, or think appears of great importance.

We have to keep looking both ways to remain humble and confident, humorous and serious, playful and responsible. Yes, the human person is very small and very tall. It is the tension between the two that keeps us spiritually awake.

The Almost Daily eMo from


If one is naturally high-spirited and knows how the story ends, it can be hard to maintain the sadness proper to the day. The shopping for Easter dinner still needs to be done, after all, and tomorrow will be a day of baking, egg-dyeing and table-setting for the feast. If you are built to enjoy that sort of thing, you itch to begin.

There are a hundred tasks in which to lose oneself: the washing of dishes, the chopping of vegetables, the making of beds, the feeding of animals. Throughout human history it has been so: into each life, tragedy will come, but the cow must still be milked every day. Upon such mundane hooks we hang the sorrows of our lives. The very plainness of them provides a peculiar comfort.

But it is an intermittent one. The immensity of your sorrow intrudes on your ordinariness, again and again: you suspend an egg above the bright surface of the dye and think of it, stop stirring for a moment and stare into the middle distance, thinking of it. You stoop to dust a bottom shelf and remain kneeling there, thinking of it, blinded by your tears. You plunge into ordinary things, and in their matter-of-fact way they receive you. But they cannot conceal your changed world for very long.

The horrified friends of the slain found each other in the crowd and stumbled home -- which was not really home, only a rented room above someone else's house. Mostly they did not speak. Someone put a plate of food in front of them and they picked at it. They went to bed as soon as they could, seeking the oblivion of sleep. It came in fits and starts, scraps of dreams and then horrid awakenings, to a nightmare that was real.

Those who had lost people before knew that the horror doesn't last forever. You get better in time. This they knew. But they also knew that it was too soon for that knowledge to be of any comfort at all. This would be like all the other losses, they knew: permanent.

We leave them in the upper room, shocked and sick at heart. They do not know how the story ends, because it hasn't ended, not for them. We are the ones who know. Back through centuries we send them love and try to send them hope: Dear grandfathers, look up! Your sorrow is almost over. The feast is at hand. It is coming to you soon!

Copyright © 2007 Barbara Crafton -

From the Principles of the Third Society of St. Francis:

Day Six - The First Aim, cont'd

The primary aim for us as tertiaries is therefore to make Christ known. This shapes our lives and attitudes to reflect the obedience of those whom our Lord chose to be with him and sent out as his witnesses. Like them, by word and example, we bear witness to Christ in our own immediate environment and pray and work for the fulfillment of his command to make disciples of all nations.

Upper Room Daily Reflection

OUR TRUE HUNGER, I think, is to kneel not only before the mystery of this one death, but to kneel before death itself, to bring our fear, our longing, and the stubbornly seeded hopes of our broken lives to the threshold where we will each, in our own turn, cross over. There we hunger to find God. And perhaps, as we gaze at the broken, painracked human body, we might see in that pain, as through a window, a tender presence that can render such brokenness transparent. Then our own pain might become as well a window translucent with light.

- Wendy M. Wright
The Rising

From page 98 of The Rising by Wendy M. Wright. Copyright © 1994 by Wendy M. Wright.

Richard Rohr's Daily Reflection

"The Price of Truth"

When one attempts to live the reign of God in this world, one comes to know the cross through misunderstanding, difficulty, privation, persecution. To take the cross means turning your face against the darkness and arrogance of Jerusalem when it tries to supplant the city of God. The cross is our obedience to the price of truth and love - with no assurance that it is going to "work." As in the life of Jesus, the cross leads us to perfect faith. Love led to its logical conclusion demands that we trust in a goodness and a life beyond our own. The doctrine of the cross says that no life can last forever, but there is a price to the breaking down of the lie. It is love become alive and personally engaged. Finally, there is no other word for love - except sacrifice, the cross, "laying down one's life for one's friends" (John 15:13). The cross is doing the truth. While the affluent and unpersectued Churches of the North have abandoned the life of the cross and pursued happiness and survival in this world, the Christians of the South have been lead to a different kind of joy and survival based on the cross of Jesus. Thus their lives have the power to shake, subvert, save and sanctify our churches - precisely through and because of the cross! We are forced to recognize that we are "only strangers and nomads on earth" (Hebrews 11:13) when some like ourselves are free to scorn the rewards and comforts of this world in favor of a greater vision - the coming of the Kingdom of God. Yes, the cross is our salvation. It makes us holy. It fees us and liberates us for God and the great picture. It "opens the gates of heaven" by closing off our loyalties to hell. It "buys" us the truth, which is always expensive in this world. Through the cross Jesus paid the price, not so we would not have to, but so that we would in fact know that there is a price for truth and love: everything.

from a Coalition for Public Sanctuary pamphlet, "The Cross of Jesus and Human Suffering"

From John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., Tradition Day by Day: Readings from Church Writers. Augustinian Press. Villanova, PA, 1994.

Death became its own death

To show that he had power over death Christ had exercised his royal authority to loose death's bonds even during his lifetime, as for example when he gave the commands, Lazarus, come out and Arise, my child. For the same reason he surrendered himself completely to death, so that in him that gluttonous beast with his insatiable appetite would die completely. Since death's power comes from sin, it searched everyone in his sinless body for its accustomed food, for sensuality, pride, disobedience, or, in a word, for that ancient sin which was its original sustenance. In him, however, it found nothing to feed on and so, being entirely closed in upon itself and destroyed for lack of nourishment, death became its own death.

O heavenly bounty, spiritual feast, divine Passover, coming down from heaven to earth and ascending again into heaven. You are the light of the new candles, the brightness of the virgins' lamps. Thanks to you the lamps of souls filled with the oil of Christ are no longer extinguished, for the spiritual and divine fire of love burns in all, in both soul and body.

Hippolytus of Rome, (170 - 236), the first anti-pope, was reconciled with the pope and later both died as martyrs for the faith.

Daily Readings From "My Utmost for His Highest", Oswald Chambers


"Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree." 1 Peter 2:24

The Cross of Jesus is the revelation of God's judgment on sin. Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken. There is nothing more certain in Time or Eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the Cross: He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God. He made Redemption the basis of human life, that is, He made a way for every son of man to get into communion with God.

The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it. He is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." The whole meaning of the Incarnation is the Cross. Beware of separating God manifest in the flesh from the Son becoming sin. The Incarnation was for the purpose of Redemption. God became incarnate for the purpose of putting away sin; not for the purpose of Self-realization. The Cross is the centre of Time and of Eternity, the answer to the enigmas of both.

The Cross is not the cross of a man but the Cross of God, and the Cross of God can never be realized in human experience. The Cross is the exhibition of the nature of God, the gateway whereby any individual of the human race can enter into union with God. When we get to the Cross, we do not go through it; we abide in the life to which the Cross is the gateway.

The centre of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much. The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened - but the crash is on the heart of God.

Today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict

Chapter 54: Whether a Monastic Should Receive Letters or Anything Else

On no account shall a monastic be allowed
to receive letters, blessed tokens or any little gift whatsoever
from parents or anyone else,
or from her sisters,
or to give the same,
without the Abbess's permission.
But if anything is sent her even by her parents,
let her not presume to take it
before it has been shown to the Abbess.
And it shall be in the Abbess's power to decide
to whom it shall be given,
if she allows it to be received;
and the sister to whom it was sent should not be grieved,
lest occasion be given to the devil.

Should anyone presume to act otherwise,
let her undergo the discipline of the Rule.


Rabbi Mordecai said: "If a single coin is left over in my house at bedtime, I cannot fall asleep. But if totally penniless, I sleep soundly, knowing that when the moment comes to awaken, I must immediately look to the Lord for aid." And the rabbi of Porissover taught: "If a person is poor and meek, it is easy for that one to be joyful, inasmuch as there is nothing to guard against losing." In a community based on equality in the midst of a highly stratified society, Benedict had no desire to create a subset of the independently wealthy whose parents or friends could provide for them beyond the means of the monastery. The purpose of monastic life was to discover that the possession of God was far more satisfying than anything we could receive from family or friends, that it was freeing, that it was enriching far beyond what we could collect for ourselves.

We live in a culture that sees having things as the measure of our success. We strive for a life that sees eliminating things as the measure of internal wealth. Enoughness is a value long dead in Western society. Dependence on God is a value long lost. Yet, enoughness and dependence on God may be what is lacking in a society where consumerism and accumulation have become the root diseases of a world in which everything is not enough and nothing satisfies.

Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan
Read Excerpts from the Church Fathers during Lent

St. Leo the Great: Sermon XLIX (On Lent XI): complete

Great and Holy Friday, April 6, 2007 .
Strict Fast
The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ
6th Hour: Isaiah 52:13-54:1
Vesperal Epistle: 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:2
Vesperal Gospel: St. Matthew 27:1-61

The Prophetic Jewel: Isaiah 52:13-54:1 LXX, especially vs. 6: “All we as
sheep have gone astray; every one has gone astray in his way; and the
Lord gave Him up for our sins.” In the Church, from earliest times, this
astounding prophecy has been numbered as “the Fifth Gospel.” It is the
Church’s custom to read this crown jewel among the riches of Isaiah on
Great and Holy Friday. Are you surprised that this treasure from Isaiah
is read at Sixth Hour, recalling that portentous moment in 33AD, in the
month of Nissan, at noon “until the ninth hour [when] there was darkness
over all the land” (Mt. 27:45)? Commenting on these inspired words
evokes a deep dread in the heart - that with our mundane thinking we not
indulge in the mortal error of the benighted Uzzah who stretched out his
hand to steady the Ark of God (read 2 Sam. 6:6).

Fr. Paul Tarazi observes that this passage has a “chiastic” structure.
That is, its ideas are set down in an order which may be likened to a
cross such as the Greek letter, Chi - “X:”
A/52:13-15: the Servant is glorified before kings;
B/53:1-3: the Servant suffers and is humiliated
C/53:4-6: the Servant’s suffering is for the sin of His fellows;
B’/53:7-9: the Servant’s humiliation and suffering are unto death;
A’/53:10-12: the Servant is glorified before the great and strong.
The crossing occurs at the letter “C.” About these verses Fr. Tarazi
comments, “The new idea can be found at the center....Its theme was not
even hinted at by the previous poems” in Isaiah. While we should not
dwell long on the inherent cross structure, the fact that this prophecy
of the Lord’s Crucifixion is chiastic warms the heart and calls forth
our praise to God. Exploring Isaiah’s chiasm, let us examine the three
elements that form it, the A, the B, and the C.

A. Christ our God has been “exalted and glorified exceedingly” (vs.
52:13) through all ages since that day when He offered Himself up for
our iniquities. He has been the wonder of nations wherever His Gospel
has been proclaimed (vs. 52:15). Isaiah begins with the glory that men
and nations have raised to Christ, and the Prophet ends with a similar
announcement: “the Lord also is pleased to purge Him from His take away from the travail of His soul, to show Him light justify the Just One Who serves many well...” (vss. 53:10,11).
As a result, “Therefore, He shall inherit many, and He shall divide the
spoils of the mighty; because His soul was delivered to death...and He
bore the sins of many” (vs. 53:12).

B. In verses 53:1-3, the Lord’s earthly ignominy is highlighted for us.
In verses 53:7-9, the cost of His humiliation becomes clear, “for His
life is taken away from the earth...because of the iniquities of My
people He was led to death” (vs. 53:8). St. Nikolai of Zica says, “...He
clothed Himself in simple garments, so that He might impress us, not by
His garb but by the power of His spirit....By tradition, His face was
swarthy and His hair chestnut-colored.” Think of this: Christ
transformed shame and humility into virtues, not with words, but by
offering His life.

C. It is in verses 53:4-6 that the “Fifth Gospel” is proclaimed purely.
Theodoret of Cyrus pronounces an abiding judgment: “We each fall under
the blow of chastisements for having sinned, but He, although He Himself
was free from sin, bore His chastisements for our is He Who
has taken the chastisement on Himself and Who has granted us the peace.”
Christ, the uncreated Divine Light, Himself illumines every word of this
Crown Jewel of Prophecy!

A salvation Thou produced in the midst of the earth, O Christ our God,
when Thou didst stretch out Thy pure hands upon the Cross, calling
together all the nations, who cry to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee.

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