Saturday, April 15, 2017

Many conversions happen in Holy Week and throughout the Easter Octave.

Mine did.

Years ago my friends used to like to go to the Good Friday services high.  We were all raised catholic, and so something beckoned us I suppose.  One year, no longer high, I encountered Christ.  It was Paschal time.  It was pretty stunning.

Legend has it that at Monte LaVerna in Italy, the rocks split apart during the earthquake at the moment Jesus died on the cross.  I like to think of those legends, how the dead arose and appeared, the earth shook, the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, people beat their breasts.  And Christ descended into hell, among the dead, truly the Son of God ... he descended.

So these miracles continue, especially during this holy season - I'm convinced of it.  I also think these miracles happen especially during the Divine Mercy novena.

So, let nothing impede you.  Drunk or high, steeped in sin, filthy from rolling in the mud of your passions, stop into a church.  Visit the 'tomb'.  Visit Christ in the tabernacle.  Stop and look at the Divine Mercy image, or the Sacred Heart, or the crucifix.  Just look.  Whisper a little prayer, a thought, show him your wounds ... light a candle for Our Lady.  She opens our hearts - and Christ rushes in.  Love overcomes all.

Nothing is impossible with God.  No situation, no addiction, no lifestyle.  Nothing is impossible for God to fix.

I'm convinced many conversions happen during Holy Week and Easter.  The lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, the dead are raised.  The power flowing from his Resurrection is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow,  and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.  He who descended among the dead is closer to you than ever ...

Jesus, I trust in you.

Second Day ...

(Artist unknown)
I like the light in this.

Second Day

"Today bring to Me the Souls of Priests and Religious, and immerse them in My unfathomable mercy. It was they who gave me strength to endure My bitter Passion. Through them as through channels My mercy flows out upon mankind."

Divine Mercy

The church where it is installed.  (I don't know where.)
I like this image very much, it is unusual.

I thought the final prayer of Pope Francis at the conclusion of the Via Crucis last night was especially poignant, and a strong impetus for those who walk in shame to run to the Divine Mercy devotion ...

O Lord Jesus! Son of God, innocent victim of our ransom, before your royal banner, before the mystery of your death and glory, before your scaffold, we kneel in shame and with hope and we ask that you bathe us in the blood and water that flowed from your lacerated heart; to forgive our sins and our guilt; 
We ask you to remember our brethren destroyed by violence, indifference and war; 
We ask you to break the chains that keep us imprisoned in our selfishness, our wilful blindness and in the vanity of our worldly calculations. 
O Christ! We ask you to teach us never to be ashamed of your Cross, not to exploit it but to honour and worship it, because with it You have shown us the horror of our sins, the greatness of your love, the injustice of our decisions and the power of your mercy. Amen. - Pope Francis

I love this image
because it feels so 'Umbrian'.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday and the painter.

The Painter and Christ - Marc Chagall

Just some thoughts.

I couldn't find an image of Jesus Crucified to display online so I settled upon this one by Chagall.  I like it that he painted the Crucifixion so often.  Many artistic depictions strike me as bordering on homo-erotic.  Christ's musculature is often too well developed and the pose much too sinuous, and so on.  I much prefer early iconography and Siennese style depictions, as well as medieval style images, which seem to me more sober, while moving the soul to devotion.

Good Friday begins the novena to the Divine Mercy - so don't forget.  And remember the chaplet is the most important part of that.

I finished my Annunciation icon but I'm waiting to varnish.  I had to redo some calligraphy as well.  I'm not sure when I'll present it.  I'm not even sure it will be accepted.  My entire Lent was spent working on it - and before that of course.  So.  That means my Lent was a complete failure.

Which means I especially need the Divine Mercy, because I have empty hands ... 

“[During prayer] while standing before the Lord, show Him not only your empty hands but also your dirty hands filled with your attachments . . . and pray that He will have mercy on you.” - Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer

Good Friday

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Francis on his Holy Thursday visits.

The Triduum is so about rubrics ...

Looking through the Missal or Magnificat - the amount of 'red' to do almost overwhelms the 'black' to say.  So, when Pope Francis leaves the Vatican to celebrate the Lord's Supper with prisoners - and performs the ritual foot-washing - I appreciate that.  I love how Pope Francis goes out to others.  Especially prisoners and those most of us consider 'worse' than ourselves.  You know, because we haven't mugged anyone, or killed anyone.  It seems especially appropriate since after Jesus celebrated the Passover with the disciples who abandoned him anyway, he was arrested and spent the night in jail.

What the Pope had to say:

Vatican City, Apr 13, 2017 / 06:22 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis has given an interview ahead of his Holy Thursday visit to a prison, warning, among other things, against the hypocrisy of viewing inmates only as criminals beyond hope who deserve to spend their lives in jail.
“At times a certain hypocrisy pushes us to see in prisons only people who have done wrong, for whom the only path is that of the prison,” the Pope said in the interview, published April 13, Holy Thursday.
He said the idea of visiting prisons came largely through the example of the late Cardinal Secretary of State, Agostino Casaroli, who passed away in 1998 and would frequently spend his Saturday nights at youth prisons on Rome’s Via Casal del Marmo.
Francis, who has washed the feet of inmates on Holy Thursday in both 2013 and 2015, said the reason he is choosing to do so again is because of Christ’s declaration that “I was a prisoner and you visited me.”
“The mandate of Jesus goes for each one of us, but above all the bishop, who is the father of everyone,” the Pope said, noting that when some inmates express their guilt to him, he responds by telling them: “let whoever is not guilty throw the first stone.”
“Let us look inside and try to find our faults. Then, the heart will become more human,” he said, explaining that priests and bishops must always be disposed to serve others. - Read the rest here.

Holy Thursday

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wars and rumors of wars.

Famine in East Africa.

With all the threats and fears we endure ...

Is there any suffering like famine?

With all the hatred for Islamic terrorists and suspicion of Muslims, resulting in an outcry against immigrants and refugees ...

Is there any suffering like famine? 

Think about it - instead of worrying about who gets their feet washed on Holy Thursday, or the rubrics get messed up during the Triduum.

The third part of the Fatima secret Bl. Jacinta was told by Sr. Lucia not to speak about, included the following ...
"I saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones, others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray very much for him.
"Look! Don’t you see many roads, paths and fields full of people crying of hunger, not having anything to eat? And the Holy Father in a Church praying next to the Heart of Mary?" - Blessed Jacinta

And yet so many ignore these 'signs' when they are right before our eyes.  They wait for some sort of 'warning', and yet we've been warned by wars and revolutions over and over.  They wait for signs - when they are right in front of our face.  They hope the secrets of Medjugorje will be revealed when the secret of Fatima is unfolding now.

What is wrong that we keep looking for signs and ignoring the urgent humanitarian crises on our doorstep?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Saints for Holy Week

St. Mary of Egypt is thought to have died in Holy Week.  I was thinking of that when I recalled Little Therese coughed up blood on Good Friday, confirming her intuition that death was soon approaching.  In her Story of A Soul she wrote:
“Oh! How sweet this memory really is, I had scarcely laid my head upon the pillow when I felt something like a bubbling stream mounting to my lips. I didn’t know what it was”. The next morning she coughed up more blood in her handkerchief. “I thought immediately of the joyful thing that I had to learn, so I went over to the window. I was able to see that I was not mistaken. Ah, my soul was filled with great consolation, I was interiorly persuaded that Jesus, on the anniversary of His own death, wanted to have me hear His first call”.
If the thought of the passion and death of Christ does not put everything in perspective in our lives, the thought of our own death ought to - and then perhaps, we can understand our desperate need of mercy and maybe even appreciate the sacred passion of Christ more deeply.

I think it needs to be personal to be appreciated on such a profound level.  Not sure how to explain that however.

Yesterday, I came across a devotional picture of Padre Pio receiving the transverberation of his heart.  His stigmata and all of those wonderful charisma he received do not move me.  They do not lead me to Christ, as it were.  They seem like novelties on some level.  Yet the ordinariness of St. Therese is for me, so much more real, more edifying, more deeply interior, without sensation.  It just seems more real to me.

I posted a devotional picture of Therese because of its lovely simplicity.  It is this which attracts ordinary people I think.  And like Our Lady, Therese always directs us to the Little Jesus, who loves us and finds us irresistible.  We can pray with Therese and all the ordinary saints of Holy Week: 'Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything.'  No matter what.

Covering statues ...

Monday, April 10, 2017

What's Wrong With the World ... Brain Hacking ...

"We must alert Catholic social media about this."

I knew that.

Stepford lives online, Catholic social media experts, Catholics on Facebook, Catholic apologists on Facebook, Facebook Catholic Twits, Instagram Catholics with Facebook accounts, Catholic bloggers with Facebook accounts, Facebook Tweeters with Catholic issues, ... all brain hacked.


APRIL 9, 2017, 7:05 PM| Why can't we stop looking at our smartphones? And are the designers of the apps and content on them using brain science to keep us hooked? Anderson Cooper reports. - Look and see here.

We're all being manipulated.  It's a rewards system.  We want prizes, pats on the back, kudos, approval, Likes and comments.  We don't like it when people disagree with us, criticize us.  We want followers and friends and greetings in the marketplace - because that is where we always are - in the Marketplace, fixin' our tassels and adjusting our phylacteries.

"How can you believe when you seek approval from one another?"

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

My eyes stream with tears over the destruction
of the daughter of my people.
My eyes will flow without ceasing,
without rest,
Until the LORD from heaven
looks down and sees.
I am tormented by the sight
of all the daughters of my city. 
- Lamentations 3

Prayers for the Coptic Christians bombed today, Palm Sunday.

Story here.