Friday, April 06, 2012

Stay here and keep watch with me

Lo Spagna
Today is Holy Thursday, also known as Maundy Thursday. And tonight, I attended the Mass of the Lords Supper. The bulletin reads "On this most Holy Night, we enter the three days of the Paschal Triduum, celebrating the Paschal Mystery of the Lord's passion, death and resurrection... This evening, the primary symbols of our celebration are the washing of the feet and the sharing of the Eucharist".

Jesus gives us so much. He never lets us down. He loves us so much that he died for us on the cross. He asks very little of us... other than:

You shall love the Lord, your God,
with all your heart, with all your being,
with all your strength, and with all your mind,
and your neighbor as yourself.
Luke 10:27

So after he had washed the feet of the disciples, knowing that one would betray him and that another would deny him three times, after he shared his Last Supper with his disciples, and introduced them to the Eucharist.

Take this, all of you, and eat of it:
for this is my body which will be given up for you.
Take this, all of you, and drink from it:
for this is the chalice of my blood,
the blood of the new and eternal covenant.
which will be poured out for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins .
Do this in memory of me.

The music at tonight's Mass was breathtakingly beautiful. The last hymn of the Mass was "Stay Here and Keep Watch" After they finished their Passover dinner, Jesus and his disciples adjourned to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was anxious and distraught and needed to prepare himself for his impending death. He asked his disciples to

"Stay, here, and keep watch with me.
The hour has come.
Stay, here, and keep watch with me.
Watch and Pray."

Yet they slept. Most likely they didn't understand what was about to happen. Discovering that they had fallen asleep, Jesus called to them, trying to wake them but they could not stay awake. They let him down... in his greatest time of need. I have to wonder how many times, I've failed a family member or a friend in their time of need. I'm sure I have, as I'm sure most of us have. We get so caught up with our own needs and wants... our own problems, that there are times we neglect a friend. It doesn't mean that they didn't care, or they didn't love them. It just means that they were weak... just as we are weak. And yet Jesus loved them, despite their failing him, he loved them still. Alone, He turned to his Father and prayed alone. An Angel came to him and comforted him.

After the closing hymn, "Stay Here and Keep Watch", there is no formal dismissal. The altar is quietly stripped and people slowly leave. Yet there are others who remain, staying and keeping watch with Jesus. I stayed for awhile, and thought about the Agony I the Garden.

I have this holy card in my Missal. I am drawn to it. It makes me uncomfortable (in a good way). It reminds of of how much Jesus loves us, how much he suffered for us. And most importantly, it reminds me that even though we fail Jesus every day, just as the Disciples failed Him in the garden... that He loves us, He forgives us... and He is with us always. And when we suffer, He understands our pain and sorrow, because he suffered so for us. It makes me want to strive to be better... to not fail Him... to be their for my loved ones, because in doing so, I'm there for Him.


Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Springtime Blessings

Springtime Greetings!

Hi everyone, it’s been awhile! I guess you could say that I’ve been in hibernation over the last couple of months! Things are well. We’ve been enjoying a beautiful spring here in this part of the country. Blossoms and their sweet fragrances are abundant. Because we had such a mild winter, everything bloomed early and seemingly, all at once! This gave us dazzling displays of color!

Not to be out done, the night skies have been amazing. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been treated to awesome views of the planets Venus and Jupiter. Russell got out our spotting scoping and we were even able to see the 4 Galilean moons of Jupiter!

This abundant spring, all the glory of God’s earth is a good reminder of what this Easter season is all about. New life is blooming and seems to herald something greater than the just the cacophony of birdsong and blossoms- most certainly the resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

We are in the midst of Holy Week and will soon be celebrating the Easter Triduum (the summit of the liturgical year, to celebrate the central mystery of faith: the passion, death and resurrection of Christ).

Unconditional love...

This new life, this new beginning, enables us to start over, to act differently. We are loved passionately by Jesus. By suffering and dying on the cross, He took away our sins. Knowing this, makes me want to act better… to grow and be a better person. This is definitely easier said than done, because we are human, and we make mistakes. The good news is… is that we are loved by God the Father, who is a gracious and merciful God!

Confession is good for the soul….

Just yesterday, I saw a funny picture on Facebook with the saying: “Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does!” Immediately, I grinned and thought of several of people that I would like to show this to- people whose behavior grates on my nerves… people who I think need to realize the error of their ways. I was on my high horse, and it wasn’t until several hours later, that I realized what a pompous arse I was for even thinking that. I was guilty of bad behavior and was not being a good person. Instead of focusing on others, it’s evident that I need to focus on my own behavior. I felt so ashamed, and rightly so.

This is such a good reminder that even those with the best of intentions can go astray in a heartbeat. Focus and diligence is necessary, as is the knowledge that when we mess up, it’s not the end of the world. There is always the possibility of a new beginning… a new day… rebirth. All because Jesus Christ died on the cross for us, so that our sins would be forgiven. In closing, I’d like to share this Lenten prayer that I found. And even though Lent is almost over, it’s good food for thought for the entire year:

A Lenten Prayer

Fast from judging others; feast on Christ in them.
Fast from wanting more; feast on being thankful.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from worry; feast on trust.
Fast from complaining; feast on enjoyment.
Fast from negatives; feast on positives.
Fast from stress; feast on prayer.
Fast from anger; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion for others.
Fast from fear; feast on truth.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from gossip; feast on silence.
Fast from fighting; feast on peace.

Gentle God, during this season of fasting and feasting, gift us with your presence
so we can be a gift to others in carrying out your work. Amen.

--Adapted from A Lenten Prayer by William Arthur Ward

It is my wish for each of you that you have a blessed and joyous Easter. May God bless one and all. Amen