I was never meant to be a Rose

I’ve been struggling for a while.  Struggling in a way that will be difficult for me to describe.  You see, I have not been struggling with belief in Our Lord, but struggling in prayer.  It’s not easy for me to write but I cannot be the only one to go through this.

I read the lives of the Saints and I feel . . . sad.  And I feel this amazing sense of wonder.  And then I feel shame.  I cannot do what they have done.  It is not within me.  It’s not just about their actions, but their love. It is so intense . . . almost tangible.

Prayer for me has always been a struggle.  You see, I understand perfectly well, rationally, that love of God and prayer is about doing and not feeling.  But I’ve struggled with taking that rational understanding deeper; with understanding it at a lever that goes beyond the rational.  I don’t know how to adequately describe what I mean, but I bet most of you have had that moment.  That moment where something happens and something that you’ve always known, always understood and could even explain and that one tiny thing occurs and it takes you understanding to a whole new place.  A place deeper.  I could not find that.

This week, I think I may have gotten there.  I’ve still be praying, but pulling back from trying so hard.  I always get more from reading the teachings of the Saints than prayer.  So, I’ve said short prayers and then turned to my book to continue it.  A couple days after trying this, I heard a little voice say, do what you can.  Don’t give up.  Only give what you can.

We are not all meant to be Roses.

The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.  If all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers.

~ Saint Therese of Lisieux

I am a simple little wild flower and at least right now, that is what God wants me to be.

Now, I can grow.

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Feast of Corpus Christi

I wanted to share this with you, from Father Z’s blog on the Feast of Corpus Christi.  This is from the 1986 the English edition of Joseph Ratzinger’s Feast of Faith.

It said that the purpose of Corpus Christi was to arouse gratitude in the hearts of men and to remind them of their common Lord. (cf. Decr. desc. Euch., c. 5; DS 1644).  Here in a nutshell, we have in fact three purposes: Corpus Christi is to counter man’s forgetfulness, to elicit his thankfulness, and it has something to do with fellowship, with that unifying power which is at work where people are looking for the one Lord.  A great deal could be said about this; for with our computers, meetings and appointments we have become appallingly thoughtless and forgetful (pp. 128-9).

Let us consider Trent again for a moment.  There we find the unqualified statement that Corpus Christi celebrates Christ’s triumph, his victory over death. Just as, according to our Bavarian custom, Christ was honored in the terms of a great state visit, Trent harks back to the practice of the ancient Romans who honored their victorious generals by holding triumphal processions on their return.  The purpose of Christ’s campaign was to eliminate death, that death which devours time and makes us cultivate the lie in order to forget or “kill” time.  … Far from detracting from the primacy of reception which is expressed in the gifts of bread and wine, it actually reveals fully and for the first time what “receiving” really means, namely, giving the Lord the reception due to the Victor.  To receive him means to worship him; to receive him means precisely, Quantum potes tantum aude – dare to do as much as you can.  (p. 130).

Yesterday, was the first Feast of Corpus Christi that I recall.  I’m not sure if it was the first I have attended or if I just don’t remember the other because so often in the past (and sometimes even now) I get distracted and am just going along with the Mass.  There was no missing this Feast Day yesterday.  The procession was one of the most amazing processions I have taken part in and it was beautiful, reverent and full of gratitude.  After experiencing this, I wanted to share the above.

 

On a separate note, obviously I haven’t been writing at all lately.  Mostly for two reasons, I’ve been idle in my reading and I’ve realized how much more difficult writing this blog is than I am used to.  I do not have much of a talent for this and I am embarrassed by how little I know.  So, I can stop writing and let others do a better job, or swallow my pride and write to continue to learn (which is not something I wanted to admit to myself).  I’m not sure how much people really want to read me flailing around for answer, but at least for the time being, I hope to continue to use this space to write down my thoughts in an effort to suss them out and when I’m wrong, it will help me expand.  So, those are my plans.  I will be out of town for awhile this and next week and I am bringing with me Thy Will Be Done: Letters to Persons in the World by Saint Francis de Sales.  I’ve read a couple of the letters and they are excellent and I will likely have several thoughts/questions about these when I return.  Hopefully, I will have a lot more to write about then.

Focus

1 Corinthians 7:32-35

32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

Prepare for rambling as my focus is limited.

I’ve written little lately.  I’ve read little lately.  Sadly, I’ve thought little lately.  What did come to mind was this passage above and how very true it is.  I need to refocus and I think we all fall into this trap at times.  Life is there and to live it and care for those around us, it is easy to forget why we are doing it.

I spoke to a priest about this once, how I fear I loved my family more than Our Lord.  He said to me, loving your husband is loving Our Lord.  We are called to do this.  So care for your family and love your husband for this is your vocation.

These words will stick with me always.  However, I tend to think where our focus is determines what we are doing.  One can do the exact same actions with a different focus and our intentions will determine the reason we do them.  There are times where I simply lose focus, where I care for and love my family because I am a wife and mother.  Not because it is my vocation.  Doing the exact same actions with a different focus can lead to very different results.  When I love my family without focus on Our Lord, I fail more often. I get more tired, more irritated and less patient.  When I think of my vocation, I am far more patient and I’m a better wife and mother.

So why do I lack focus?  Why do I forget why I am doing these things?  Getting sucked into the world is so easy to do.  It’s a weird place of comfort with simultaneous discomfort.  I’m still trying to figure out how to be in the world and not of it.  I suspect it will take a life time.

 

Prayer Request

 

Saint Gertrude

 

This information came to my attention yesterday and I ask for you all to pray for this family.  If you are able, at Mass this weekend, please light a candle for this husband’s soul.

A family in Wisconsin desperately needs your prayers right now.  [Name redacted] is currently in labor with child at a hospital.  Her husband [name redacted] was on the way to the hospital and hit a deer.  [Name redacted] died in the crash.  Please, in your earnest charity, pray for this family.

This family has seven children who were in the car with them.  As I understand it, they were in the hospital as well, though they are going to be ok.  At the time of  this writing, the wife has most likely had her new baby.  According to this, an on coming car had hit the deer and the deer then flew through this family’s windshield.

This family, the husband and wife could use as many prayers as we can give right now.  This is unimaginable.

The following prayer is a one given to us by Saint Gertrude.  Given we don’t know if his soul resides in heaven yet, let us remember him and all the other souls in purgatory:

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

According to tradition, Our Lord promised that 1,000 souls would be released to heaven each time it is prayed devoutly.

Please, pass this information on to others who might also pray for this family.

 

UPDATE: A Go Fund Me site has been put up for this family here.

The Veil

My apologies for not posting lately.  Life as it is, has had to come first.

I was sent a link to a page on chapel veils today and it contains this poem.  I thought you all might like it.  The rest of the link is quite good as well.

 

Oh lowly, little, chapel veil,
You are my dearest friend.
For when my hair’s all mops and brooms,
You cover, end to end.

And when my hair’s not curling right
Or when it sticks out straight,
You gently hold it all in place
And make it look first rate!

But feminists, they hate you so,
You lowly, simple thing.
To them you are so vile, not veil,
To praise Our Lord and King.

And passing by the Church of Seven,
“Autonomy’s”, their phrase.
They never know the joys of Heaven,
Such as, no bad-hair-days!

For lowly, lacey, chapel veil,
You tame my hair, so wild!
But truth-be-told, though I look nice,
It’s really for The Child.

When I first started to veil I was a bit self conscious.  No longer.  I would miss it terribly it I couldn’t wear one (for whatever reason) and I would feel very inappropriate.

 

The Crucifixion

A gentleman fro our church gave us this picture. This crucifix was designed using the Shroud of Turin and depicts all of Jesus’s wounds as they appeared on the Shroud itself.

The following is a paraphrased article by Dr. C. Truman Davis called “The Anatomical And Physiological Details Of Death By Crucifixion” that was originally published in Arizona Medicine in 1965.  I found this at Ann Barnhardt’s site.  She states, “Since it is widely reproduced on the internet, I have taken the liberty of cleaning up a few things, and correcting scripture citations.  Additions of my prose are in red brackets.]”  I do not think she will mind me reproducing it here and I will include her additions in red (and if you should find your way here, Miss Barnhardt and you wish me to remove this, I will). On this Good Friday, I thought having full knowledge of just what our Dear Lord suffered would be appropriate.  It’s important that we know and understand.  As always, if only I could put into words what reading and trying to understand this. . . . All I can think to say is, Our Lord Jesus willingly went through all of this out of His Love for us and obedience to His Father. Knowing all that he would go through; he still chose this path:

Crucifixion is the most painful death ever invented by man and is where we get our term “excruciating.”  It was reserved primarily for the most vicious of male criminals.  Our Lord refused the anesthetic wine which was offered to Him by the Roman soldiers in keeping with His promise recorded in Matthew 26: 29, “And I say to you, I will not drink from henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it with you new in the kingdom of My Father.”  Our Lord was stripped naked [This is very important. The depictions of Our Lord with His loincloth intact on the Cross are for the sake of modesty, particularly for women and children.  He was naked.  The humiliation of being hung naked with no way of covering one’s self was in integral part of the humiliation of crucifixion.  Our Blessed Lord spared Himself nothing – the agony of His Passion was maximal.] and His clothing divided by the Roman guards. This was in fulfillment of Psalm 21:19, “They parted My garments amongst them; and upon My vesture they cast lots.”  The Crucifixion of Jesus guaranteed a horrific, slow, painful death.

Having been nailed the Cross, Our Lord now had an impossible anatomical position to maintain.  Jesus’ knees were flexed at about 45 degrees, and He was forced to bear His weight with the muscles of His thigh, which is not an anatomical position which is possible to maintain for more than a few minutes without severe cramp in the muscles of the thigh and calf.  Our Lord’s weight was borne on His feet, with nails driven through them.  As the strength of the muscles of Our Blessed Lord’s lower limbs tired, the weight of His body had to be transferred to His wrists, His arms, and His shoulders.  Within a few minutes of being placed on the Cross, Our Lord’s shoulders were dislocated.  Minutes later His elbows and wrists became dislocated.  The result of these upper limb dislocations was that His arms were 9 inches longer than normal, as clearly shown on the Shroud of Turin.  In addition, prophecy was thus fulfilled in Psalm 21:15, “I am poured out like water; and all my bones are scattered.”

After Our Lord’s wrists, elbows, and shoulders were dislocated, the weight of His body on his upper limbs caused traction forces on the Pectoralis Major muscles of His chest wall.  These traction forces caused His rib cage to be pulled upwards and outwards, in a most unnatural state. His chest wall was permanently in a position of maximal respiratory inspiration. In order to exhale, Jesus had to push down on the nails in His feet to raise His body, and allow His rib cage to move downwards and inwards to expire air from His lungs.  His lungs were in a resting position of constant maximum inspiration. Crucifixion is a medical catastrophe.  The problem was that Our Blessed Lord could not easily push down on the nails in His feet because the muscles of His legs, bent at 45 degrees, were extremely fatigued, in severe cramp, and in an anatomically compromised position.

Despite what is shown in all Hollywood movies about the Crucifixion, the victim was extremely active.  A crucified victim was physiologically forced to move up and down the cross, a distance of about 12 inches, in order to breathe.  The process of respiration caused excruciating pain, mixed with the absolute terror of asphyxiation.  As the six hours of the Crucifixion wore on, Our Lord was less and less able to bear His weight on His legs, as His thigh and calf muscles became increasingly exhausted. [And bear in mind that He had already been scourged until most of His skin was gone, was thus in deep shock, and was then made to march approximately two kilometers while carrying His own Cross.  While fully human, Our Lord’s strength during His Passion was unfathomable.]  

There was increasing dislocation of His wrists, elbows and shoulders, and further elevation of His chest wall, making His breathing more and more difficult.  Within minutes of crucifixion Our Lord became severely dyspnoeic (short of breath).  His movements up and down the Cross to breathe caused excruciating pain in His wrists, His feet, and His dislocated elbows and shoulders.  The movements became less frequent as Our Blessed Lord became increasingly exhausted, but the terror of imminent death by asphyxiation forced Him to continue in His efforts to breathe [because His suffering had to be maximal – He had to give us absolutely all of His love].

Our Sweet Lord’s lower limb muscles developed excruciating cramping from the effort of pushing down on His legs, to raise His body, so that He could exhale, in their anatomically compromised position.  The pain from His two shattered median nerves in His wrists exploded with every movement.  Our Lord was covered in His Precious Blood and sweat.  The blood was a result of the Scourging that nearly killed Him, and the sweat as a result of His violent efforts to expire air from His lungs.

Throughout all this He was completely naked, and the leaders of the Jews, the Romans, the crowds, and the bad thief crucified beside Him were jeering, swearing and laughing at Him.  In addition, Our Lord’s own Blessed Mother was watching this, united to His suffering.

Physiologically, Our Lord’s body was undergoing a series of catastrophic and terminal events.  Because Jesus could not maintain adequate ventilation of His lungs, He was now in a state of hypoventilation (inadequate ventilation).  His blood oxygen level began to fall, and He developed Hypoxia (low blood oxygen).  In addition, because of His restricted respiratory movements, His blood carbon dioxide (CO2) level began to rise, a condition known as Hypercapnia.  This rising CO2 level stimulated His heart to beat faster in order to increase the delivery of oxygen, and the removal of CO2.  The Respiratory Center in Our Lord’s brain sent urgent messages to his lungs to breathe faster, and Our Lord began to pant.  Jesus’ physiological reflexes demanded that He take deeper breaths, and He involuntarily moved up and down the Cross much faster, despite the excruciating pain.

The agonizing movements spontaneously started several times a minute, to the delight of the crowd who jeered Him, the Roman soldiers, and the Sanhedrin.  However, due to the nailing of Our Precious Lord to the Cross and His increasing exhaustion, He was unable to provide more oxygen to His oxygen-starved body.  The twin forces of Hypoxia (too little oxygen) and Hypercapnia (too much CO2) caused His heart to beat faster and faster, and Our Lord developed Tachycardia.  His Sacred Heart beat faster and faster, and His pulse rate was probably about 220 beats/ minute, the maximum normally sustainable.  Jesus had drunk nothing for 15 hours, since 6 pm the previous evening.

Our Lord had endured a scourging which nearly killed Him.  He was bleeding from all over His body following the Scourging, the crown of thorns, the nails in His wrists and feet, and the lacerations following His beatings and falls.  Jesus was already extremely dehydrated, and His blood pressure fell alarmingly.  His blood pressure was probably about 80/50.  He was in First Degree Shock, with Hypovolaemia (low blood volume), Tachycardia (excessively fast Heart Rate), Tachypnoea (excessively fast Respiratory Rate), and Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).  Sometime after noon Our Lord’s Sacred Heart probably began to physically fail.  Jesus’ lungs probably began to fill up with Pulmonary Oedema.  This only served to exacerbate His breathing, which was already severely compromised.  Jesus was in Heart Failure and Respiratory Failure.  Jesus said, “I thirst” [partly] because His body was crying out for fluids [but also because He was thirsting for souls – both to love them and to be loved by them].  Our Lord was in desperate need of an intravenous infusion of blood and plasma.  He could not breathe properly and was slowly suffocating to death.  At this stage Our Lord probably developed a Haemopericardium: plasma and blood gathered in the space around His Sacred Heart, called the Pericardium.  This fluid around His Sacred Heart caused Cardiac Tamponade (fluid around His Sacred Heart, which prevented it from beating properly).  Because of the increasing physiological demands on Jesus’ Sacred Heart, and the advanced state of Haemopericardium, He may have eventually sustained Cardiac Rupture. His Sacred Heart may have literally burst [before being pierced by the lance of Longinus]. Heart failure was probably the [ultimate physical] cause of His death, [while our sins are the true cause of His suffering and death].

When the Romans wanted to expedite death they would simply break the legs of the victim, causing the victim to suffocate in a matter of minutes. This was called Crucifragrum.  At three o’clock in the afternoon Our Lord said, “It is consummated.”  At that moment, He gave up His Spirit, and He died.  When the soldiers came to Our Lord to break His legs, He was already dead. Not a bone of His Body was broken, in fulfilment of the prophecy in Exodus 12: 46.  Our Precious Lord thus died on the Cross after six hours of the most excruciating and terrifying torture ever invented, after enduring torture in the twelve hours prior to His crucifixion which, by itself, would have been sufficient to kill any other man.

Praying in the Garden

The Agony in the Garden ~ Giuseppe Cesari

Mathew 26: 36-45

36 Then Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani; and he said to his disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray.

37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to grow sorrowful and to be sad.

38 Then he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here, and watch with me.

39 And going a little further, he fell upon his face, praying, and saying: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

40 And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What? Could you not watch one hour with me?

41 Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak.

42 Again the second time, he went and prayed, saying: My Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, thy will be done.

43 And he cometh again and findeth them sleeping: for their eyes were heavy.

44 And leaving them, he went again: and he prayed the third time, saying the selfsame word.

45 Then he cometh to his disciples, and saith to them: Sleep ye now and take your rest; behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners.

I’ve been thinking of this passage a lot this week.  I tend to forget that Jesus was not only divine, but fully Man.  That being Man, he wanted Peter there for comfort (that is how understand this, please correct me if I’m wrong) but that he had to do this alone.  I forget that while he knew he must be humiliated and crucified, he didn’t want to go through it.  Imagine, knowing exactly what is to come.  The brutality, the humiliation, the pain, the sorrow, and the suffering.  Knowing that you must do this for those you love and to follow the will of your father.  Imagine walking freely into that, with love in your heart.  I hope to one day be able to fully comprehend this sacrifice and this love.

Judas Iscariot

Bargain of Judas ~ Lippo Memmi ~ 14th century

45 Then he cometh to his disciples, and saith to them: Sleep ye now and take your rest; behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners.

46 Rise, let us go: behold he is at hand that will betray me.

47 As he yet spoke, behold Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the ancients of the people.

48 And he that betrayed him, gave them a sign, saying: Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he, hold him fast.

49 And forthwith coming to Jesus, he said: Hail, Rabbi. And he kissed him.

50 And Jesus said to him: Friend, whereto art thou come? Then they came up, and laid hands on Jesus, and held him.

Then Judas, who betrayed him, seeing that he was condemned, repenting himself, brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and ancients,

Saying: I have sinned in betraying innocent blood. But they said: What is that to us? look thou to it.

And casting down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed: and went and hanged himself with an halter.

But the chief priests having taken the pieces of silver, said: It is not lawful to put them into the corbona, because it is the price of blood.

And after they had consulted together, they bought with them the potter’s field, to be a burying place for strangers.

For this cause the field was called Haceldama, that is, The field of blood, even to this day.

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was prized, whom they prized of the children of Israel.

10 And they gave them unto the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed to me.

This is the story of Judas’ betray from Sunday’s Gospel.  When I read this over the weekend, I was struck with one major thing.  Judas repented.  I’ve heard this gospel before but for some reason, I’ve always overlooked this part and I was struck with a split second of hope then I remembered what happened next.  Judas hung himself.  And it hit me, Judas would have been forgiven as all sinners are who truly repent.  But he committed a sin even worse than his betrayal.  He despaired and hung himself.

I found this revelation to be tremendous, but I questioned the wisdom of it.  Could his despair really be a worse sin?  But I couldn’t shake it.  Jesus died so we could be forgiven.   He knew his fate, he didn’t want to face it, but he followed the will of his father,  for us.  This includes even the sin of Judas’ s betrayal, but the one sin that couldn’t be forgiven, because Judas wouldn’t allow it, was his despair and his subsequent suicide.

Thankfully, I woke this morning and read this and it confirmed everything for me.  The article quotes St Catherine of Sienna:

This is the sin which is never forgiven, now or ever: the refusal, the scorning, of my mercy. For this offends me more than all the other sins they have committed. So the despair of Judas displeased me more and was a greater insult to my Son than his betrayal had been. Therefore, such as these are reproved for this false judgment of considering their sin to be greater than my mercy, and for this they are punished with the demons and tortured eternally with them. (The Dialogue, n. 37, Paulist ed., p. 79)

I remember first learning about despair and being utterly confused as to why it would be considered such a serious sin.  To me, despair meant deep guilt. How could this be such a terrible thing?  Then someone explained, to despair is to think you are better than God.  For if you despair, you believe that you have done something so awful that God cannot forgive it.  To think this, to think you are better than God in all his mercy, is a terrible sin.  Explained this way, it made so much sense.   It’s almost as if we hold our sin higher than God (I wonder if this is a form of Pride?)

Now, I contrast this with Peter’s denial of Christ three times, the last time “he began to curse and to swear that he knew not the man”.  Realizing what he had done, and realizing that Jesus knew full well he would do it, Peter wept bitterly (unfortunately, I’m not yet familiar with Peter becoming the Rock up which the Church is built.  I wonder if this was addressed?) But Peter truly repented (there is an interesting section in the linked article above on how Judas was the only apostle who’s place needed to be filled after he died) and was forgiven.  We must never forget God’s capacity to forgive.  

One further thing, what is the significance of “It is not lawful to put them into the corbona, because it is the price of blood” and the potters field?

Palm Sunday Gospel

St Matthew, 26. 36-75; 27. 1-66

36 Then Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani; and he said to his disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray.

37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to grow sorrowful and to be sad.

38 Then he saith to them: My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here, and watch with me.

39 And going a little further, he fell upon his face, praying, and saying: My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

40 And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What? Could you not watch one hour with me?

41 Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak.

42 Again the second time, he went and prayed, saying: My Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, thy will be done.

43 And he cometh again and findeth them sleeping: for their eyes were heavy.

44 And leaving them, he went again: and he prayed the third time, saying the selfsame word.

45 Then he cometh to his disciples, and saith to them: Sleep ye now and take your rest; behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners.

46 Rise, let us go: behold he is at hand that will betray me.

47 As he yet spoke, behold Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the ancients of the people.

48 And he that betrayed him, gave them a sign, saying: Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he, hold him fast.

49 And forthwith coming to Jesus, he said: Hail, Rabbi. And he kissed him.

50 And Jesus said to him: Friend, whereto art thou come? Then they came up, and laid hands on Jesus, and held him.

51 And behold one of them that were with Jesus, stretching forth his hand, drew out his sword: and striking the servant of the high priest, cut off his ear.

52 Then Jesus saith to him: Put up again thy sword into its place: for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

53 Thinkest thou that I cannot ask my Father, and he will give me presently more than twelve legions of angels?

54 How then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that so it must be done?

55 In that same hour Jesus said to the multitudes: You are come out as it were to a robber with swords and clubs to apprehend me. I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you laid not hands on me.

56 Now all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then the disciples all leaving him, fled.

57 But they holding Jesus led him to Caiphas the high priest, where the scribes and the ancients were assembled.

58 And Peter followed him afar off, even to the court of the high priest. And going in, he sat with the servants, that he might see the end.

59 And the chief priests and the whole council sought false witness against Jesus, that they might put him to death:

60 And they found not, whereas many false witnesses had come in. And last of all there came two false witnesses:

61 And they said: This man said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and after three days to rebuild it.

62 And the high priest rising up, said to him: Answerest thou nothing to the things which these witness against thee?

63 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest said to him: I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us if thou be the Christ the Son of God.

64 Jesus saith to him: Thou hast said it. Nevertheless I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

65 Then the high priests rent his garments, saying: He hath blasphemed; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now you have heard the blasphemy:

66 What think you? But they answering, said: He is guilty of death.

67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him: and others struck his face with the palms of their hands,

68 Saying: Prophesy unto us, O Christ, who is he that struck thee?

69 But Peter sat without in the court: and there came to him a servant maid, saying: Thou also wast with Jesus the Galilean.

70 But he denied before them all, saying: I know not what thou sayest.

71 And as he went out of the gate, another maid saw him, and she saith to them that were there: This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth.

72 And again he denied with an oath, I know not the man.

73 And after a little while they came that stood by, and said to Peter: Surely thou also art one of them; for even thy speech doth discover thee.

74 Then he began to curse and to swear that he knew not the man. And immediately the cock crew.

75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus which he had said: Before the cock crow, thou wilt deny me thrice. And going forth, he wept bitterly.

27 And when morning was come, all the chief priests and ancients of the people took counsel against Jesus, that they might put him to death.

And they brought him bound, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

Then Judas, who betrayed him, seeing that he was condemned, repenting himself, brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and ancients,

Saying: I have sinned in betraying innocent blood. But they said: What is that to us? look thou to it.

And casting down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed: and went and hanged himself with an halter.

But the chief priests having taken the pieces of silver, said: It is not lawful to put them into the corbona, because it is the price of blood.

And after they had consulted together, they bought with them the potter’s field, to be a burying place for strangers.

For this cause the field was called Haceldama, that is, The field of blood, even to this day.

Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was prized, whom they prized of the children of Israel.

10 And they gave them unto the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed to me.

11 And Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, saying: Art thou the king of the Jews? Jesus saith to him: Thou sayest it.

12 And when he was accused by the chief priests and ancients, he answered nothing.

13 Then Pilate saith to him: Dost not thou hear how great testimonies they allege against thee?

14 And he answered him to never a word; so that the governor wondered exceedingly.

15 Now upon the solemn day the governor was accustomed to release to the people one prisoner, whom they would.

16 And he had then a notorious prisoner, that was called Barabbas.

17 They therefore being gathered together, Pilate said: Whom will you that I release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus that is called Christ?

18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.

19 And as he was sitting in the place of judgment, his wife sent to him, saying: Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

20 But the chief priests and ancients persuaded the people, that they should ask for Barabbas, and take Jesus away.

21 And the governor answering, said to them: Whether will you of the two to be released unto you? But they said, Barabbas.

22 Pilate saith to them: What shall I do then with Jesus that is called Christ? They say all: Let him be crucified.

23 The governor said to them: Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying: Let him be crucified.

24 And Pilate seeing that he prevailed nothing, but that rather a tumult was made; taking water washed his hands before the people, saying: I am innocent of the blood of this just man; look you to it.

25 And the whole people answering, said: His blood be upon us and our children.

26 Then he released to them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him unto them to be crucified.

27 Then the soldiers of the governor taking Jesus into the hall, gathered together unto him the whole band;

28 And stripping him, they put a scarlet cloak about him.

29 And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand. And bowing the knee before him, they mocked him, saying: Hail, king of the Jews.

30 And spitting upon him, they took the reed, and struck his head.

31 And after they had mocked him, they took off the cloak from him, and put on him his own garments, and led him away to crucify him.

32 And going out, they found a man of Cyrene, named Simon: him they forced to take up his cross.

33 And they came to the place that is called Golgotha, which is the place of Calvary.

34 And they gave him wine to drink mingled with gall. And when he had tasted, he would not drink.

35 And after they had crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: They divided my garments among them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.

36 And they sat and watched him.

37 And they put over his head his cause written: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

38 Then were crucified with him two thieves: one on the right hand, and one on the left.

39 And they that passed by, blasphemed him, wagging their heads,

40 And saying: Vah, thou that destroyest the temple of God, and in three days dost rebuild it: save thy own self: if thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

41 In like manner also the chief priests, with the scribes and ancients, mocking, said:

42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the king of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

43 He trusted in God; let him now deliver him if he will have him; for he said: I am the Son of God.

44 And the selfsame thing the thieves also, that were crucified with him, reproached him with.

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over the whole earth, until the ninth hour.

46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

47 And some that stood there and heard, said: This man calleth Elias.

48 And immediately one of them running took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar; and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.

49 And the others said: Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to deliver him.

50 And Jesus again crying with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

51 And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent.

52 And the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose,

53 And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, came into the holy city, and appeared to many.

54 Now the centurion and they that were with him watching Jesus, having seen the earthquake, and the things that were done, were sore afraid, saying: Indeed this was the Son of God.

55 And there were there many women afar off, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:

56 Among whom was Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

57 And when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was a disciple of Jesus.

58 He went to Pilate, and asked the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded that the body should be delivered.

59 And Joseph taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth.

60 And laid it in his own new monument, which he had hewed out in a rock. And he rolled a great stone to the door of the monument, and went his way.

61 And there was there Mary Magdalen, and the other Mary sitting over against the sepulchre.

62 And the next day, which followed the day of preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees came together to Pilate,

63 Saying: Sir, we have remembered, that that seducer said, while he was yet alive: After three days I will rise again.

64 Command therefore the sepulchre to be guarded until the third day: lest perhaps his disciples come and steal him away, and say to the people: He is risen from the dead; and the last error shall be worse than the first.

65 Pilate saith to them: You have a guard; go, guard it as you know.

66 And they departing, made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting guards.

**So much went through my head reading and hearing this again this year.  I’m going to attempt to pull some things out and discuss them, but I wanted to get the whole reading in one place first.  Feel free to discuss any of it that you wish in the comments.  I hope to write about more later today.

I Am

I’ve been wanting to write about last Sunday’s Gospel all week.  Things tend to get busy around here this time of year.

John 8 46-59

46 Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.”

48 The Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. 50 But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’ 53 Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; 55 and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced [a]to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham [b]was born, I am.” 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus [c]hid Himself and went out of the temple.

There is so much here and every time I sit down to try to suss it out, I always get caught up on I Am.  Two of the most profound words ever spoken.
Exodus 3:14
14 God said to Moses: I AM WHO AM. He said: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you.
I have learned about these words before, I believe from Father Barron, but I’m starting to lose track of where and when I have learn what lately.  Now I ask you to bear with me here, because I cannot seem to bring together my thoughts on this into any kind of tangible form.
I hear and read these words, I Am, and they are so profound.  When first hearing them, one sits and waits for the sentence to finish.  We expect more.  What we get is, I Am.  To say it so simply, like it is so obvious, I almost want to believe it comes from a man who is stuffed up on Pride. But these words come from Jesus.  The Man who is both God and Man.
Christ Panocrator

But Jesus himself says,  But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges.  And also, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’ There is no pride, only utter simplicity.  I Am.  I am, always was and will always be.  I am he who is sent by my Father to save you.  I am he who will go up on that cross to suffer and die for you.  I Am. There is so much more!  These are words I think of often, to try to begin to comprehend.  The harder I try the more elusive they seem.  Very occasionally, meaning will slam home and for a moment, I understand.  Only to have the sweetness slip away again. I Am.

The above is a photoshopped version of the Christ Pantocrator which shows Christ’s two distinct natures, called Dyophysitism (I learned this here, from Ann Barnhardt). I’m well aware that this post may have problems.  Many in fact.  It’s been floating around in my head and I needed to get it down as best I could.  It falls amazingly short.  I believe one could spend a life studying these two amazing words and still not reach their full meaning.  Please, rip this apart if it deserves it.  I need to know more.