Christ is Risen From the Dead

•April 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Sunday of the Resurrection of the Son of God:

 

“Today all things are filled with light / earth and heaven and the world beneath. / Then let all creation celebrate / the resurrection of Christ. / In Him is the firm foundation of all things.”

“O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!

This is the night
of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me,
and full of gladness.

O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.”

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”

“As it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.”

 

From Ode 3 (Orthodox Matins for the Resurrection)
From the Exsultet {Easter Proclamation} Easter Vigil (Roman Rite)
Isaiah 60:1 (Authorized Version)
Gospel of Matthew, 28:1-6 (Authorized Version)

Great and Holy Saturday

•April 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Descent of Christ into hell-cattedrale-di-san-marco-venezia-11th-c

Great and Holy Saturday

 

“O life, how can you die?
How can you dwell in a tomb?
Yet by your death you have destroyed the reign of death,
And raised all the dead from hell.”

“I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in Hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I in you.”

“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.”

 

 

From the First Stasis for Holy Saturday (Orthodox Triodion)
From a Homily on Holy Saturday (Office of Readings, Roman Rite)
Psalm 4:8 (Authorized Version)

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

•April 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

 

Crucifixion_of_Jesus_Gustave_Doré

 

Great and Holy Friday: Good Friday of the Passion of Our Lord

“Today he who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon the tree.”

“O my people, what have I done unto thee? Or wherein have I afflicted thee? Answer Me. Because I led thee out of the land of Egypt, thou hast prepared a Cross for thy Savior.”

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

From Antiphon XV, Matins for Great and Holy Friday (Orthodox Triodion)
From the Good Friday Reproaches (Roman Rite, Friday of the Passion of the Lord)
Isaiah 53:5 (Authorized Version)

 

 

 

Maundy Thursday, Evening of the Lord’s Supper

•April 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Christ_washes_apostles'_feet_(Monreale)

Maundy Thursday, Evening of the Lord’s Supper:

“Glory to you, our God, Glory to you!

The wisdom of God
Who rules the ungovernable waters of the heavens,
Who tames the deeps and restrains the seas,
Now pours water into a basin,
And the master washes the feet of his servants.”

“He is the One who covered death with shame and cast the devil into mourning, as Moses cast Pharaoh into mourning . He is the One that smote sin and robbed iniquity of offspring, as Moses robbed the Egyptians of their offspring. He is the One who brought us out of slavery into freedom, out of darkness into light, out of death into life, out of tyranny into an eternal kingdom; who made us a new priesthood, a people chosen to be his own for ever. He is the Passover that is our salvation. “

“A new commandment I give unto you: that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

From a Canticle of the Litany for Great and Holy Thursday (Orthodox Triodion)
From a Sermon of Melito of Sardis (Office of Readings for Holy Thursday, Roman Rite)
Gospel of St. John 13:34 (KJV)

Let Us Run to Accompany Him

•April 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment
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“Sitting on your throne in heaven,
Carried on a foal on earth, O Christ God!
Accept the praise of angels and the Songs of children who sing:
Blessed is he that comes to recall adam!”

“Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish. Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.”

“Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may enter in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory!”

 

Kontakion for Palm Sunday (Orthodox Triodion)
From a Sermon of St Andrew of Crete (Office of Readings, Roman Rite)
Psalm 24:9-10
Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord

On Not Being Outraged by the News

•April 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Have you heard the news? Its outrageous, isn’t it? For someone to be treated so unfairly, unjustly! Its a travesty that this thing has been done. The people that have done this are a bunch of &^%#!!@* and deserve to die. %$#@ them! Anyone who can do or say such things is a lousy piece of $@!&. Can you believe it! Oh, it makes me so mad, I just want to kill that !@#$&*((&^.

As part of my Lenten discipline, I have given up reading internet websites, except for research purposes, but have allowed myself any website that involves communication. And, since I am on Facebook, this means I still get treated to the various posts my friends (and yes, many of them are my actual friends) make on their facebook “walls.” Lately, I have been treated to a few posts which deliver some sort of message of outrage at this or that thing in the news.  I don’t mean to stand in judgment on my friends, but seeing the way others post in that forum on this or that issue (almost always political, sometimes cultural, sometimes both) has given me pause as to my own attitudes toward things I hear or read on various news outlets.  That first paragraph there is an approximation of the reaction I normally have whenever I hear something I vehemently disagree with.  Okay, so its a bit of a parody, but not by much.  Whenever some election, political vote, or opinion polling seems to go against my beliefs, my point of view, I confess to having gloomy, slightly paranoid thoughts sometimes, a habit I have tried hard over the years to break.  My point is that this experience of giving up the internet has led me to the conclusion that I should basically do this full time, only using the internet for research and communication purposes.

I mention all of this because, years ago, I had a teacher in college who inspired me to stop reading newspapers and periodical magazines on a regular basis, for much the same reasons that I am contemplating giving up the internet (mostly).  This man eventually became my Master’s thesis advisor, and had a profound effect on my life in many ways I will not have occasion to mention here.  He even wrote a short but pithy book arguing that news consumption literally makes us dumb, not only because it focuses us too much on conflict (and therefore leads us to blow things out of proportion, which is only one my of problems) but also because it dumbs our view of the world down by reducing it into tiny bits of easily consumable information, often devoid of proper context, merely for the sake of fitting into periodical schedules.  I’ll never forget reading his book; I’ve never been able to look at any news entity the same since.  And I quit reading newspapers and watching the news regularly about that time, and have never done so since.

I know what you’re probably thinking.   Isn’t it irresponsible not to want to stay connected with current events?  Isn’t burying yourself in a room somewhere reading books just sort of hiding from the world?  People made the same objections about my mentor’s book, but it kind of misunderstands his point.  He didn’t say the news industry was evil (well, not totally, anyway), and he didn’t even say that all periodical literature was bad for your mental health.  He understood people needed things to talk about, but what concerned him was the way the more regular news schedules (weekly, daily, now ever present) tended to focus one’s mind completely on the moment, to the exclusion of a larger view of the world.  (This is partly what led me to study history as a graduate student, and was no small influence on my conversion to Catholicism as well.)  If one was grounded in a such a larger view, he thought, some news consumption would not be that bad.  His concern was for people who seemed to have no other means of understanding their world but the things they see on their nightly news cast or weekly magazine.

The upshot of this post is that I believe I slipped back into a sort of news consuming mentality when I became an avid internet user, and of course blogs and other websites have merely accelerated the phenomena my mentor complained about so many years ago.  It is thus in the interests of my mental but also spiritual health that I think I need to sever myself from my attachment to the internet.  I’m not suggesting that there aren’t causes worth fighting for or injustices worth getting upset about in the world, but I find it is better to encounter those experiences directly rather than through the mediation of the periodical news industry, generally speaking.  It is far too easy to learn to hate those we disagree with, if we only take the view of them that is presented to us in the media, far too easy to blow out of proportion even legitimately troubling events that come our way through such media.  And it is easy because such decontextualized, periodically packaged news items naturally float free of the wider world from which they have been abstracted, leaving us free to fill in the rest with our imaginations, which though they are sometimes helpful just as often thrive on fear, anxiety, and distort our view of things beyond what they really are.  At least, this is the case with me, and I hope my resolution to cut myself off from the entertainment and news of blogs bears fruit in the form of greater patience in enduring events I unjust or intolerable, greater charity towards others, and hopefully less unjustified outrage in my soul when all is said and done.

 

 

Alypius Minor

Nature is Not Profane

•April 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Nature cannot compare with the infinite, the transcendent, the eternal; but this does not mean God created us to denigrate, or abuse it. Our feelings do not determine truth, or replace the law that God has placed in our hearts; but that does not make our feelings meaningless. Human beings are the apex of God’s creation on Earth, the object of his desire, such that he joined himself to humankind in order to save them; yet this does not mean that we are to treat our natural environment as King Herod treated John the Baptist, doing with him whatever he pleased. Marriage is a spiritual fellowship, a partnership of embodied souls, that goes far beyond the physical; but this does not mean that biology is arbitrary, or that one can exclude the creation of life as the most basic and primary telos of marriage, because one wishes it. We cannot save our selves by our own efforts, our natures cannot bear such a task; but without our natural gifts, there would be nothing for God to save. The glory of the human person is the use of his reason, whereby he communicates his thoughts, passions and loves to his fellow man, and to God; but this does not mean the person who is disabled, or born with birth defects, or as yet unborn, unable to use that rational faculty, are so much refuse to be discarded when those who can use that faculty see fit to do so. We were made for the infinite, triune God that created us, and he is our end, our destiny; but without the constraints and restraints that nature imposes upon us, we limited beings would simply cease to exist-like the world itself before God set it motion, without form and void. I myself have desired to profane my own nature, and do so repeatedly; I have desired all these things, despising myself and my own kind, wishing to be rid of the limitations placed upon me by nature.   We all desire more, but now we must sojourn in this earthly body, and so let us conduct ourselves as St. Paul enjoins us to, as the sons and daughters of God-not defying our own nature, but embracing it.  We may grow angry, we may kick against the pricks; we may pour out our bitter complaint to God for our limitations, which cause us so much grief.  That much at least is our right.  But let us also be thankful for them, for they make us who we are, the person, the human being that God has so awfully and wonderfully made.

 

 

Alypius Minor

 
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