Crucifixion

PRAYER: My Trewest Tresowre Sa Trayturly Was Taken by Richard Rolle

September 10, 2018

My Truth and my Treasure so treacherously taken, How bitter your bonds and how biting your bands, How soon by your so-called servants forsaken, When horrid men hurt your poor head with their hands. The source of salvation was seized on so sore, Then pulled out of prison to Pilate at prime. Their battering blows then so bravely you bore; The sinners just spat in your face with their slime. My dear, my desire, you were dragged through the dirt, Forced to carry your cross and wear cruel crown of thorn, They harried your heels to your harm and your hurt, To your hanging the back-breaking burden was born. So sadly my Savior in sorrow must die, Stripped naked, then nailed to the cross all alone; They horribly heaved up the gallows on high, Then [...]

POETRY: The Country Clergy by R. S. Thomas

May 18, 2018

I see them working in old rectories By the sun’s light, by candlelight, Venerable men, their black cloth A little dusty, a little green With holy mildew. And yet their skulls, Ripening over so many prayers, Toppled into the same grave With oafs and yokels. They left no books, Memorial to their lonely thought In grey parishes; rather they wrote On men’s hearts and in the minds Of young children sublime words Too soon forgotten. God in his time Or out of time will correct [...]

POETRY: In A Country Church by R. S. Thomas

April 6, 2018

To one kneeling down no word came, Only the wind’s song, saddening the lips Of the grave saints, rigid in glass; Or the dry whisper of unseen wings, Bats not angels, in the high roof. Was he balked by silence? He kneeled long, And saw love in a dark crown Of thorns blazing, and a winter tree Golden with fruit of a man’s [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Seventh Word, Witness—Margaret Mary Alacoque by Charles M. Murphy

March 31, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration It is finished. (John 19:30) Bernard Haring, the Redemptorist priest who sought to renew moral theology by delivering it from the categories of canon law to the language of the gospel, wrote this regarding the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus inspired by the life and witness of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque: History shows that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a great love of the Eucharist are inseparable.  Jesus, who gave us this memorial of his sacrificial and atoning love, is now present in the Eucharist to bestow on us the wonderful pledge of the love of his heart.  It is especially in the Eucharist that he offers us an exchange of heart, conforming our hearts to his heart. The life of Margaret [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Sixth Word, Witness—Mother Teresa of Calcutta by Charles M. Murphy

March 30, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration I thirst. (John 19:28) Mother Teresa recalled that it was on a train journey to Darjeeling, on September 10, 1946, that she received a second vocation within religious life, “a vocation to give up even Loreto where I was very happy and to go out in the streets to serve the poorest of the poor.”  In 1928 she had left her home in Albania to join the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland who, at her request, assigned her to teach in India.  She felt an overwhelming desire not just to teach the poor in school and then send them home but also to go live among them and experience herself the poverty in which they lived.  September 10 is observed as “Inspiration Day,” the true beginning of the Missionaries of Charity [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Fifth Word, Witness—Bless John Paul II by Charles M. Murphy

March 29, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration Woman, this is your son. Son, this is your mother. (John 19:27) As the second millennium of the birth of Christ drew near, Pope John Paul II issued a reflection upon the Mother of the Redeemer.  Citing the Second Vatican Council, he recalls that the church in the course of history “proceeds along the path already trodden by the Virgin Mary who ‘advanced in her pilgrimage of faith and loyally persevered in her union with her son unto the cross.’”  There, he says, “Mary’s motherhood is a gift, a gift which Christ himself makes personally to every individual.” Karol Wojtyla’s life was characterized by devotion to the mother of God who, he believed, saved him when he lost his own mother at the age [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Fourth Word, Witness—Blessed John XXIII by Charles M. Murphy

March 28, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46) Behind the genial smile and peasant simplicity of Angelo Roncalli, Pope John XXIII, was a closely guarded secret, his soul and the constant soul work in which he was so seriously engaged all his life.  From 1895, when he was fourteen, until 1962, a few months before his death at eighty-one – a span of almost seventy years – he kept a daily journal to which he later gave the title Il Giornale dell’ Anima (The Journal of a Soul).  In it he was constantly talking with God and placing himself at God’s disposal. His life was a public one and far removed from the contemplative sphere: secretary to his bishop in Bergamo, spiritual director at the local [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Third Word, Witness—Dorothy Day by Charles M. Murphy

March 27, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration Today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43) Dorothy Day, with the French exile Peter Maurin, founded the Catholic Worker movement with its houses of hospitality for feeding and sheltering the poor and homeless.  They also began a monthly newspaper, The Catholic Worker, to communicate the church’s social teachings.  The Catholic Worker, true to its mission, still sells for a penny a copy.  Day and Maurin preached and practiced a “radical” Christianity of social justice, charity, and pacifism – radical in the sense of going to the roots of our beliefs and living out the consequences.  Voluntary poverty and direct, one-on-one love of the poor are expected of all members.  Dorothy always credited [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: Second Word, Witness—St. Teresa Blessed by the Cross (Edith Stein) by Charles M. Murphy

March 27, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:32-34) Hannah Arendt and Edith Stein were philosophy students in Germany before World War I.  Arendt studied with Martin Heidegger, Stein with Edmund Husserl.  Though Jewish, both women were strongly attracted to Christianity.  Arendt wrote her doctoral dissertation on Saint Augustine’s concept of love, and Stein wrote hers on the idea of empathy.  Arendt eventually made her way to the United States and had a distinguished academic career.  Her five-part article, “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil,” written for the New Yorker magazine in 1963, caused great controversy. After some years as a Roman Catholic, Stein was [...]

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST: First Word, Witness—Simone Weil by Charles M. Murphy

March 25, 2018

From Eucharistic Adoration My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46) The cry of desolation and abandonment of Jesus from the cross surely is one of the saddest verses in all of scripture.  Another, and comparable to it, is a passage from the Book of Genesis, a book that begins with God’s celebration of all his works as “good” and of creation of the first human as “very good.”  But later, surveying the extent of human wickedness, God “regretted having made human beings on Earth and was grieved at heart,” (Genesis 6:6).  It was then that God decided to “rid the surface of the Earth of human beings whom I have created,” and everything else. (Genesis 6:7). Simone Weil, the brilliant French philosopher and [...]

POETRY: Salvator Mundi: Via Crucis by Denise Levertov

September 6, 2017

Maybe he looked indeed much as Rembrandt envisioned Him in those small heads that seem in fact portraits of more than a model. A dark, still young, very intelligent face, a soul-mirror gaze of deep understanding, unjudging. That face, in extremis, would have clenched its teeth in a grimace not shown in even the great crucifixions. The burden of humanness (I begin to see) exacted from Him that He taste also the humiliation of dread, cold sweat of wanting to let the whole thing go, like any mortal hero out of his depth, like anyone who has taken a step too far and wants herself back. The painters, even the greatest, don’t show how, in the midnight Garden, or staggering uphill under the weight of the Cross, He went through with even the [...]

POETRY: Paradox And Promise by Clare of Assisi

August 9, 2017

Look upon Him Who became contemptible for you, and— if you choose— follow His way, becoming contemptible to the world, so long as you do so for Him. More lovely than all things, He became the lowest, despised, struck, scourged countless times and raked across His perfect Body. And then, amid the sufferings of the horrid Cross, He died. For you. If you suffer with Him, you shall reign with Him. Weep with Him and you shall rejoice with Him. Die with Him upon the cross of wretchedness, and life is yours, And, yes, your dwelling forever in [...]

EASTER SERMON: The Wounds Of Jesus, by C. C. Lovelace

April 30, 2017

From The Sanctified Church, by Zora Neale Hurston Our theme this morning is the wounds of Jesus. When the Father shall ask, What are these wounds in thine hand? He shall answer, Those are they with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. (Zachariah 8:6) We read in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah where He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities; and the apostle Peter affirms that His blood was spilt from before the foundation of the world. I have seen gamblers wounded. I have seen desperadoes wounded; thieves and robbers and every other kind of characters, law breakers, and each one had a reason for this wounds. Some of them were unthoughtful, and some for being overbearing, some by the doctor’s knife. [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Station 13 — Jesus Is Taken Down From The Cross, by Joan Chittister

April 14, 2017

From: The Way of the Cross The Experience Now when it is finally, irrevocably over, when there is nothing left to do but to admit the loss, the inevitability of reality takes over.  Faith is bruised.  Hope is gone.  The door to yesterday has clanged shut and we are forever bereft of whole segments of our life.  We are alone – the worst word in the English language has descended on our shoulders.  And suddenly we begin to realize how limited we ourselves have always been but only now had to admit.  We are not meant to be alone. The insight crushes us to the ground.  Where is the rest of me, if not in a coffin of pain in the front of the world, never to be able to hide again? The realization that death eclipses time, that it alone [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Station 12 — Jesus Dies On The Cross, by Joan Chittister

April 13, 2017

From: The Way of the Cross The Experience What is worse than the actual event of death is the awareness of the degree of loss that comes with it.  Simply announcing that someone has had “a peaceful death” does nothing to damp the pain of it.  When the death is a violent one, the deprivation – the sense of having been able to do nothing to have stopped the pain – burrows down into the center of the soul dark and endless. Violent death, natural or not, haunts us at night and plagues us during the day.  It stops time at the moment before the loss.  It suspends us in an orbit of pain.  Now what? What can possibly fix the lives that are left to mourn the dead who die out of time and at the hands of the uncaring, the [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Station 11 — Jesus Is Nailed To The Cross, by Joan Chittister

April 7, 2017

From: The Way of the Cross The Experience The words, Jesus is nailed to the cross, trip lightly off the tongue.  Not to worry.  After all, it’s Jesus on this cross, and God will take care of him, we think.  Or to put it another way, the whole event has taken on the character of play acting: It’s Jesus – who is God – and so the pain of it really doesn’t hurt him.  It’s not the real thing.  The humanity of Jesus is forgotten and the cross becomes more symbol than real. The problem is that, as a result of that kind of spiritual trivialization at the eleventh station, we stand to lose the very meaning of the moment.  As if our crosses are “real” but Jesus’s crosses are not and so there is [...]

SACRIFICE: Moses — Painting By Numbers

April 6, 2017

Lent is all about taking steps.  One after the other. Lent is only about taking steps. He leads.  We follow. Until we come to the edge.  Then he falls.  And we stay right where we are. And at that moment it is not just our souls and our hearts that are plunged into darkness. Not just our altars and our churches. But it is the world, even the universe that no longer has his light to see by. I write these posts because I am tired of living a life of clenching my fists hard and biting my lip whenever I hear someone say that Jesus Died For Me with the same kind of enthusiasm he might use if he just won a car on a game show. Gosh!  Isn’t it great!  Look at what he did for me! No. Just, no. Like Noah’s raven, Jesus was sent to [...]

POETRY: Crucifixion by John Greenleaf Whittier

March 31, 2017

Sunlight upon Judah’s hills! And light on the waves of Galilee; On Jordan’s stream, and on the rills The feed the dead and sleeping sea! Most freshly from the green wood springs The light breeze on its scented wings; And gayly quiver in the sun The ceder tops of Lebanon! A few more hours, —a change hath come! The sky is dark without a cloud! The shouts of wrath and joy are dumb, And proud knees unto earth are bowed! A change is on the hill of Death, The helmed watchers pant for breath. And turn with wild and maniac eyes From the dark scene of sacrifice! That Sacrifice! —the death of Him, — The Christ of God, the holy One! Well may the conscious Heaven grow dim, And blacken the beholding Sun. The wonted light hath fled [...]

POETRY: And A Good Friday Was Had By All by Bruce Dawe

March 23, 2017

You men there, keep those women back and God Almighty he laid down on the crossed timber and Old Silenus my offsider looked at me as if to say nice work for soldiers, your mind’s not your own once you sign that dotted line Ave Caesar and all that malarkey Imperator Rex well this Nazarene didn’t make it any easier really—not like the ones who kick up a fuss so you can do your block and take it out on them Silenus held the spikes steady and I let fly with the sledge-hammer, not looking on the downswing trying hard not to hear over the women’s wailing the bones give way the iron shocking the dumb wood. Orders is orders, I said after it was over nothing personal you understand—we had a drill-sergeant once thought he was [...]

POETRY: The Ballad Of Mary’s Son by Langston Hughes

March 17, 2017

It was in the Spring The Passover had come. There was feasting in the streets and joy. But an awful thing Happened in the Spring— Men who knew not what they did Killed Mary’s Boy. And the Son of God was He— Sent to bring the whole world joy. There were some who could not hear, And some were filled with fear— So they built a cross For Mary’s [...]

POETRY: A Quintina Of Crosses, by Chad Walsh

January 25, 2017

Beyond, beneath, within, wherever blood, If there were blood, flows with the pulse of love, Where God’s circle and all orbits cross, Through the black space of death to baby life Came God, planting the secret genes of God. By the permission of a maiden’s love, Love came upon the seeds of words, broke blood, And howled into the Palestine of life, A baby roiled by memories of God. Sometimes he smiled, sometimes the child was cross. Often at night he dreamed a dream of God And was the dream he dreamed. Often across The lily fields he raged and lived their life, And Heaven’s poison festered in his blood, Loosing the passion of unthinkable love. But mostly, though, he lived a prentice’s life Until a singing in the surge [...]

SCRIPTURE: The Cross And The Foolishness Of God by John Proctor

October 6, 2016

From First and Second Corinthians For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise?  Where is the scribe?  Where is the debater of this age?  Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.  For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those [...]

BELIEF: I, Like The Thief, by Leo Tolstoy

November 19, 2015

Five years ago I came to believe in Christ’s teachings, and my life suddenly changed; I ceased to desire what I had previously desired, and began to desire what I formerly did not want.  What had previously seemed to me good seemed evil, and what seemed evil seemed good.  It happened to me as it happens to a man who goes out on some business and suddenly decides that the business is unnecessary and returns home.  All that was on his right is now on his left, and all that was on his left is now on his right; his former wish to get as far as possible from home has changed into a wish to be as near as possible to it.  The direction of my life and my desires became different, and good and evil changed places. (A Confession) I, like [...]

POETRY: This Bread I Break, by Dylan Thomas

November 18, 2015

This bread I break was once the oat This wine upon a foreign tree Plunged in its fruit; Man in the day or wind at night Laid the crops low, broke the grape’s joy. Once in this wine the summer blood Knocked in the flesh that decked the vine, Once in this bread The oat was merry in the wind; Man broke the sun, pulled the wind down. This flesh you break, this blood you let Make desolation in the vein, Were oat and grape Born of the sensual root and sap; My wine you drink, my bread you [...]

EVELYN UNDERHILL THROUGH LENT: Another Letter — The Cross by Evelyn Underhill

March 11, 2015

From The Letters of Evelyn Underhill I do not think you have ever made the Cross the center of your life really.  I do not quite know what you have made the center, but it looks as though it cannot be that.  And you have got to, you know.  Nothing else will do.  And if you do not accept it deliberately, why then it will be forced on you in some subtle and ingenious way, as it is at the present moment.  And by struggling and tiring yourself out, you make it worse and add physical and mental fatigue to your spiritual troubles.  Accept what you are having, quite simply and obediently.  Take it as it comes.  Do not “will” or “want” this or that; however virtuous and edifying your wishes may be.  All such [...]

HEALING: The Seven Last Words — Measuring Stick of Forgiveness, by Matthew Linn and Dennis Linn

September 5, 2014

From Healing Life’s Hurts To forgive as deeply as Christ forgives, you must be stretched by Christ’s mind until you can speak as he did his seven last words, his final attempt to forgive.  If a person has hurt you, Christ waits to say today through you the same words he spoke two thousand years ago at the cost of pain and life. Steps A. Pick one person who has hurt you (one you are not grateful for and would like to change). B. Recreate in your imagination the scene of the hurt until you can feel anger, fear, and the reaction you had when first hurt.  Share these feelings with Christ. C. Take the first of Christ’s seven last words and ask forgiveness for any way your forgiveness doesn’t match Christ’s [...]

JOB: The Cry Of Jesus On The Cross, by Jean-Claude Sagne

June 19, 2014

From Job and the Silence of God. Translated by Iain McGonagle. It is through the cry of Jesus that we can understand the spiritual drama of Job.  The passion of Jesus and its presence in the church come between the sufferer of the time of the first alliance and ourselves.  The glory of the cross provides the only light by which we can apprehend Job’s ordeal.  That at any rate is the way opened up to us by a spiritual reading of the sacred scriptures, the central principle of which is the accomplishment by Jesus of all the figures of the Old Testament. We shall, therefore, begin by seeking to understand something of the cry of Jesus on the cross before returning to the spiritual drama of Job.  But what is the relationship [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Thirteenth Station — Jesus Christ Is Laid In The Arms Of His Mother, by Evelyn Underhill

April 17, 2014

From The Path of Eternal Wisdom, written under the pseudonym, John Cordelier The Eternal Wisdom Embraced by Human Love It has been said by a great preacher that “Jesus dead in the arms of Mary is the central fact of the world’s tragedy.”  Here we see it at last in its results – what, left to ourselves, we would do to Perfection if he would let us: the foolish cruelty, the destructive instincts of the separated human will apart from grace, from God. Yet poignant though this picture be, terrible in its revealing power, perhaps it were truer to say that this cradling of the dead Christ in the arms of his human mother is the “central fact” which brings to a point the highest honor that humanity has yet attained. Upon my flowery [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Twelfth Station — Jesus Christ Dies Upon The Cross, by Evelyn Underhill

April 13, 2014

From The Path of Eternal Wisdom, written under the pseudonym, John Cordelier The Eternal Wisdom Declares His Plan to Men The mediaeval illuminators were accustomed to draw the Tree of the Cross growing out of the Heart of God.  It bore seven roses; and in each rose was written the word, Love.  In the midst of this divine inflorescence, Perfect Love hung and suffered for the salvation of men: as he may be felt, seen, and known by his lovers, hanging, suffering, dying every day.  On every Christian altar we exhibit, not only the drama of faith, but this eternal process of the world. It is plain, then, that this process must also be the process of the soul’s initiation.  It is a death process; and a death not of the body alone.  We are [...]