Saturday, April 23, 2011

Exultet for Easter Vigil

The Resurrection by Fra Angelico
Professor Cassady chanted the Exultet tonight for the Easter Vigil here in Gaming. His chanting was lovely! I loved the text of it, so I included a passage of it here. Happy Easter to all! He is Risen!

This is the night
when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea. 

This is the night
when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin!
This is the night
when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.
This is the night
when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.
What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.
O happy fault,
O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights,
chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead!
Of this night scripture says:
"The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy."
The power of this holy night dispels all evil,
washes guilt away, restores lost innocence,
brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace,
and humbles earthly pride.
Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!
Therefore, heavenly Father,
in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church's solemn offering.

My Heart is an Open Wound with Love for Her

My Heart is an Open Wound with Love for Her
A poem by St. John of the Cross, a Benedictine mystic

A lone young shepherd lived in pain
withdrawn from pleasure and contentment,
his thoughts fixed on a shepherd-girl,
his heart an open wound with love.
He weeps, but not from the wound of love,
there is no pain in such affliction,
even though the heart is pierced;
he weeps in knowing he’s been forgotten.
That one thought: his shining one
has forgotten him, is such great pain
that he bows to brutal handling in a foreign land,
his heart an open wound with love.
The shepherd says: I pity the one
who draws herself back from my love,
and does not seek the joy of my presence,
though my heart is an open wound with love for her.
After a long time he climbed a tree,
and spread his shining arms,
and hung by them, and died,
his heart an open wound with love.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Arise, My Love

We adore you, Oh Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world. Last year, several of my fellow music majors put on a major concert of Buxtehude's cycle of cantatas, Membra Jesu Nostri. The cantatas each consist of a Scripture verse, followed by poetry of John Donne, which Buxtehude set to music. The poems are meditations on the wounded members of Christ's Crucified Body. This is the translation of the Latin text from the fourth cantata, To His Side. On my ten-day break this semester, I had the opportunity to travel to Ireland, where I saw the Cliffs of Moher. I had this piece running through my head as I was looking upon the Cliffs. Christ urges each of His children to come away to the cleft of the rock, to the cliff, to unite themselves to Him in His Passion and Death, for only if we die with Him shall we rise with Him. May we answer Christ's call and find refuge within His holy wounds, never to stray from His beloved side. Lord, give us the grace to follow you on the way of the Cross today and always!

“Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff.” Song 2:13-14
~The Cliffs of Moher~
Greetings, side of my saviour,
In which the sweetness of honey lies concealed,
In which the power of love is revealed,
From which the spring of your blood gushes forth,
Which washes clean the besmirched heart.
Behold, I am approaching you,
Spare me, Jesus, if I fail.
With reverent visage
I come of my own free will to you,
To examine your wounds.
May my soul at the hour of death
Enter into your side, O Jesus,
When I pass away, may it enter into you,
So that it is not attacked by a wrathful lion,
But may forever remain with you. Amen.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Master is Here...

A stained glass window from the neo-gothic chapel at
Kilmore Abbey, Ireland

A passage from Dom Mark Daniel Kirby's homily on the Gospel for this previous Sunday, The Raising of Lazarus. First of all, I have to say that St. John's Gospel is my favorite Gospel. St. John's Gospel is the Gospel of the Theologian. There is a reason why he is symbolized by an eagle - because his gospel soars above the others in its beauty and depth. (I am not trying to belittle the other Gospels though - each has their own unique purpose and beauty about them in their portrayal of the saving work of Christ). This is one of my favorite passages in St. John's though, and in Scripture as a whole. I think it is partly because of its use in Dostoyevski's novel Crime and Punishment. In a poignant scene in the book, the heroine Sonya reads the Raising of Lazarus to Raskolnikov in the hopes of awakening him to his need for repentance, to his need to be awakened from the spiritual death of grave sin to the life of grace in Christ. There are so many little moments, though, within the story that are overlooked as we pay attention to the climax of the narrative when Our Lord calls to Lazarus to come forth. Here are a couple moments Fr. Kirby speaks of in his homily:
"There is much in today's Gospel that solicits my attention and almost begs to be preached. There is, for instance, the message sent to Jesus by Martha and Mary,
the model of all intercessory prayer: "Lord, behold him whom Thou lovest is sick."
How like the prayer of the Mother of God at Cana is this prayer of two women, friends of Jesus,fully confident in His response even before He gives it. "They have no wine." (Jn 2:3) "Lord, behold him whom Thou lovest is sick." There is no need to say more. A prayer of intercession patterned after this prayer cannot fail to touch the Heart of Jesus.
I could also linger over the message that Martha whispers into Mary's ear: "The Master is here, and calleth for thee." (Jn 11:28) This is the very message that everything in our churches whispers to the believing heart: the doors of the Church says it, the Holy Water at the entrance of the Church says it, the flicker of the sanctuary lamp says it,
the centrality of the tabernacle says it. "The Master is here, and calleth for thee." (Jn 11:28) How can you or I remain indifferent to such an appeal?"
-Dom Mark Daniel Kirby.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Hymn to God the Father

A Hymn to God the Father
By John Donne (1572-1631)

I. Wilt Thou forgive that sin where I begun,
    Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
    And do run still, though still I do deplore?
        When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
                    For I have more.

II. Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I have won
    Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt Thou forgive that sin which I did shun
    A year or two, but wallowed in a score?
        When Thou hast done, Thou hast not done,
                    For I have more.

III. I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
    My last thread, I shall perish on the shore ;
But swear by Thyself, that at my death Thy Son
    Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore ;
        And having done that, Thou hast done ;
                    I fear no more.