Sunday, April 13, 2014

Holy Week 2014: Introduction

This year, I will be using the prayers of St Gregory on the Passion to help me reflect on the events of this sacred week. Holy Week is really what the individual makes of it since it is the culmination of the devotions of Lent. For many people, Holy Week will pass them by until we suddenly hit a couple of bank holidays and a festival of chocolate eating. Others will realise that there is something about Good Friday and Easter "Sunday". But there are those who will know that Holy Week in its stark realism of just how vile we can be to an innocent man culminates in a realisation of how truly merciful and loving God can be to even those who perpetrate such vile acts.

There are those who see the suffering in the world and stop there, sickened and depressed at how even the best of us can fall so hard. Forgiveness is difficult when the sins don't stop, when retribution is meted out somewhat arbitrarily and on a tit-for-tat basis, when there is no remorse, no visible justice. On this road to Calvary, we see the suffering of the innocent, the failure of authority to serve the society that it governs.

And yet, we see sins forgiven all the way along the route, right up until almost the last breath, words of forgiveness, of love, of paradise, of fulfilment. All along the way of the Cross, there is no brooding, seething retribution but a fundamental, impartial and innate desire for the salvation of the wicked regardless of crime. There is justice on the Cross, for this is the way that we pass through sin and into righteousness, purgation rather than punishment, restoration rather than rejection, unconditional love rather than conditioned hatred.

Thus, as I try feebly to meditate on the Passion of Our Lord, I do invite you to join in praying these prayers with me, even if you don't find my reflections in any way useful.

I beseech thee, O Lord Jesu Christ, that thy Passion may be unto me virtue whereby I may be fenced, protected and defended. Let thy wounds be to me meat and drink, by which I may be fed, inebriated, and delighted. Let the sprinkling of thy blood be to me the washing away of all my sins. Let thy death be to me everlasting glory. In these let me find my refreshment, exultation, health, longing, joy and desire, both of body and soul, now and for ever. Amen.

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