Saturday, April 19, 2014

Something strange is happening!

Happy Holy Saturday.  What an awesome day:

From an ancient homily on Holy Saturday 
(PG 43, 439, 451, 462-463)

The Lord descends into hell

Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for 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 am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

Lots to get ready for today.  I mainly take the Triduum as it comes.

We have several wonderful UCat catechumens and candidates being received into the Church by the Bishop tonight at the Cathedral.  But we have one baptism at St. Mary's, and it's a special one.  All I will say is to bring big containers to take home baptismal holy water.  There's going to be A LOT of it!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pope Francis to the rescue!

Pope Francis also spoke about the importance of defending children's right "to grow in a family with a mother and father able to create a healthy environment for their growth and affective maturity," which includes "maturing in relationship to the masculinity and femininity of a father and a mother."

I could not help thinking of Sr. Jane Dominic's talk that caused so much furor when I came across this quotation in this talk given by the Holy Father.

It seems like they are on the same page in their sociology!

Ready for the Triduum

I think that UCat is especially ready for the Triduum, the observance of the Paschal Mystery, after the 72 straight hours of Adoration that ended last night.  The final Holy Hour was overflowing into the hallway.  In all honesty, this has to be one of the high points of my priesthood because it had so little to do with me.  The students and Jesus pretty much did it all!

Of course, there was the weekly 24 hour Adoration at St. Mary's this week as well.  And that is put together by some of the young adults in the city.

Happy Holy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Nunc dimittis

Wow!  If the Lord called me now, I would die a happy man.  This morning from 6 to 7 AM, the Frassati House chapel was full of freshmen making a Holy Hour and singing!  Just wanted you to know.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Holy Week 2014

The best thing happening at UCat right now is this!  Since Sunday night after Mass until Wednesday night after Praise and Worship -- 3 full days! -- there is Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament going on in the Frassati House chapel.  All of this has been organized by the students.  This picture was at about 6 a.m. this morning when I had finished the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer with Jeff Swaney (whose head is in the picture) -- chanted, of course!

I am going to begin this Holy Week a series of pictures from around Vanderbilt.  Yes, there are some good and pious things in these parts!  Sometimes surprisingly so.  Anyhow, I am going to try to comment on the good a lot more.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Got to get that picture down the page!

I am posting again because I hate that picture in the last post.

A couple of further thoughts.  If we do surrender in the culture wars because we have simply been engulfed and overrun, then we are left with the role that Pope Francis spoke of: the field hospital to the culture.  That is what so many things that I really admire in the Church are doing: Courage and Rachel's Vineyard, for example.  They come in mainly after the damage has been done and try to help people put themselves back together -- this time with grace.  If that is not the Gospel, I don't know what is.  We can also create communities that are safe havens in the cultural wasteland.  This is my goal both for UCat and for St.Mary's. This formation of Christian communion is sometimes called the Benedict Option, referring to what St. Benedict did in his time.  These approaches are beautiful, but they presume tremendous loss:  So many lives left to the depravity of the predominant culture.  This, however, seems to be the way of the Lord Jesus.  He did not establish a mass movement.  He did not take on the world, the flesh, and the devil on their own terms but on His.  There was a huge price to pay, and He paid it. And He won.  We will win too when we follow His way: the way of meekness and sacrificial love.  So let us ask how we can serve and save the culture rather than how we can control it.  That is the way to persuade by ethos.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Different Mode of Persuasion

Here is the cover story of the Vanderbilt Hustler for this week:

Breaking the Bathroom Binary

Go read it if you dare.

Where do you even start to deal with something like this?  I mean if I tried to answer all the nonsense and worse at Vanderbilt my life would end up like this:

There has got to be another way to convey goodness, truth, and beauty rather than having to argue with every crazy idea that comes down the road.  It makes you cranky! 

Ethos.  Live goodness, truth, and beauty.  Enjoy goodness, truth, and beauty.  Glorify goodness, truth, and beauty.  Show goodness, truth, and beauty.  And then they seem desirable.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is supposed to be Good News, after all.

I think that I am willing to wave the white flag and surrender the culture wars.  We're getting whipped anyhow.  I would much rather be enjoying the culture of goodness, truth, and beauty.  Let them envy me, if they like.