Posts Tagged With: Good Friday

Trinity Love – in Jesus – Beckons, Waits

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O soul, return, for Jesus Christ is calling you with hands outstretched on the cross; return, for the whole abyss of the Trinity stands ready for your coming.

See how patiently He waited – oh how long He waited for you!….He was mercifully expecting your return!…
Return, O soul: Christ is waiting for you on the cross. His head is inclined for a kiss, His arms are spread out for an embrace, and His hands open in a gesture of giving. His body is stretched in a position of total offering; His feet are attached so that He will remain with you; His side is open to let you in.

[Bonaventure, “Soliloquy on the Four Spiritual Exercises”  I:4-38, 39. Engl. trans. Jose de Vinck, Works of Bonaventure, Vol. III – Patterson, NJ: St. Anthony Guild Press, 1966, 69.]

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Categories: Triduum | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Good Friday Prayer

We coSAMSUNGme to be with you, Lord.
We will remain,
open-vulnerable-empty,
inviting Spirit to hold us here and with.
Whatever we feel or think matters little.
We know what suffering and dying is,
and we honor yours with attending-tending-listening
as witnesses and companions.
We do not understand, grasp, capture.
We breathe with you.
And would hold you tenderly, stroke your forehead,
tell you our heart, look deeply into your eyes,
protect you from every harm.
And yet, as happens, we cannot protect you (or anyone).
As Risen One,
teach us/transform us SAMSUNG
with Trinity love as we remain here,
by your side, with your dying.
It is not easy.
May the beauty of creation and spring
hearten us with hope that dances, even today,
joy that is birthed deeper than death,
and love that embraces your ‘givenness’
and finds courage to commit
to being entirely given ourselves.
We remember.  We celebrate. We believe.
Categories: Easter, Lent | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Spinning in the Darkness

Presence to yesterday’s commemoration – Good Friday – left me speechless, unable to really share much here.  There is a power in re-living these days with Jesus as full days with mornings, afternoons, evenings, nights.  On Holy Thursday night, after the vigil, the betrayal and denial and arrest play in our imaginations.  Then the “trial” – and a Jesus silent or speaking (depending on which Gospel you attend to) – who stands alone, asked about truth.  Morning light brings crowds calling for crucifixion, thorns and lashes, and condemnation.  Eventually there is an excruciating trip with a cross through streets and to a hill, and unspeakable loss and psychological pain along with the physical.  The passion leads us to places where it is hard to get footing, and perhaps to memories of other “passions” in our lives or in others and, I hope, a tender fierce honoring of the suffering of others.

I have been re-reading these days A Retreat with St. Bonaventure by Leonard Bowman, which I highly recommend.  In it there is prose-poetry (yes, a combination!) that is the prayer of the believer as s/he encounters moments in Jesus’ life.  See if these selections taken from reflections on the experience of Jesus’ death speak to you.  And find a sister-mother-disciple-presence with you in this place, and in your own passion-ing and darkness living.

Encountering Jesus in the Conflict of Death (excerpted from pp. 160-1, 164)

HELP!  The storm is tearing me loose…  there is no footing, and nothing to grab hold of!  I’m falling, spinning in the darkness…

Yes, you must go through this.  Now there is no help that you can know or feel.  In this darkness the strongest faith reveals that it is faith, not a fact you have in your hand.  The firmest hope reveals that it is a promise, not a thing possessed.  Now you know that letting go means losing everything that you can relay on for support and assurance.  Everything falls away. . . and now you spin helplessly in the feeling of falling. 

What is happening to me?

Your “I” is falling away.  Your heart must wait, be shattered, endure.

… Mary stands silent, oblivious to the confusion about her.  She looks only at the hanging body of her son.  She doesn’t know!  She cannot see ahead to what God will make of this!  She too is caught in the whirlwind, and everything she has lived for hangs dead before her…. Her path has led into darkness, and with Jesus’ death she must let go of… everything.  It is as if she has died with him.  She is crucified with Christ.  But, she does not yet know the rest.  For now, she endures.  Where is God?  He has spoken by angels or by thunder before.  Why is he silent to her now, of all times?

Voices and visions are for the beginning of the path.  God’s presence now is beyond what we know or feel, beyond what is possible to know or feel.  His word is silence now; his brightness is darkness.  Otherwise how shall we pass through the veil, beyond into God?  But for now, silence and darkness.

But what can we do for Mary?  Be silent.  Wait with her.

…Stay close to Mary in your spinning darkness.  You will call on her steadfastness as your refuge.

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I Place My Life into Your Hands

Holy Thursday.  This is my body.  Yours.  All of me, I give you. 

Good Friday.  This is my all.  Yours, Abba.   

There’s a pattern here; a pattern of handing over, pouring out, giving, abandoning – whether or not others understand or value the gift. 

Jesus lived life, and lived his anguish and his death.  And whatever he was in any moment, he gave and offered.  He poured it out without stinting.  This is a lesson about living and dying it seems we all need to learn.  It is not an easy one.  It has nothing to do with giving “in order to” — create a need for others to give back to me, to look good, to benefit, to get the answers I need, to feel complete, to have reached some achievement, to settle something, to be better than, to earn love (which, by the way, we can’t!).  Pouring oneself out in love is a way of being, not a strategy.

Trinity – God who are (as opposed to ‘is’ in singular) – are the persons who are this love in constant dynamic pouring.  Jesus’ living was an ‘earthing’* of this way of being, and a way in which we could see it, and trace the pattern ’til we learn it for our own lives’ implementation. 

A lifetime ago, a wise high school religion teacher I had (as a student!) said that if we remove Jesus from his humanity then we will easily find reasons not to follow in his footsteps.  “How can I be like him?  He’s God!  I’m not God.  I can’t be like him.  No one can.” Instead, in Jesus we find the user’s manual for the way to live a meaningful human life.  Live in accord with our hard wiring.  Learn to be the love that is constantly outpouring in compassion and care and self gift.  This is not to say be a wimp or have no boundaries.  But it is to say that in this moment – the only one we have – give all to whatever and whoever is before you.  It’s the only real way to live and to love.

The cross has always brought me to silence.  It does so even more now, in light of my own experiences of grief and loss.  At death, human life and consciousness drains out of the physical body which has, in some way, broken or tired or worn out.  We can see the person ebbing, like a wave pulled back in to the ocean’s vastness. 

I have learned, under the tutelage particularly of Franciscan theology and spirituality, to see Jesus’ death on the cross as God’s ultimate outpouring in love without reserve.  St. Clare of Assisi would have us gaze, consider, contemplate, and imitate the one on the cross – and so become transformed and beautiful in the light of such love.  She would have us be confident in the one “in Whose embrace we are already caught up” (Clare of Assisi’s letters to Agnes of Prague).  St. Francis, her dear friend, focuses on following in the footsteps of Christ.   We are all invited to live and to die as Jesus lived and died.  And to love each other, creation, the universe – ALL – as we live, by giving all we are to whatever and whoever is in our specific vocational and daily path. 

Jesus indeed may be heard praying today, “I place my life in your hands.”  May he teach us, each and all, the way to living self giving love.  May we find the joy in living and giving this way – as it is what we are created to be and do.  And, in little and big moments, may we draw strength from our relationship with the one who lived this in his human life too and who told us he would be with us always.  With him, and in the courage of the Spirit, perhaps may we learn to pray too “I place my life in your hands” over and over, until the day we too are the ebbing tide on the way to the vast ocean.   That moment’s ability to hand over life will be informed by all these others.  And we will have learned by then, with Jesus, to hand it over to friends, to God, to ministry, to mission, to healing, to compassion, to making a difference, to showing God’s presence in the world. 

This Good Friday may we know how deep is God’s love for us, and receive it deeply that it may transform us (as Clare advises).  And may we look at the cross and the one there, and allow ourselves to see, to witness, perhaps to mourn, to wait.  His life and love are not lost, but we must stay by the tombs often in order to come to a new place.  I’ll meet you in vigil there, with the women who knew nowhere else to go.  Honor the mystery of today, and let it settle about and within you, between and among us.   

[* Anthony Gittins speaks of Jesus as the “earthing” of the Missio Dei – God’s mission.  I love this way of naming the Incarnation’s reality as God “earthed”.] 

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