Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Behold, I Tell You a Mystery"

Having just celebrated Easter, it's slightly odd that today is the day of the Annunciation, the day that we celebrate the actual incarnation. Without this day, there would have been no great joyous Easter. Without this day, we'd still be wallowing in sin. Without this day, there would be no hope.

But there is hope- hope of an amazing sort; a kind of hope that no words can contain (for yes, words contain and there is no way to contain something this great, this amazing, this mind boggling in them). There is a hymn that is sung during in Christmas and in it, it says "marvel now, O Heaven and Earth, That our Lord chose such a birth". Marvel indeed. The Divine humbles Himself to come to us in our form- as a human- so that we may come to know, love, and serve God in this life and be with Him in the next. He gave Himself a name, a name that allows us to contain as much of Him as humanly possible; He gave Himself a face, a face that looks upon us with tenderness, mercy and love and that we can look upon with adoration; He made Himself tangible to us. He became helpless that we might have Hope.

Jesus, a tiny baby in a manger, on straw and wrapped in swaddling clothes. It conjures up images of cuteness and warm fuzzies and wise men adoring, angels singing, little lambs lying beside Him. But that baby was not like other babies. That baby was not given to His parents in the same way that other babies are. That baby freely chose to become a baby. That baby caused the world to be. That baby knew that His life would end in pain and misery. He did it anyway. He did it for us. And He knew that some of us would reject His sacrifice, His love, His mercy. But He came anyway. He could have chosen not to. And yet, He did. He came to earth, more helpless than an animal.

This mystery, the mystery of the Incarnation, is the center of our faith. By making Himself man, He chose to feel the pain, the lonliness, the despair of life. He chose to feel it, so that we would not have to feel that without the hope of something more. He died a miserable death, one more painful than anything that we could imagine. He cried out to God "why have you abandoned me?" He knows all that we feel. He knows rejection and despair, and He knows it more than any of us could. Chesterton wrote "And now let the revolutionists choose a creed from all the creeds and a god from all the gods of the world, carefully weighing all the gods of inevitable recurrence and unalterable power. They will not find another god who has himself been in revolt. Nay (the matter grows too difficult for human speech), but let the atheists themselves choose a god. They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist".

But He also smiled. He knew friendship and He knew love. He knew laughter. He knew joy, He knew it more than we can. And this joy is the hope of the Christian. It is this joy that cannot be contained or explained.

Negativity is something at which I excell. But it is the perversion of joy. It is the chosing not to see that joy. In that same book (Orthodoxy), Chesterton wrote (and it is a long quote, but why reinvent the wheel? [emphasis mine])
"The mass of men have been forced to be gay about the little things, but sad about the big ones. Nevertheless (I offer my last dogma defiantly) it is not native to man to be so. Man is more himself, man is more manlike, when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul. Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labour by which all things live. Yet, according to the apparent estate of man as seen by the pagan or the agnostic, this primary need of human nature can never be fulfilled. Joy ought to be expansive; but for the agnostic it must be contracted, it must cling to one comer of the world. Grief ought to be a concentration; but for the agnostic its desolation is spread through an unthinkable eternity. This is what I call being born upside down. The sceptic may truly be said to be topsy-turvy; for his feet are dancing upwards in idle ecstacies, while his brain is in the abyss. To the modern man the heavens are actually below the earth. The explanation is simple; he is standing on his head; which is a very weak pedestal to stand on. But when he has found his feet again he knows it. Christianity satisfies suddenly and perfectly man’s ancestral instinct for being the right way up; satisfies it supremely in this; that by its creed joy becomes something gigantic and sadness something special and small. The vault above us is not deaf because the universe is an idiot; the silence is not the heartless silence of an endless and aimless world. Rather the silence around us is a small and pitiful stillness like the prompt stillness in a sick-room. We are perhaps permitted tragedy as a sort of merciful comedy: because the frantic energy of divine things would knock us down like a drunken farce. We can take our own tears more lightly than we could take the tremendous levities of the angels. So we sit perhaps in a starry chamber of silence, while the laughter of the heavens is too loud for us to hear.
Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian. And as I close this chaotic volume I open again the strange small book from which all Christianity came; and I am again haunted by a kind of confirmation. The tremendous figure which fills the Gospels towers in this respect, as in every other, above all the thinkers who ever thought themselves tall. His pathos was natural, almost casual. The Stoics, ancient and modern, were proud of concealing their tears. He never concealed His tears; He showed them plainly on His open face at any daily sight, such as the far sight of His native city. Yet He concealed something. Solemn supermen and imperial diplomatists are proud of restraining their anger. He never restrained His anger. He flung furniture down the front steps of the Temple, and asked men how they expected to escape the damnation of Hell. Yet He restrained something. I say it with reverence; there was in that shattering personality a thread that must be called shyness. There was something that He hid from all men when He went up a mountain to pray. There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth.

And a share in that Mirth, that joy is given to us through the Mystery of the Incarnation which leads to the Paschal Mystery.

At the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow,Every tongue confess Him King of glory now;’Tis the Father’s pleasure we should call Him Lord,Who from the beginning was the mighty Word.

Mighty and mysterious in the highest height,God from everlasting, very light of light:In the Father’s bosom with the spirit blest,Love, in love eternal, rest, in perfect rest.

At His voice creation sprang at once to sight,All the angel faces, all the hosts of light,Thrones and dominations, stars upon their way,All the heavenly orders, in their great array.

Humbled for a season, to receive a nameFrom the lips of sinners unto whom He came,Faithfully He bore it, spotless to the last,Brought it back victorious when from death He passed.

Bore it up triumphant with its human light,Through all ranks of creatures, to the central height,To the throne of Godhead, to the Father’s breast; Filled it with the glory of that perfect rest.

Name Him, brothers, name Him, with love strong as death But with awe and wonder, and with bated breath!He is God the Savior, He is Christ the Lord,Ever to be worshipped, trusted and adored.

In your hearts enthrone Him; there let Him subdue All that is not holy, all that is not true;Crown Him as your Captain in temptation’s hour;Let His will enfold you in its light and power.

Brothers, this Lord Jesus shall return again,With His Father’s glory, with His angel train;For all wreaths of empire meet upon His brow, And our hearts confess Him King of glory now.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Holy Week Hymnody

Music has been special to Catholics since the beginning of Catholicism. We often read of the early Christians gathering to celebrate the Eucharist and sing hymns. The Triduum has its own special hymns, full of beauty and symbolism. (Plus, I already posted my Holy Saturday thing.) I'll give translations if they aren't in English...

Great for meditations without the music.

Holy Thursday:
The two that are specially set aside for this day (though, sadly they aren't always used and some people even go their whole life without knowing them at all) are "Ubi Caritas" and "Pange Lingua". Ubi Caritas is sung at the washing of the feet.

Ubi caritas et amor,
Deus ibi est.
Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor.
Exultemus, et in ipso iucundemur.
Temeamus, et amemus Deum vivum.
Et ex corde diligamus nos sincero.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Simul ergo cum in unum congregamur:
Ne nos mente dividamur caveamus.
Cessent iurgia maligna, cessent lites.
Et in medio nostri sit Christus Deus.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Simul quoque cum beatis videamus,
Glorianter vultum tuum, Christe Deus.
Gaudium quod est immensum, atque probum:
Saecula per infinita saeculorum. Amen.

And the English Translation:

Where charity and love are, there God is.
The love of Christ has gathered us into one flock.
Let us exult, and in Him be joyful.
Let us fear and let us love the living God.
And from a sincere heart let us love each other (and Him).
Where charity and love are, there God is.
Therefore, whensoever we are gathered as one:
Lest we in mind be divided, let us beware.
Let cease malicious quarrels, let strife give way.
And in the midst of us be Christ our God.
Where charity and love are, there God is.
Together also with the blessed may we see,Gloriously,
Thy countenance, O Christ our God:
A joy which is immense, and also approved:
Through infinite ages of ages.Amen.

The Pange Lingua was, I think, written by Thomas Aquinas. It's simply beautiful poetry. A preist named Gerard Manley Hopkins translated them (Aquinas' poems/hymns) spectacularly into English. This is sung as the consecrated Hosts are taken to the Altar of Repose.

1. Pange lingua gloriosi
Corporis mysterium,
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
Quem in mundi pretium
Fructus ventris generosi,
Rex effudit gentium.

2. Nobis datus, nobis natus
Ex intacta Virgine
Et in mundo conversatus,
Sparso verbi semine,
Sui moras incolatus
Miro clausit ordine.

3. In supremae nocte coenae
Recumbens cum fratribus,
Observata lege plene
Cibis in legalibus,
Cibum turbae duodenae
Se dat suis manibus

4. Verbum caro, panem verum
Verbo carnem efficit:
Fitque sanguis Christi merum,
Et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum
Sola fides sufficit.

5. Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

6. Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et iubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.

And in English:

Of the glorious Body telling,
O my tongue, its mysteries sing,
And the Blood, all price excelling,
Which the world's eternal King,
In a noble womb once dwelling
Shed for the world's ransoming.

Given for us, descending,
Of a Virgin to proceed,
Man with man in converse blending,
Scattered he the Gospel seed,
Till his sojourn drew to ending,
Which he closed in wondrous deed.

At the last great Supper lying
Circled by his brethren's band,
Meekly with the law complying,
First he finished its command
Then, immortal Food supplying,
Gave himself with his own hand.

Word made Flesh, by word he maketh
Very bread his Flesh to be;
Man in wine Christ's Blood partaketh:
And if senses fail to see,
Faith alone the true heart waketh
To behold the mystery.

Therefore we, before him bending,
This great Sacrament revere;
Types and shadows have their ending,
For the newer rite is here;
Faith, our outward sense befriending,
Makes the inward vision clear.

Glory let us give, and blessing
To the Father and the Son;
Honour, might, and praise addressing,
While eternal ages run;
Ever too his love confessing,
Who, from both, with both is one. Amen.

And also, this one is simply beautiful poetry that kind of belongs here, as well.

1. Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore,
Masked by these bare shadows,
shape and nothing more,
See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.

2. Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived:
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God's Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly or there's nothing true

.3. On the cross thy godhead made no sign to men,
Here thy very manhood steals from human ken:
Both are my confession, both are my belief,
And I pray the prayer of the dying thief.

4. I am not like Thomas, wounds I cannot see,
But can plainly call thee Lord and God as he;
Let me to a deeper faith daily nearer move,
Daily make me harder hope and dearer love.

5. O thou our reminder of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us for whom he died,
Lend this life to me then: feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness man was meant to find.

6. Bring the tender tale true of the Pelican;
Bathe me, Jesu Lord, in what thy bosom ran---
Blood whereof a single drop has power to win
All the world forgiveness of its world of sin.

7. Jesu, whom I look at shrouded here below,
I beseech thee send me what I thirst for so,
Some day to gaze on thee face to face in light
And be blest for ever with thy glory's sight. Amen.

With the melody, it's quite haunting. Amazing.


Stabat mater delorosa

1. Stabat Mater dolorosa
Iuxta crucem lacrimosa
Dum pendebat Filius

2. Cuius animam gementem
Contristatam et dolentem
Pertransivit gladius

3. O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta
Mater unigeniti!

4. Quae moerebat et dolebat,
Pia Mater, dum videbat
Nati poenas incliti

5. Quis est homo qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si videret
In tanto supplicio?

6. Quis non posset contristari,
Christi Matrem contemplari
Dolentem cum Filio?

7. Pro peccatis suae gentis
Vidit Iesum in tormentis,
Et flagellis subditum.

8. Vidit suum dulcem natum
Moriendo desolatum
Dum emisit spiritum

9. Eia Mater, fons amoris
Me sentire vim
, ut tecum lugeam1

0. Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
In amando Christum Deum
Ut sibi complaceam

11. Sancta Mater, istud agas,
Crucifixi fige plagas
Cordi meo valide.

12. Tui nati vulnerati,
Tam dignati pro me pati,
Poenas mecum divide.

13. Fac me tecum, pie, flere,
Crucifixo condolere,Donec ego vixero.

14. Iuxta crucem tecum stare,
Et me tibi sociare
In planctu desidero

15. Virgo virginum praeclara,
Mihi iam non sis amara
Fac me tecum plangere

16. Fac, ut portem Christi mortem
Passionis fac consortem,
Et plagas recolere.

17. Fac me plagis vulnerari,
Fac me cruce inebriari,
Et cruore Filii

18. Flammis ne urar succensus
Per Te, Virgo, sim defensus
In die iudicii

19. Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
Da per Matrem me venire
Ad palmam victoriae

20. Quando corpus morietur,
Fac, ut animae donetur
Paradisi gloria. Amen

And I chose the literal over the poetical translation:

1. The grieving Mother stood weeping beside the cross where her Son was hanging

2. Through her weeping soul, compassionate and grieving, a sword passed.

3. O how sad and afflicted was that blessed Mother of the Only-begotten!

4. Who mourned and grieved, the pious Mother, looking at the torment of her glorious Child

5. Who is the person who would not weep seeing the Mother of Christ in such agony?

6. Who would not be able to feel compassion on beholding Christ's Mother suffering with her Son?

7. For the sins of his people she saw Jesus in torment and subjected to the scourge.

8. She saw her sweet offspring dying, forsaken, while He gave up his spirit

9. O Mother, fountain of love, make me feel the power of sorrow, that I may grieve with you

10. Grant that my heart may burn in the love of Christ my Lord, that I may greatly please Him

11. Holy Mother, grant that the wounds of the Crucified drive deep into my heart.

12. That of your wounded Son, who so deigned to suffer for me, I may share the pain

13. Let me sincerely weep with you, bemoan the Crucified, for as long as I live

14. To stand beside the cross with you, and to join you in your weeping, this I desire

15. Chosen Virgin of virgins, be not bitter with me, let me weep with thee

16. Grant that I may bear the death of Christ, share his Passion, and commemorate His wounds

17. Let me be wounded with his wounds, let me be inebriated by the cross and your Son's blood

18. Lest I be set afire by flames of death, Virgin, may I be defended by you, on the day of judgement

19. Christ, when it is time to pass away, grant that through your Mother I may come to the palm of victory

Sing My Tongue the Glorious Battle:

Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle,
sing the last, the dread affray;
o'er the cross, the victor's trophy,
sound the high triumphal lay,
how, the pains of death enduring,
earth's Redeemer won the day.

When at length the appointed fulness
of the sacred time was come,
he was sent, the world's Creator,
from the Father's heavenly home,
and was found in human fashion,
offspring of the virgin's womb.

Now the thirty years are ended
which on earth he willed to see,
willingly he meets his passion,
born to set his people free;
on the cross the Lamb is lifted,
there the sacrifice to be.

There the nails and spear He suffers,
vinegar and gall and reed;
from His sacred body piercèd
blood and water both proceed:
precious flood, which all creation
from the stain of sin hath freed.

Faithful Cross, above all other,
one and only noble Tree,
none in foliage, none in blossom,
none in fruit thy peer may be;
sweet the wood, and sweet the iron,
and thy load, most sweet is he.

Bend, O lofty Tree, thy branches,
thy too rigid sinews bend;
and awhile the stubborn hardness,
which thy birth bestowed, suspend;
and the limbs of heaven's high Monarch
gently on thine arms extend.

Thou alone wast counted worthy
this world's Ransom to sustain,
that a shipwrecked race for ever
might a port of refuge gain,
with the sacred Blood anointed
of the Lamb for sinners slain.

O Sacred Head Surrounded (the original one by Bernard of Clairvoux)

O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, thine only crown:
how pale thou art with anguish,
with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish
which once was bright as morn!

2. What thou, my Lord, has suffered
was all for sinners' gain;
mine, mine was the transgression,
but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
'Tis I deserve thy place;
look on me with thy favor,
vouchsafe to me thy grace.

3. What language shall I borrow
to thank thee, dearest friend,
for this thy dying sorrow,
thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever;
and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
outlive my love for thee.

Ave Verum Corpus:

Ave, verum corpus
natum de Maria Virgine,
Vere passum immolatumin
Cruce pro homine,
Cujus latus perforatum
unda fluxit et sanguine,
Esto nobis praegustatum
in mortis examine
in mortis examine.

Hail,true body
born of the Virgin Mary,
Who truly suffered, sacrificed
on the Cross for man,
Whose pierced side overflowed
with water and blood,
Be for us a foretaste
In the test of death.


The EXULTET! (my favorite). I'm posting something that I found on a site that had the text on it. Granted, it was a site for cantors...

"In the history of music for Mass, no song was more important, no chant more beautifully crafted, no moment so significant as the exultet on the Easter Vigil. Today we may execute it in different ways, but the exultet remains one of the trickiest moments of the entire Paschal Triduum. ... The text is too important, the event too special. The exultet deserves to be sung, and sung well.A proclamation of joy and salvation
The exultet has roots in the first centuries of Christianity. In form, it is a "thanksgiving," a cousin to the eucharistic prayer. It recalls the greatness of God, includes a dialogue with the assembly like the introduction to a preface, and concludes with an offering--an offering of the candle to God.
The text expresses the meaning of Easter. It invites heaven, earth, and the church to rejoice ("exultet") in this feast. It recalls Israel's exodus, then it proclaims a new "exodus". New Christians cross through water from slavery to freedom, and all the church shares in the rising of Christ. Easter is the most blessed of nights, the night of Passover, baptism, resurrection, and redemption. In joy we offer God our Easter candle, a pillar of fire, mingling with the lights of heaven, a candle which will meet Christ, the Morning Star, whose resurrection forever dispels darkness.
The exultet is a whopper of a proclamation, and the early church wrapped it in a cloak of melodious chant" Ok, so,it may be a bit funky, but.. they're musicians... they're bound to be a little cooky... BUT they have a point.

The exultet is amazing, and more amazing when it is sung. I'm only going to put the English, because the Latin and the English are long. lol

Rejoice, heavenly powers!
Sing, choirs of angels!
Exult, all creation around
God's throne!Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered!
Glory fills you!
Darkness vanishes for ever!
Rejoice, O Mother Church!
Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,echoing the mighty song of all God's people!
My dearest friends,standing with me in this holy light,
join me in asking God for mercy,that he may give his unworthy minister
grace to sing his Easter praises.

Deacon: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Deacon: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Deacon: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,and paid for us the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!
This is our passover feast,when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.
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 nightwhen 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 earthand 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.
Accept this Easter candle,a flame divided but undimmed,
a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God.
(For it is fed by the melting wax,which the mother bee brought forthto make this precious candle.)
Let it mingle with the lights of heaven and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of this night!
May the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.Amen.

Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, jigity jig

NEVER did I EVER think I'd say it, but... Lynyrd Skynyrd was sooo right. The Georgia sky can be pretty but it's got nothing on Alabama's. I can only imagine that Ohio's isn't all that great. Especially, since Steubenville is only about 45 miles from Pittsburg (which means it's only about 6 hours to my aunt's house). Anywho, yeah, Alabama. I hate it, would never choose to live here if there was any way out of it, but man is it nice to visit. I suppose that might have something to do with the fact that there are these three boys who mean the world to me here. And there are also these people I call parents (well, one anyway) who happen to reside here with these other people who are called sisters. They are pretty much awesome.

I do hope I get into Franciscan. Boredom plays with my mind tooo much and encourages sloth. I've never had to study except for math. I'd like to try and change that. It makes me mad that I can make a's and not study. Other people work so hard and I sit here and do nothing and get better grades. I apparently have fooled even Hartmann, though, so I see no point in bothering. Why do extra work to get the same grade? I KNOW... I KNOW, for my own edification and betterment and because I love to learn and all that. Plus, I don't know if I'd take the fellowship again. Seriously, I don't even know if I think it's worth it.

Anywho, once again, Alabama. More specifically, the little boys who run my life in Alabama.
1st - they are not little. Not at all.
2nd- you better not rat me out for stowing them away and taking them to school with me.
3rd- They aren't little anymore.
4th- I can still pick them all up at the same time and walk around with them. They had to find that one out. They thought I wouldn't be able to. Cat, it's been months, we've grown! Haha, you impertinent young men! I'm still stronger than I think I am. And than you think I am. How much do you weigh? More than I do.
5th- "Shall I escort you?" Ok, Daniel's my date to the formal. Yeah, that's right. All you girls can be jealous. I've got the best date a girl could have. A little short, but considerate, caring, and cute.
6th-They aren't little anymore. (can you tell yet that this deeply saddens me? There are no babies in a house that I'm use to there being babies in. Something is missing.)
7th- 100 bottles of beer on the wall can be sung in approximately 7.3 miles. Too bad there were 180 of them.
8th- Shni schna schnappi schnappi schnappi schnap
9th- What is it with boys and oblivion to everything around them?
10th-One day, I'm going to be Jo March Bhaer.

Have a great break. I'll be basking in the glorious Alabama sun with three amazing brothers.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Oh, to be Four Again

It's THE perfect age: you can blow your own nose, tie your own shoes, write your own name and STILL sit on your mother's lap. I mean, come on, how much better could life get? Some kids can even read at four. I really cannot think of much more bliss than that. No choices to make, no kindergarten or other grades, no life defining desisions, no weird things called hormones, no feeling of lost (you know exactly where you belong- on your mother's lap), no loneliness, no heartache, no confusion, no real temptations: just absolute contentment. AND you can still sit on your mother's lap.

I don't know what age that normally ends. I guess it depends on the kid. I know that it shouldn't be at the age of 7 or 8, though.

Maybe, I'm just very hug- starved right now. It's funny how stuff like that works. I was scared to get hugs, now people are scared to give me hugs. Maybe I'm ready to go home. Maybe the world is too confusing for me right now. Maybe my brain needs a break. Maybe I'm sick of insanity. Maybe I'm sick of assinine behaviour from assinine stalkers. Maybe I'm sick of myself and my inability to ... cope?? Maybe I'm sick of knowing that I can and yet, somehow I can't make myself think I can or won't. Maybe it's because I know I can get away with not; I have fairly decent GPA and barely touch my books- not that I really know what I do with my time- I sit there with my books but I don't really look at them, I get lost in my brain. Maybe I should stop speculating and just go to confession. Again.

My, my, my. I love how I start out with a great thought about how wonderful something is and then lose it to the negative.


ONE MORE SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Exile of Christ


For forty days we fast and we pray and we sacrifice in preparation for the holiest time of the year and in commemoration of Christ's time in the dessert. The Triduum is my absolute favorite liturgical celebration; the symbols and ceremonies are so overwhelming that one can't help but to feel something. From Palm Sunday to the Vigil of Easter there is a feeling of tragedy and hope so intertwined that one cannot feel one without feeling the other. I sometimes think, though, that in the drama of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday and the Passion of Christ on Good Friday and the beauty of the Easter Vigil, the solemnity, somberness, and sorrow of Saturday are overlooked.

I think that Holy Saturday is the saddest day of the year. Yes, Good Friday is when we cause Christ's death. But it is on Saturday that we see the consequence of what we have done: we have banished Him from the earth. If you've never been in a chapel or a Church during the day on Holy Saturday, I encourage you to go this time. Walk in and you will see a bare altar, no sanctuary lamp, and an open and empty tabernacle. Christ is nowhere in there. The Church is barren. Then you realize- "this is my doing". The world is missing Jesus because I asked him to leave; He got on the Cross and he left the Earth because I rejected His love. It's a very lonely and grave feeling. The one place that is a sure comfort is now as miserable as the rest of the world because we made it be. We kicked Christ out. And sitting in that chapel looking at the empty tabernacle, you know something of what the apostles must have felt, and especially something like what Judas must have felt.

And yet, Holy Saturday is the most hopeful and happiest day of the year, too. If you stay long enough (or go late enough, whatever the case may be), you will inevitably see ladies bringing in tons of elaborate flower arrangements and replacing the cloths on the altar. This has always reminded me of the women going to the tomb with perfumes, only to find it empty. Watching this, you know that He didn't leave forever; you that He's coming back and that no matter how many times you reject His love- it will still be offered to you. You know that He's never going to leave you alone, that He'll always be ready for you when you decide that you are ready for Him. It is the day that those who are willing to accept His love are brought into His light. It is the day that ALLELUIA returns! All of the bells around are rung in joy for solid minutes as the Gloria makes its return. I once went to the cathedral in Birmingham for the Easter Vigil (where about 50 people were brought into the Church) and before the Gospel, an acolyte ran into the church and down the center aisle and brought the bishop a scroll and unrolled it, saying breathlessly "I bring you a joyful message" (I don't remember exactly what it is that is said before). And the bishop read an elaborate (musically) Alleluia out to his flock. And this should should be our joy. This is nothing less than the Holiest day of the year.

In all of our sorrow (and we should be sorrowful), in all of our loneliness, in all of our faults, even in the emptiness of the churches- when all is seemingly hopeless- that is when we have the most hope. That is when we physically and truly, truly realize the extent and consequence of our sins. And that is when we realize the extent and magnitude of Christ's love for us.

"O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam that gained for us so great a Redeemer!"

"Do not give in to despair! We are an Easter people and Hallelujah is our song"

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Photo Essay

They say that a picture's worth 1000 words. I feel like there are hundreds of thousands of words that want to come out, but they can't. And I don't want them to, oddly enough. But concentrating is a little difficult when words refuse to do what you tell them to. So... here's this:

Aren't they cute?

How does a butterfly fly with only a partial wing?

What the heck was my brain doing?

I called it broken soul.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I Think That if I ever have a Son, I will Have to Name him Jeremiah

For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart, 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.

God loves me. He's been soooooooooooo good to me. And I'm am just amazed at things He's done.

God Bless you all- may you each feel His presence as much as I have and more.