Saturday, March 9, 2013

Christe eleison

Yesterday, preparing for a retreat I am leading next weekend, which will be the occasion of a social media absence (I will pre-load my Friday traditio), I was preparing my presider's book for Stations of the Cross, which will be the first event of the retreat. The retreat will be at The National Shrine of Divine Mercy, located just North of Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

The Stations of the Cross I am using are those composed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger back in 2005. While it is always opportune to pray for Christ's Bride, the Church, it seems especially appropriate given that next week the Conclave to select the next Pope will begin. Either the Conclave will be still being happening when we begin our retreat, or we will have a brand new Roman Pontiff. In either case, given the wounds the Church has inflicted on Herself, as the not-so-faithful Bride, we need to pray to the ever-faithful Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, to purify and bless His Church and all of us who comprise Her.

This morning I offer the Ninth Station of the Stations of the Cross- Jesus falls for the third time- for some consideration in these days leading up the Conclave:

V/. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.
R/. Quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when he has laid it on him; let him put his mouth in the dust - there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the smiter, and be filled with insults. For the Lord will not cast off for ever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love (Lam. 3:27-32).



Meditation: What can the third fall of Jesus under the Cross say to us? We have considered the fall of man in general, and the falling of many Christians away from Christ and into a godless secularism. Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own Church? How often is the holy sacrament of his Presence abused, how often must he enter empty and evil hearts! How often do we celebrate only ourselves, without even realizing that he is there! How often is his Word twisted and misused! What little faith is present behind so many theories, so many empty words! How much filth there is in the Church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him! How much pride, how much self-complacency! What little respect we pay to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where he waits for us, ready to raise us up whenever we fall! All this is present in his Passion. His betrayal by his disciples, their unworthy reception of his Body and Blood, is certainly the greatest suffering endured by the Redeemer; it pierces his heart. We can only call to him from the depths of our hearts: Kyrie eleison ­ Lord, save us (cf. Mt 8: 25).

Prayer: Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered. But you will rise again. You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all.

Pater noster, qui es in cælis:
sanctificetur nomen tuum;
adveniat regnum tuum;

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