25 April 2020

Emmaus: Model of Evangelism


That very day [the first day of the week], two of the disciples of Jesus were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. So they drew hear to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

- St. Luke 24:13-35

It’s in the Emmaus event that Christ lays out the model for evangelism. The two disciples are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, discussing the recent events in Jerusalem – Jesus' entrance into the city the week before, His subsequent trial before Pilate, His crucifixion and burial, and the rumors of His resurrection that had been running around all morning, ever since Mary Magdalene and Peter and John had returned from the empty tomb.

In the middle of their conversation, a stranger draws near and walks with them. It’s Jesus, but “their eyes were kept from recognizing him," the Gospel tells us. Now certainly, if anyone would recognize Jesus it would have been these two, who knew him so well. But Jesus hides His identity for a time. He prevents the disciples from recognizing Him for a while, so that He can open their minds to the truth.

Their long faces betray their disappointment. Cleopas tells the whole sad story: how Jesus had been a prophet mighty in word and deed; how the chief priests and religious rulers had handed Him over to be crucified; how they had pinned their hopes on Him, thinking that He was the Messiah, the coming Redeemer of Israel. But things were looking pretty confusing. It was now the third day since His death. Some women had come with visions of angels and news of His resurrection. His tomb was empty, but Jesus was nowhere to be seen. What it all meant, they couldn’t tell.

They had their facts about Jesus straight. Indeed He was a prophet mighty in work and word. Certainly He was rejected by His people and crucified. The women’s story was true: it was the third day and Jesus had risen. He was the One who had come to redeem Israel just as they had hoped. They had all the facts, but they didn’t have all these facts grounded in the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection. And this is a large part of evangelism: not only giving the facts, but also bringing an understanding of those facts.

A person can know the Scriptures. A person can know the catechism. A person might even be able to recite the Latin titles of all the papal encyclicals. But if those facts aren’t plugged into the power of the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, none of it will make much sense or be of much use.

"O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken." Jesus chides them for their unbelief. They should have known. They had Moses and the prophets. It was plastered all over the pages of the Scriptures. The evidence was there for them. So, “beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." Jesus directs them to the revelation of Almighty God. Jesus opens up the Scriptures for them and beginning with Moses and going all the way through the prophets, He shows how His death and resurrection provide the rhythm of every passage.

Jesus gives the appearance of going on, past Emmaus, but the disciples insist that He join them for supper. It was nearing the end of the day, and evening was coming. Wouldn't He please stay and eat with them?

Though Jesus was their guest, He assumes the place of the host at the head of the table. He takes the bread, blesses and breaks it, and gives it to them. We can’t miss the connection with the Passover meal that Jesus had with His disciples, three days before, on the night in which He was betrayed. Here again is Jesus, taking bread and breaking it. And St. Luke tells us that "their eyes were opened and they recognized Him." In the breaking of the bread, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus is recognized and known.

This is evangelism: Word and Sacrament. And that's what the Holy Mass is: Jesus serving us with Himself. Jesus making Himself known. Jesus being with us, objectively, really and truly, even when eyes are clouded. From the very beginning, the Church has understood this. Scripture teaches us that "they were devoted to the teaching of the apostles, to the fellowship, the Breaking of the Bread, and to the prayers."

And because of that, the Church could be certain that the crucified and risen Lord was present among them, not only to save them, but to strengthen them to go into the world as He had commanded them, making disciples of all nations. And Scripture further teaches us that “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” They needed no programs, no gimmicks, no publicity stunts, no mass marketing. They had the Word and the Sacraments. That's all they needed. And the Lord added daily to their number.

We are called to one thing: to be faithful – faithful to God’s revelation; faithful in our sacramental life; faithful in giving glory to God; faithful to the teaching of the Church; faithful to the traditions which the Church has exhorted us to maintain. Those are the ingredients of success. We are to be a people whose “hearts burn within them” with a love for the Lord Jesus Christ. And we are to be a people whose eyes have been opened to “recognize the Lord Jesus Christ in the Breaking of the Bread.”

Success in evangelism is really quite simple: just as Jesus is at the center of our churches in our tabernacles, so we are to keep Jesus at the center of our lives in the tabernacles of our hearts. This is the best and strongest tool we have for the work of evangelism. And this is why we must proclaim in the strongest possible way that Christ Sacrificed and Christ Present is the center and foundation of our being.

24 April 2020

St. Mark the Evangelist


John Mark, later known simply as Mark, was Jewish by birth. He was the son of that Mary in whose home was the Cenacle or "upper room" which served as the meeting place for the first Christians in Jerusalem. He was still a teenager at the time of the Savior's death. In his description of the young man who was present when Jesus was seized and who fled from the leaving behind his "linen cloth," he was probably speaking of himself.

During the years that followed, as Mark became a young man, he witnessed the growth of the infant Church in his mother's Upper Room and came to know very well the traditions and practices of the Church, which we see included in his Gospel. In the Acts of the Apostles we find Mark accompanying his uncle (or perhaps cousin) Barnabas and Paul on their return journey to Antioch and on their first missionary journey. But Mark wasn’t ready for the hardships of this type of work and therefore left them at Perga in Pamphylia to return home.

As the two apostles were preparing for their second missionary journey, Barnabas wanted to take Mark with him. Paul, however, objected, and so Barnabas and Mark went on a missionary journey to Cyprus. Time healed the strained relations between Paul and Mark, and during St. Paul’s first Roman captivity, Mark gave Paul valuable service, which St. Paul wrote about. When he was in chains the second time, Paul requested Mark's presence (2 Tim. 4:11).

A close friendship existed between St. Mark and St. Peter; he was Peter's companion, disciple, and interpreter. According to common patristic opinion, Mark was present at Peter's preaching in Rome and wrote his Gospel under the influence of St. Peter. This explains why incidents which involve Peter are described with great detail. Little is known of St. Mark's later life, but there is an account of his martyrdom, when he was tied to a rope and dragged over sharps stones until he was dead. At the time of his martyrdom he was the bishop of Alexandria in Egypt. His relics were transferred from Alexandria to Venice, where a worthy tomb was erected in St. Mark's Cathedral.

 O Almighty God, who hast instructed thy holy Church with the heavenly doctrine of thy Evangelist Saint Mark: give us grace; that, being not like children carried away with every blast of vain doctrine, we may be established in the truth of thy holy Gospel; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

23 April 2020

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen


St. Fidelis was born Mark Rey and took the name of "Fidelis" when he joined the Capuchin Order at the age of 35 in 1612. He was born at Sigmaringen, a town in modern-day Germany. He studied law and philosophy at Freiburg. St. Fidelis subsequently taught philosophy at the University of Freiburg, ultimately earning a "doctor of laws". During his time as a student he did not drink wine, and wore a hair-shirt. He was known for his modesty, meekness, and chastity. In 1604, he and three friends travelled through Europe, and during his travels he attended Mass very frequently; in every town where he came, he visited the hospitals and churches, passed several hours on his knees in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and gave to the poor sometimes the very clothes off his back.

After he returned home, he took up the practice of law, and was known for his great fairness, and his dislike of ruining anyone’s reputation. He didn’t hesitate to offer his legal help to those who couldn’t afford the cost of a lawyer, and his charity earned him the name of "counsellor and advocate for the poor". He became disenchanted with some of the bad practices associated with many lawyers, and he decided to join the Capuchin friars.

When he entered the Franciscan Order of the Capuchins, he was given the religious name of "Fidelis," meaning Faithful. He finished his novitiate and his studies for the priesthood, offering his first Mass on the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi (October 4), in 1612. As soon as St Fidelis finished his course of theology, he was immediately employed in preaching and in hearing confessions. He was named to be Superior of one of the Capuchin Convents, and many people in the area were renewed in their faith, and several Protestant Calvinists were converted. The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith commissioned Fidelis specifically for work among the Protestants.

The Protestants were very angry at this attempt to convert them. They made threats against Fidelis' life, and he began to prepare himself for martyrdom. It was on April 24, 1622, that St Fidelis made his confession, said Mass, and then went out to preach. During the sermon, leaders of the Protestants called for his death. One of them discharged his musket at him in the Church, but missed him, and the Catholics begged him to leave the place, but he was ready to lay down his life. As he went out and was on the road, a group of about twenty Calvinists started to harass him, calling him a false prophet. One of them beat him down to the ground by a stroke on the head with his sword. Fidelis rose again on his knees, and stretching forth his arms in the form of a cross, and prayed to God for their pardon. Another sword struck him in the head, and he fell to the ground and lay in a pool of his own blood. His attackers continued to stab him, and they hacked off his left leg, saying it was punishment for him coming to preach to them. He was buried by the Catholics the next day, and many who had participated in St Fidelis' martyrdom, were converted, and received into the Catholic Church.

O God, who didst enkindle blessed Fidelis with seraphic ardour of spirit in the propagation of the true Faith, and didst vouchsafe to adorn him with the palm of martyrdom, and with glorious miracles: we beseech thee; that, by his merits and intercession, thou wouldest so confirm us through thy grace in faith and charity; that in thy service we may be worthy to be found faithful, even unto death; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

18 April 2020

The Second Sunday of Easter

"Doubting Thomas" by Carl Heinrich Bloch

The final day of the Easter Octave is Divine Mercy Sunday, when we give thanks to God for the great mercy He gives us through His acts of salvation which we have remembered and celebrated throughout Holy Week and Easter. And we remember with joy our own dear Pope St. John Paul II, the Pope who commended this celebration of God’s Mercy to the whole world as a kind of “crown of joy” for Easter.

On Easter Day the focus was on the open, empty tomb. It was a monument to the victory of Jesus Christ. And because of that victory, every skeptic, every agnostic, every would-be follower, every seeker after the truth must confront the plain and simple fact: there was no body to be found in the tomb. The women went there expecting to find a body. What they found instead was an empty tomb. The grave clothes were neatly in their place. Angels preached the good news, "He isn’t here. He’s risen!" And you can be sure that if the body had been hidden someplace, it would have been produced very quickly by the Jewish leaders, or by the Roman officials. Even today, the unbelieving world would love for archaeologists to find the bones of Jesus hidden away in some grave someplace, so that it could put an end to this Christian claim once and for all – because the truth of the matter is this: if you take away the resurrection of the body, everything else is meaningless.

Still, an empty tomb isn't necessarily the last word for everybody. People can try to explain it away; they can try to ignore it. In fact, when we look at the scriptural accounts, we see that the disciples themselves didn't believe it at first, until they saw the risen Christ. Thomas didn't believe it, and he let that be known. "Show me a risen Jesus with nail marks in his hands and a spear mark in his side, and let me touch him, and then I'll believe," was what Thomas said.

And what about us - we who cannot see, and yet who are called to believe that Jesus Christ is risen? What does Christ say? "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."

The gospel tells us that the disciples had locked themselves in a room – probably the cenacle – on that first Easter Sunday. It was near sunset. They were hearing rumors of the resurrection, but they were filled with fear rather than joy. They were afraid of the Jewish leaders. After all, if they had done this horrible thing to Jesus, what might they do to His disciples? And it’s into that prison of fear that Jesus comes. He doesn't knock on the locked doors. He doesn't wait for someone to open the door and invite Him in. No, Jesus simply appears in their midst.

And His first words were, "Peace be with you.” He shows them His wounds - the nail marks in His hands, the scar of the spear in His side – and with that, we cannot help but remember what the prophet Isaiah said so many generations before: "He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” His peace is a peace which the world cannot give. It’s peace between us and God, it’s peace with one another. The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom,” which means much more than just the absence of war and fighting; “shalom” means that everything is in its place, everything is in harmony, everything is whole. In fact, this peace is really what “atonement” – at-one-ment – is all about.

The Gospel tells us that fear gave way to joy. "The disciples were glad when they saw the Lord." And who wouldn't be? They could see with their own eyes that the resurrection is true. The Lord is risen, and He’s right there in front of them!

Notice that Jesus said to them twice, "Peace be with you." The first time He said it, He was giving peace to them for themselves, to quiet their fear, to turn their sorrow into gladness. But the second time He said it, He was giving them peace for others – peace to move their feet out of their little locked room and into the world. He tells them, "As the Father sent me, so I am sending you."

And then He breathes His breath on them. He speaks His words into them. His words deliver what they say. "Receive the Holy Spirit," He says to them. Without the Holy Spirit the disciples couldn’t do what Jesus was sending them to do. "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained," He tells them.

So they are sent out with authority. Jesus authorizes them to do what God alone can do – to forgive sin. There would always be those, even in our own day, who demand to know, “How can mere men presume to forgive sin?” But we understand that we don’t just look to the men who receive the power; rather, we look to the One who sends them, who breathes on them, who gives them His Spirit and authority. When Peter or James or John or Bartholomew or Andrew or any of the other apostles forgave, it was Jesus forgiving. Jesus sends them with His own authority, the authority with which the Father had sent Him.

What about us today? The apostles who were in the upper room that day are now with Christ in heaven. Did this power to forgive die with them? Actually, we know that Jesus not only sent out his original apostles, but He also makes His mercy and forgiveness forever present through the priesthood He has entrusted to His Church through apostolic succession. This means that every bishop, and every priest ordained by a bishop, speaks with the authority of the Risen Christ when it comes to dealing with sin. This means that every ordination echoes that first Easter Sunday in the locked room when the risen Lord Jesus Christ breathed on a fearful band of apostles and sent them out to forgive sin.

What a comfort this is for those who are looking for forgiveness and peace. This is Christ’s Divine Mercy – the fact that He doesn't leave us searching around for forgiveness; He doesn't leave us searching for peace. He doesn't leave it up to someone just to talk about forgiveness. Rather, God locates forgiveness and peace where it can be found and received - with Peter and the other apostles, and with those who succeed them. Jesus Christ puts men under holy orders, with part of those orders being to minister mercy and forgiveness in His Name.

Jesus Christ has ensured that His mercy and forgiveness will always be ministered in and through His Church, because Easter isn’t just one day, a long, long time ago. Nor is it one day a year, when we celebrate an historic event in Jerusalem. The gifts of Christ’s death and resurrection are distributed whenever and wherever people are being baptized into Christ’s death; whenever and wherever sins are being forgiven by the command of Christ; whenever and wherever the baptized are being fed with the Body and Blood of Christ. Wherever that happens, the gifts of Easter come to us, and there we receive the very Mercy of God.

Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. He’s alive, not dead. He’s present, not absent. And in the power of His resurrection, He is present with us in the fullness of His divinity and His humanity on our altar, in our tabernacle. Locked doors couldn’t keep Him out. Nothing can. He is present among us as surely and as fully as He was with the disciples in the locked room on that first Easter. He is here with us to free us from our fears, to speak His peace into our hearts, to forgive our sins, to turn our sorrow into gladness, to bless us, and especially to shower upon us His own Divine Mercy.

Almighty Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness; that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

17 April 2020

Saturday in the Easter Octave


Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they sat at table; and he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.
-St. Mark 16:9-15


This portion of St. Mark’s Gospel outlines the duties of the Church which Christ founded, the tasks committed to her by Jesus himself.

It states very clearly that the Church has the duty to spread the truth of the gospel. As members of the Church we are Christ’s heralds, we are His ambassadors.

It outlines an understanding of the sacramental ministry of the Church: to baptize, to make people whole by means of the power that Jesus has bestowed upon the Church.

And we are reminded that the Church is never alone in her work. The Church is the Body of Christ, and Christ works with her and in her and through her. So St. Mark’s Gospel finishes with the message that the life of the Christian is lived in the presence and in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, the God who was crucified and who rose again, triumphant over sin, the world, and the devil.

We thank thee, heavenly Father, for that thou hast delivered us from the dominion of sin and death and hast brought us unto the kingdom of thy Son: and we pray thee that, as by his death he hath recalled us to life, so by his love he may raise us to joys eternal; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

16 April 2020

Friday in the Easter Octave


After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberas; and he revealed himself in this way. Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We will go with you." They went out and got into the boat; but that night they caught nothing. Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any fish?" They answered him, "No." He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish lying on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish that you have just caught." So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three of them; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, "Come and have breakfast." Now none of the disciples dared ask him, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

-John 21:1-14

O God, who hast united the diversity of nations in the confession of thy Name: grant that they who are born again in the font of Baptism, may be of one mind in faith and in godliness of life; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

15 April 2020

Thursday in the Easter Octave


Then the two disciples told what had happened on the road to Emmaus, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. As they were saying this, Jesus himself stood among them. But they were startled and frightened, and supposed that they saw a spirit. And he said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do questionings rise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have." And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered, he said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. Then he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.

-Luke 24:35-48

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal Mystery hast established the new covenant of reconciliation: grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

14 April 2020

Wednesday in the Easter Octave


That very day two of the disciples of Jesus were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, "What is this conversation which you are holding with each other as you walk?" And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his body; and they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb, and found it just as the women had said; but him they did not see." And he said to them, "O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He appeared to be going further, but they constrained him, saying, "Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent." So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?" And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven gathered together and those who were with them, who said, "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

- St. Luke 24:13-35

On the road to Emmaus, we see where Jesus directs the attention of the disciples. Not to themselves. Not to their personal experiences or subjective feelings. He directs them to the revelation of Almighty God. Jesus opens up the Scriptures for them and beginning with the words of Moses and going all the way through the prophets, He shows how His death and resurrection form the rhythm of the Scriptures from the very start.

That's how Jesus turns stubborn hearts that are slow to believe into hearts that burn with faith in Him.  It's through the Scriptures that are preached and taught in their fullness by the Church which Jesus Christ has founded. If our hearts are slow to believe and our minds are dull in the knowledge of God, we have only ourselves to blame for not listening to God’s Word as it’s taught to us by our Holy Mother the Church.

See what the Gospel then tells us. Although their hearts were burning, their eyes were not yet opened. Jesus pretends to go on, but the disciples insist that He join them for supper. It was nearing the end of the day, and evening was coming. They enjoin Him to remain for supper.

Although Jesus was their guest, He sits at the head of the table. He takes the bread, He blesses and breaks it, and He gives it to them. It is an echo of the last meal that Jesus had with His apostles on the night in which He was betrayed. Here again is Jesus, breaking bread. And St. Luke tells us that "their eyes were opened and they recognized Him." In the breaking of the Bread, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Jesus is recognized and known.

O God, who dost gladden us with the yearly solemnity of the Resurrection of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord: mercifully grant that we may so observe this temporal feast; that we may be found worthy to attain to everlasting felicity; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

13 April 2020

Tuesday in the Easter Octave


Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

- St. John 20:11-18


O God, who by the glorious Resurrection of thy Son Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light: grant that we, who have been raised with him, may abide in his presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

12 April 2020

Monday in the Easter Octave


So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Hail!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me." While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sum of money to the soldiers and said, "Tell people, `His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.' And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

- St. Matthew 28:8-15

O God, whose blessed Son did manifest himself to his disciples in the breaking of bread: open, we pray thee, the eyes of our faith; that we may behold thee in all thy works; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

The Paschal Sacrifice


Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed.
Let us, therefore, celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
- I Cor. 5:6b-8

Yeast (leaven) makes bread rise, but it is a kind of bacterium, so it also corrupts, and as St. Paul says, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.” St. Paul’s point is that one sin can spoil the whole person, and even the wider community, both within and as seen by others.

The only way to assure that there is no corruption is to become a fresh batch of dough. Through baptism, we are unleavened – the stain of original sin is washed away, and we’re given grace to enable us to avoid sin. Through our baptismal consecration, we have been made a holy people, a people set apart for God. Because of that, we must constantly strive to become what God intends us to be, which means that we are to eliminate those corrupting influences which compromise the integrity of the consecration which took place at our baptism.

And what has made us “unleavened”? We are unleavened – we are like a fresh batch of dough – because the true paschal lamb, Jesus Christ, has been sacrificed. In the old rites during Passover the lambs were sacrificed, and St. Paul reminds us that in Christ’s death and resurrection, He is the fulfillment of the Jewish Passover.

In fact, Jesus – the true Passover Lamb – is the perfection of the sacrificing of the lambs in the temple at Passover. The lambs which were sacrificed in the Temple were only a reminder that the time had come for the Jews to clean out all leaven from their homes; the sacrificing of the lambs did not actually accomplish the cleansing of the leaven. But the sacrifice of Christ the true Passover Lamb actually casts out the leaven – the corruption of sin – and makes us “a new creation.” By His sacrifice we are made into a kind of pure, unleavened bread, ready to serve Christ in this world, and finally to be with Him in heaven.

Almighty Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification: grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness; that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

10 April 2020

The Paschal Vigil


After His cruel tortures, after His horrific suffering and death, after placing our Lord’s body in the tomb, then comes the night which shines with the glory of Christ’s resurrection. It is the night in which we recall and reaffirm our own participation in His resurrection which is ours through the power of our baptism.

So we should consider what baptism means for daily life. Certainly baptism is a one-time thing, but it isn’t something that is done once and then simply remembered with a certificate, like graduations and other milestones in life. It is something done once, but with eternal effects. And so in that sense, baptism is not just a one-time thing “over and done with...” It’s a daily thing in its effects: baptism is a daily garment, something we wear each and every day.

In baptism God has marked us with His seal of ownership, branded us as sheep of His pasture, and taken away the stain of original sin by washing us with Christ’s blood. The Christian life is a daily baptism, and baptism is the daily life of a Christian. It’s a daily dying and rising. Just as we go to sleep each night and get up in the morning, so we daily die to sin and rise up to live in Christ through our baptism.

St. Paul writes, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?" He writes this as though everyone would know this and agree wholeheartedly with it. We were buried with Christ by baptism into His death. Baptism unites us with the death of Jesus.

In the death of Jesus on the cross, God has given the world a death in which a sinner may die now and live forever. We can either die now in the death of Jesus and live forever in His life, or we can live now apart from the death of Jesus, and die forever in our own death. There is no third option. Christ Jesus died for sin and rose from the dead.

Scripture teaches us that "the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God." Baptism joins us to the death of Jesus. It nails us to His cross, it buries us in His tomb. God has put our sin out of His sight. He has buried it in the death of His Son. He has hidden it in His wounds. He has sealed it in His grave.

Baptismal death in the death of Jesus is a death with hope. "If we have been united with Jesus in a death like his, we shall also be united with him in a resurrection like his." We know how our story ends. We know how the last chapter comes out for those who are joined to Christ. Christ has died. And we have died with Him. Christ has risen. And we will rise with Him. That means whatever may come our way in this life – whether poverty, disease, pain or persecutions - our present sufferings cannot compare with the glory that will be revealed in us. Whatever burden the cross of Christ may bring to us now, it doesn’t compare with what will be ours in the resurrection of the righteous.

But baptism sets us in a struggle. Because of our baptism, we have become the enemy of the devil, the world, and our own sinful natures. The devil rants and roars against baptism, and will stop at nothing to keep us away from living in its power. The world hated Christ and so crucified Him. That’s why the world tries to crucify everyone who is joined with Christ.

However, by confessing our sins we bury them in baptism. We drown them in the blood that flowed from Jesus' side. This is what St. Paul means when he says, "Reckon yourselves dead to sin." We are to confess our sins. We are to bury them in Christ’s grave. In confession, we are setting baptism to work for us, releasing the power of Jesus' death and resurrection in our lives.

We cannot conquer sin ourselves. Christ alone conquers sin for us, and He does it through the daily application of the fruits of baptism. We no longer live, but we die and are buried in baptism, and so Christ now lives within us. Our life is the resurrected life of Jesus. He is at work in us and through us. We are "alive to God in Christ Jesus" and it is only "in Christ Jesus" that we are alive to God. Apart from Him, we would be dead, but because we are joined to Him by baptism, we live.

09 April 2020

Good Friday


Today Golgotha is sheltered within a magnificent and ancient basilica, but on that Friday called “good” it was a barren hill outside the city walls of Jerusalem. It is a hill soaked with the blood of criminals, executed for crimes both petty and grave, and it is a hill consecrated by the Blood of our Lord, our God-made-Flesh.

He is the innocent Victim, surrounded by a cruel mob. His ears hear the animosity of those who bear hatred in their hearts. The sentence of death by crucifixion had been dragged reluctantly from the lips of the civil authority. And if we could see, we would be appalled by the hideous efficiency of the soldiers as they complete their brutal work of inflicting death.

Also here are the temple priests who will hurry away from the scene even before the Victim takes His final breath. They have a Passover to keep, but it is a Passover now emptied of any real meaning or power because the Passover lambs have been made impotent by the one true Passover Lamb who is shedding the only blood which can truly fend off the angel of death.

The Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world. His last powerful cry will prove that no man has taken His life from him, but that He has laid it down of His own divine Will. He will bow His head in token of assent to that deed which was not understood by those who did it. It will be finished. The price of sin paid, the kingdom of heaven opened to all believers, the redemption of man accomplished.

The disrespect and the ill-treatment by those who were there will cease. The mockery and the spite and the violence done to the Saviour of the world will give way to the silent anguish of mournful hearts and the tender care of loving hands. The soldiers will have satisfied their discharge of duty. They will gather up their instruments of execution and they will leave. The people who had come to satisfy their morbid curiosity and spiteful feelings will feel cheated that the spectacle was so brief. The disinterested loiterers will disperse. And this hill, this Golgotha which had been the scene of such cruelty will be wrapped in the silence of death, deserted by all except those few faithful souls who keep a watch of love around the Cross, wondering in their aching hearts what they should do.

It is nearly over, and yet it continues. Loving hands yearn to take the Lord down from the Cross, and yet we leave Him hanging there. Our own sin, our own inaction, our own lukewarm love will not let Him come down from the Cross. How often have we “hid our faces from Him,” and have been ashamed to confess Him before the world, and so have left Him hanging there. How often, when the world has denied Him and insulted Him and abused His mercy and blasphemed His Name and ridiculed His Body the Church, we have held our tongues, and so have left Him hanging there.

So we find ourselves on a barren hill outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem, and we remember how often we have ignored the very truth for which Christ died, as we look upon the Cross and see that battered and bruised face, and view that lifeless form, and realize the part that we have taken in that cruel death.

It is almost more than we can bear. It is as though we should go away and hide our faces from Him for very shame and grief – except His love constrains us and asks us to stay. Our hearts cry out in sorrow for what we have done and for what we have failed to do, and we know that we cannot leave Him hanging there any longer. Our Lord Jesus Christ is no dead body left on a cross. No, His is a living and life-giving Body waiting to be taken down even by those who have despised and rejected him. He is the Bread of Life, of Whom whosoever shall eat, will live.

Therefore, let us draw near in faith and wrap our Lord’s Body in that fine linen which is the righteousness that comes from God. Let us place within the folds of that linen the bitter herbs of our penitence and anoint him with the oils and spices of our gratitude and our love. With reverence and with true devotion let us lay that Sacred Body in the sepulcher of our hearts, so that the miracle of Christ’s love will rise up in our lives, just as He rose up from the grave on the third day.

“It is finished,” He declared from the Cross. So let it be finished. Let it be completed. Let it be fulfilled in us, so that with hands and hearts and lives cleansed by His blood and enlivened by His love, we may not leave Him hanging there, but take Him down from the Cross, and let Him live in us.

Almighty God: we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the Cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

07 April 2020

Spy Wednesday


Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, "What will you give me if I deliver him to you?" And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him. Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?" He said, "Go into the city to a certain one, and say to him, `The Teacher says, My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'" And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover. When it was evening, he sat at table with the twelve disciples; and as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." And they were very sorrowful, and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?" He answered, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." Judas, who betrayed him, said, "Is it I, Master?" He said to him, "You have said so."
-Matthew 26:14-25
Elsewhere the Gospel tells us that Satan entered into Judas, but even before this, Judas had shown himself to be dishonest and a lover of money. He kept the money box which was used for the needs of Jesus and the disciples, but he was accustomed to taking money out for himself. When the expensive perfume was used to anoint Jesus, he complained that it could have been sold and the money given to the poor – although he was more likely thinking that he could take the money himself. And now, he goes to the chief priests and asks what they would give him if he delivered Jesus to them. The bargain was struck: thirty silver pieces for the Son of God.

Could the betrayal by Judas have been because of something as common and low as his love for money? Certainly, it looks that way. There could have been other reasons – some have said that he was trying to force Christ into revealing himself as the Messiah. Some have said that Judas was jealous of all the other disciples and so wanted to do something to ruin their common life together. But if Judas betrayed Jesus for those reasons, why did he ask for money when he went to the high priests? He could have handed Jesus over to them without asking for money.

No, Judas was a lover of money, a worldly man who was looking for personal gain. As St. Paul wrote to St. Timothy, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” And this, no doubt, was an evil act. When Judas approached Jesus in the garden, our Lord asked him, “Judas would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?” Judas had given his betraying kiss before, when he took money into his filthy hands, caressing it as a lover would his beloved.

Spy Wednesday serves as a reminder to us, too, that we can betray Christ for common, low things. We tend to think about our own wants before we think of Christ. We sometimes spend time trying to get things for ourselves while forgetting the needs of others. When we put things before what we owe to God, we’re betraying Christ. When we’re cruel or when we bully someone weaker than we are, we’re betraying Christ. When we delight in gossip, we’re betraying Christ. When we cheat someone, or when we take something which isn’t ours, we’re betraying Christ. When we use foul language, speaking filthy words from the same mouth in which we receive the Body of Christ, we’re betraying Him.

We’re horrified by what Judas did. But we need to look at our own lives, too, lest we are betraying Jesus.

O God, who didst will that thy Son should suffer death upon the Cross that thou mightest deliver us from the snares of the enemy: grant that by the merits of his Passion and Death we may know the power of his Resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

06 April 2020

Tuesday in Holy Week


When Jesus had thus spoken, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus; so Simon Peter beckoned to him and said, "Tell us who it is of whom he speaks." So lying thus, close to the breast of Jesus, he said to him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give this morsel when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly." Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the money box, Jesus was telling him, "Buy what we need for the feast"; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the morsel, he immediately went out; and it was night. When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and in him God is glorified; if God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, `Where I am going you cannot come.' A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered, "Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow afterward." Peter said to him, "Lord, why cannot I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times."

- St. John 13:21-38

O God, who by the passion of thy blessed Son didst make an instrument of shameful death to be unto us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

05 April 2020

Monday in Holy Week


Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it.  Jesus said, "Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me." When the great crowd of the Jews learned that he was there, they came, not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests planned to put Lazarus also to death, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.

- St. John 12:1-11
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

04 April 2020

Palm Sunday


From palm branches to passion, from hosannas to heckling, from majesty to mockery. This is the Sunday of the Passion, and the blood of Jesus Christ is the scarlet thread running throughout the entire passion history. As God said to the Israelites (Leviticus 17:11), "…the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life." So then, throughout this holiest of all weeks, we are carried upon the river of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

What had been the cup of the Passover is now the Cup of our salvation, transformed by Jesus when He said, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is the Cup of my blood in the New Covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." The God who turned the water of the Nile into a river of blood in Egypt, the God who made water into wine at Cana, now makes Passover wine His own blood. It is the Lord's Passover, and such a Passover there had never been before.

At the first Passover, it was the blood of the sacrificial lamb, smeared upon the doorposts of the houses, which protected the lives of the first-born from death. The Angel of Death “passed over” where the blood was. But now, at this Passover, the Lamb is not only the sacrifice, but He is the Lord to whom the sacrifice is offered. His blood, the Blood of the Lamb, isn’t smeared on doorposts, but it’s drunk from His Chalice, and it covers our sins and shields us from death. His blood is the blood of the covenant, both ancient and new. The covenant is God's claim on His people. "I will be your God, and you will be my people." At Mt. Sinai, Moses sprinkled the covenant blood upon the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” In the upper room, Jesus gave His blood of the new covenant to His Twelve, His new Israel. “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Jesus binds Himself to His people in every generation by His blood.

On the cross, Christ’s blood was shed, once for all people. It is Covenant blood; innocent blood; cleansing blood; poured out for you and for all mankind. It was the blood of God’s Passover Lamb which stained the wood of the cross, and it’s the cross which is the doorpost of the Church – and death passes over the house where the Passover Lamb’s blood has been smeared. And so, the blood is for us.

In the Mass, we come to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and we come through the blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel. Here Christ delivers, offers and applies His blood to us. And we must receive the blood of the Lamb in all the ways He promises to give it to us - in Baptism, in Absolution, in the Mass. For completely different reasons than they were for that crowd in Jerusalem screaming for his death, we say, “Let His innocent and cleansing blood of the covenant be upon us and upon our children,” because there is life in His blood, and there is forgiveness.

Almighty and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the Cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: mercifully grant that we may follow the example of his patience, and so be made partakers of his Resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

03 April 2020

Stations of the Cross


PREPARATION – Jesus is betrayed

In the Name + of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen

THE READING: (St. Mark 14:26, 32, 45; St. Luke 22:41-42; St. John 18:12-13)

They went out into the Mount of Olives.  And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane.  And Jesus was withdrawn from the disciples about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done...  As soon as Judas was come, he goeth straightway to Jesus, and saith, Master, Master: and kissed him.  Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, and led him away.

Let us pray.  Assist us mercifully with thy help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the meditation of those mighty acts, whereby thou hast given unto us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name; Thy kingdom come, thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven:
R.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

V.   Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus:
R.   Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

V.  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost:
R.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

V.  Have mercy upon us, O Lord.
R.  Have mercy upon us.

V.  May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R.  Amen.

Sing my tongue the glorious battle
Sing the winning of the fray:
Now above the cross, the trophy,
Sound the high triumphal lay:
Tell how Christ, the world's Redeemer,
As a Victim won the day.




The First Station - Jesus is Condemned to Death

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Mark 14:61, 64)

The high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?  And Jesus said, I am...  And then all condemned him to be guilty of death.

V.  Oh my people, what have I done unto thee, or wherein have I wearied thee?  Testify against me.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray: Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy, but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified; Mercifully grant that we, walking the Way of the Cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



The Second Station - Jesus Receives the Cross

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 19:14, 17)

Pilate saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!  But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him.  Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King?  The chief priest answered, We have no king but Caesar.  Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified.  And they took Jesus and led him away.  And he bearing his cross went forth...

V.  Because I brought thee forth from the land of Egypt, thou hast prepared a cross for thy Savior.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O God, who by the passion of thy blessed Son didst make an instrument of shameful death to be unto us the means of life: Grant us to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ  (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Sing my tongue the glorious battle
Sing the winning of the fray:
Now above the cross, the trophy,
Sound the high triumphal lay:
Tell how Christ, the world's Redeemer,
As a Victim won the day.



The Third Station - Jesus Falls the First Time

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 15:18-20)

Jesus said to his disciples: If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hated you.  Remember the word that I said unto you:  The servant is not greater than his lord.  If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.

V.  Because I led thee through the desert forty years, and fed thee with manna, and brought thee into a land exceeding good: thou hast prepared a cross for thy Savior.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty God, who hast given thy Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin and also an example of godly life: Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive that inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavor ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

God in pity saw man fallen,
Shamed and sunk in misery,
When he fell on death by tasting
 Fruit of the forbidden tree:
That another Tree was chosen
Which the world from death would free.



The Fourth Station - Jesus Meets His Blessed Mother

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 19:25-27)

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother!  And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

V.  What more could I have done unto thee that I have not done?  I indeed did plant thee, O my vineyard, with exceeding fair fruit: and thou art become very bitter unto me.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O God, the King of Saints, we praise and magnify thy holy Name for all thy servants who have finished their course in thy faith and fear; for the Blessed Virgin Mary; for the holy patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs; and for all thy other righteous servants, known to us and unknown; and we beseech thee that, encouraged by their examples, aided by their prayers, and strengthened by their fellowship, we also may be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; through the merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



The Fifth Station - The Cross is Laid Upon Simon of Cyrene

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Mark 15:16, 20-22)

The soldiers...led him out to crucify him.  And they compel one Simon, a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.  And they bring him unto a place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of the skull.

V.  I did scourge Egypt with her first-born for thy sake, and thou hast scourged me and delivered me up.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty God, whose beloved Son willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross for our redemption; Give us courage, we beseech thee, to take up our cross and follow him, even Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Thus the scheme of our salvation
Was of old in order laid,
That the manifold deceiver's
Art by Art might be outweighed;
And the lure the foe put forward
Into means of healing made.



The Sixth Station - Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Matthew 24:8, 9, 30, 40-41)

Jesus said unto his disciples, All these are the beginning of sorrows, Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted and shall kill you; and ye shall be hated of all nations for my Name's sake.  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven... and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

V.  I led thee forth out of Egypt, drowning Pharoah in the Read Sea, and thou hast delivered me up to the chief priests.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered; Make us, we beseech thee, deeply sensible of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; and let thy Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days: that, when we shall have served thee in our generation, we may be gathered unto our fathers, having the testimony of a good conscience; in the communion of the Catholic Church; in the confidence of a certain faith; in the comfort of a reasonable, religious and holy hope; in favor with thee our God, and in perfect charity with the world; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Therefore when th' appointed fullness
Of the holy time was come,
He was sent, who maketh all things,
Forth from God's eternal home;
Thus he came to earth, incarnate,
Offspring of the Virgin's womb.



The Seventh Station - Jesus Falls the Second Time

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (Isaiah 53:3, 5-6)

He is despised and rejected of men: a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

V.  I did open the sea before thee: and thou hast opened my side with a spear.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O Lord Jesus Christ, who by thy death didst take away the sting of death: Grant unto us thy servants so to follow in faith where thou hast led the way, that we may at length fall asleep peacefully in thee, and awake up after thy likeness; for thy tender mercies' sake (who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



The Eighth Station - Jesus Greets the Holy Women

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Luke 23:27-28, 31)

There followed him a great company of people, and of women which bewailed and lamented him.  But Jesus, turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

V.  I did go before thee in the pillar of cloud, and thou hast led me unto the judgment hall of Pilate.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Thirty years he dwelt among us,
His appointed time fulfilled;
Born for this he met his passion,
This the Savior freely willed:
On the cross the Lamb was lifted,
Where his Precious Blood was spilled.



The Ninth Station - Jesus Falls a Third Time

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (Hebrews 10:10, 19-23)

We are sanctified through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all.  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the Blood of Jesus, by a new and living way... that is to say, his Flesh; and having an high priest over the House of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.

V.  I did feed thee with manna in the desert, and thou hast stricken me with blows and scourges.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O Lord Jesus Christ, who in a wonderful Sacrament hast left unto us a memorial of thy precious death and passion; Grant us so to venerate the sacred mysteries of thy Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruits of thy redemption  (who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

He endured the nails, the spitting,
Vinegar, and spear, and reed;
From that holy Body broken
Blood and water forth proceed:
Earth and stars and sky and ocean
By that flood from stain are freed.



The Tenth Station - Jesus is Stripped of His Raiment

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (Hebrews 10:10, 19-23)

They gave Jesus vinegar to drink mingled with gall; and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.  And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

V.  I did give thee to drink the water of life from the rock: and thou hast given me to drink but gall and vinegar.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O Lord God, whose blessed Son our Saviour gave his back to the smiters and hid not his face from shame; Grant us grace to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time, in full assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord,  (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.


Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



The Eleventh Station - Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Luke 23:33-34; St. John 19:19)

When they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do...  And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross.  And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

V.  I did smite the kings of the Canaanites for thy sake, and thou hast smitten my head with a reed.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the Cross, that he might draw the whole world unto himself; Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Bend thy boughs, O tree of glory!
Thy relaxing sinews bend;
For a while the ancient rigor
That thy birth bestowed, suspend;
And the King of heavenly beauty
On thy bosom gently tend!



                               The Twelfth Station - Jesus Dies on the Cross

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. Matthew 27:45-46; St. John 19:28, 30)

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.  And about the ninth hour, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.  (kneel)

V.  I did give thee a royal scepter, and thou hast given unto my head a crown of thorns.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus  Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross (who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.  (rise)

Thou alone wast counted worthy
This world's Ransom to uphold,
For a shipwrecked race preparing
Harbor, like the Ark of old,
With the Sacred Blood anointed
From the smitten Lamb that rolled.



 The Thirteenth Station - Jesus is Taken Down From the Cross

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 19:33-34, 38)

When the soldiers came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: but one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.  After this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave.  He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

V.  I did raise thee on high with great powers, and thou hast hanged me on the gibbet of the cross.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  Almighty and everlasting God, who of they tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom
None in fruit thy peer may be:
Sweetest wood, and sweetest iron!
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.



 The Fourteenth Station - Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

V. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: (genuflect)
R. Because by thy holy Cross thou hast redeemed the world.

THE READING: (St. John 19:40-42)

Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.  Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre wherein never man yet laid.  There laid they Jesus.

V.  O my people, what have I done unto thee, or wherein have I wearied thee?  Testify against me.
R.  Holy and Immortal, have mercy upon us.

Let us pray.  O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray thee to set thy passion, cross , and death between thy judgment and our souls, now and in the hour of our death.  Give mercy and grace to the living, pardon and rest to the dead, to thy holy Church peace and concord, and to us sinners everlasting life and glory (who livest and reignest with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  O Savior of the world, who by thy Cross and Precious Blood hast redeemed us:
R.  Save us and help us, we humbly beseech thee, O Lord.

To the Trinity be glory
Everlasting, as is meet:
Equal to the Father, equal
To the Son, and Paraclete:
God the Three in One, whose praises
All created things repeat.  Amen.


CONCLUDING PRAYER

Let us pray.  O God, who for our redemption didst give thine only-begotten Son to the death of the Cross, and by his glorious resurrection hast delivered us from the power of our enemy; Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord (who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end).  Amen.

V.  May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
R.  Amen.