Saturday Song — “Dark Was the Night”

Blind Willie Johnson’s wordless meditation on the death of the savior is based on loosely on a few lines from old spiritual “Gethsemane”: “Dark was the night, cold was the ground/on which my Lord was laid.” Its melancholy tone is well-suited for this day between death and resurrection. [Read more...]

“That is the Good Friday of the twentieth century”

  In the great Passions of Johann Sebastian Bach, which stir our hearts anew each year during Holy Week, the terrible event of Good Friday is steeped in a transfigured and transfiguring beauty. These Passions do not, it is true, speak of the Resurrection—they end with the burial of Jesus—but in their eminent purity they [Read More...]

“In spite of that, we call this Friday good”

The wounded surgeon plies the steel That questions the distempered part Beneath the bleeding hands we feel The sharp compassion of the healer’s art Resolving the enigma of the fever chart. Our only health is the disease If we obey the dying nurse Whose constant care is not to please But to remind of our, [Read More...]

“When the desire of the Lord comes to us, it comes in the night”

Posting will be light throughout the Triduum. Go ahead, turn off your computers. If you had a “bad Lent,” if you didn’t meet the obligations you set for yourself, find some peace by unplugging and spending the next four days walking the final steps with Christ. He never asked much of us, really. All he wanted [Read More...]

Understanding the Washing of the Feet

Pope in Dalmatic

One of the most striking traditions of Holy Week is the washing of the feet at Holy Thursday mass. Once again, we are reenacting something Christ himself commanded us to do, and the somewhat awkward and uncomfortable way the tradition is performed at many modern masses does nothing to undercut the potent symbolism of the [Read More...]

Mourning the Pierced One

longinus

The Book of Zechariah: Background Zechariah can be a difficult book at times, partly due to some obscure language, but also because there are two distinct textual traditions. Chapters 1-8 are the work of the prophet Zechariah himself, written before the inauguration of the Second Temple, possibly around the year 520BC. These initial chapters contain [Read More...]

Saturday Song – “O Sacred Head Now Wounded”

In anticipation of Passion Sunday, a cover of “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” by Selah. 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 [Read More...]

Mackerel Snapping in Modern America

Oddly enough, I don't see bellying up to a table full of this as a "penitential"

The Good Deacon finds a story about Lent and fish from my home state of South Jersey. (I’m working hard on the secession efforts from the rest of New Jersey, but neither side wants any town that might include the cast of Jersey Shore.) The premise of the article is that Lenten fish sales are [Read More...]


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