All Depart In Silence

matthias-grunewald-isenheim-altarpiece-(first-view)

Last night was the most striking moment in the Church year for me: the sanctuary lit only by candles, the priest processing with humeral veil and monstrance to the altar of repose, the Pange Lingua echoing in the church, the altars being stripped, and then the final instruction of the missal: “all depart in silence.” And so [Read More...]

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9 Ways To Keep Lent

Universalis for iPad

Pope Benedict gave us a gift yesterday. He gave us a Lent that would focus our minds on Christ, the Church, and His People in a way no one has ever experienced. I awoke yesterday at 6am to learn–on Facebook–that the pope had resigned. The news spread across the world almost at the speed of [Read More...]

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Hyenas Eat Donkeys For Lent

In Ethiopia, hyenas normally just eat whatever they can scavenge from the garbage leftoutside of inhabited areas. But what happens when there are no meat leftovers in the garbage due to the strict Ethiopian Orthodox Lent? Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to be a donkey: Hyenas will eat just about anything organic. They’ll chow down on mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles. [Read More...]

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“God is dead, and we have killed him”

The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb by Holbein (Click to enlarge)

  “Descended into hell”—perhaps no other article of the Creed is as alien to our contemporary mode of thought as this one. And yet, does not this article, which, in the course of the Church year, is liturgically ordered to Holy Saturday and which is especially significant for us today, express in an eminent degree [Read More...]

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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...]

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“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...]

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“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...]

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“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...]

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