“…I knew God by His pain!
And by that sight
I saw the light;
Thus did my grief
For Him beget relief…
So learn this rule from me:
Pity thou Him and He will pity thee!”
It is the agonizing privilege of every Sister Teacher and Sister Catechist, explaining to wide-eyed innocents for the first time about the dolorous passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to regard with fresh unction the painful realities of the sorrowful mysteries:
Pueri Hebraeorum, portantes ramos olivarum,
obviaverunt Domino, clamantes et dicentes: Hosanna in excelsis.
The Hebrew children bearing olive branches, went forth to meet the Lord,
crying out, and saying, Hosanna in the highest.
Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives. Today he returns from Bethany and proceeds of his own free will toward his holy and blessed passion, to consummate the mystery of our salvation. He who came down from heaven to raise us from the depths of sin, to raise us with himself, we are told in Scripture, above every sovereignty, authority and power, and every other name that can be named, now comes of his own free will to make his journey to Jerusalem. He comes without pomp or ostentation. As the psalmist says: He will not dispute or raise his voice to make it heard in the streets. He will be meek and humble, and he will make his entry in simplicity.
The solemn announcement, spoken of by the prophet, has been proclaimed in Sion: the solemn fast of Lent, the season of expiation, the approach of the great anniversaries of our Redemption. Let us, then, rouse ourselves, and prepare for the spiritual combat.
The holy season of Septuagesima which takes up the bulk—and sometimes the entirety—of the time between Candelmas and Ash Wednesday may yet be little known, however there is another, more common name for this period of time: “carnival”.
Graciously hear, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the prayers of Thy people,
that we, who are justly afflicted for our sins,
may for the glory of Thy Name be mercifully delivered.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ …"
- Collect: Septuagesima Sunday
In the cycle of the liturgical year, the Sacred Triduum stands out in a class all its own: Holy Thursday as a day of unparalleled liturgical catharsis, Good Friday as one in which contrition cannot but pour out as tears; all of which reaches its pinnacle on Easter, the Solemnity of Solemnities. Holy Week catches us up into the drama of our redemption and God’s infinite love for Man—and it is this very theme which is the inescapable motif of the entire affair: love.
"The works of art inspired by Scripture
remain a reflection of the unfathomable mystery
which engulfs and inhabits the world."
- Pope St. John Paul II: Letter to Artist (1999)
Vere, tu es Deus Absconditus
And like the deer for running streams
How my eyes thirst to see You!
At Christmas I beheld You
By angel choirs adored, but now
Their “Glorias” are gone and with them…my Lord?
To the ‘tonus peregrinus’ does my soul sigh, forlorn;
Has the Sanhedrin taken Him?
Where has my Beloved gone?
For even on the Cross, I see Him
Shrouded from my gaze;
His royal purples hide Him
Unto the end of these forty days.
I hunger for You, Adonai,
And will you hide from me?
Come back to me, Beloved,
Whose Face I long to see…
A Marian Sister of Santa Rosa
Said Joseph to Mary,
“I dreamed a dream
Of a quaking rock
And a maid’s shrill laugh
At crow of cock.
I saw lost keys
As it were, of a realm,
Then a fisherman’s boat
With an empty helm.”
Said Mary to Joseph,
“I dreamed too.
Thirty coins bled
Like a heart in grief
While a swart thief fled--
In a barren plot
And our little Son crying,
Sister Mary Immaculate (p. 98 Guardian of God’s Lillies)
The bluebirds, looking bright as sapphires in their Springtime best, chirp happily all about the convent grounds. A hummingbird has delighted the Sisters by choosing to build her nest in the crook of a Japanese maple tree that hangs fondly over the Pieta statue in the patio. Audacious daffodils smile brightly at the blooming world around them, while tulips demurely peak out from behind the curtain of earth. The world fairly hums with the expectation of oncoming rebirth—and it would seem that nature can tend herself and usher in a delightful Spring and a fruitful Summer and Autumn without our Sisters so much as lifting a finger.