Category Archives: Stations of the Cross

Carried

  • Today is Holy Thursday.
  • Today’s station: Jesus is laid in the tomb.
  • Today’s liturgy, Jesus institutes the Eucharist.

How often in our Churches is this Eucharist, Jesus himself, again laid in a tomb.  We call it “the TABERNACLE.” Originally according to the Hebrew Bible, the Tabernacle (Hebrew: מִשְׁכַּן‎, mishkan, “residence” or “dwelling place”), was the portable dwelling place for the divine. It went where the people went, it took “on the “smell of the sheep” and the sheep are willing to hear” God’s voice.  He dwelt with them, He was in their midst, He protected them, He heard their cries, brought them out of slavery, fed them manna and gave them water in the desert.  He was their God and they were His people.  This is what a tabernacle should be…God with us.

And then, the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us [Jn 1:14],[1] not just in a tent but as a man; Jesus the Nazorean was a man commended to you by God with mighty deeds, wonders, and signs, which God worked through him in your midst, as you yourselves know. [Acts 2:22].  Again, God with us.

Today, 2000 years ago, this Jesus gave himself, his body and blood as our food and drink, this Eucharist, this true food from heaven,whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.[Jn 6:35]

Jesus did not mince words: I AM the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. [Jn 6:48-50]

He said it is the sine qua non: Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. [Jn 6:53-57] Unless I wash you, you will have no part of me. [Jn 13:8] The blood of…Jesus cleanses us from all sin. [1Jn 1:7]

This Eucharist, this Body and Blood, this true food and drink, is suppose to be “the source and summit of the Christian life,”[2] sending us out to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. [Mt 28:19-20] and bringing us and all these disciples back to celebrate the heavenly banquet of the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you. [Lk 22:20]

What do we have instead…Our TABERNACLE is now the fixed, locked box in which, in some Christian churches, the Eucharist is “reserved” (stored).  That first Holy Thursday, after the first Eucharist, Jesus did not say: “Let’s stay right here and the Sanhedrin will calm down and we will keep this keep this covenant all to ourselves.”  NO. Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out[Jn 18:4] Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand. [Mt 26:46]

Pope Francis I likens this other tomb to our Churches:

“The biggest threat of all [to missionary zeal] gradually takes shape: ‘the gray pragmatism of the daily life of the Church, in which all appears to proceed normally, while in reality faith is wearing down and degenerating into small-mindedness’. A tomb psychology thus develops and slowly transforms Christians into mummies in a museum. Disillusioned with reality, with the Church and with themselves, they experience a constant temptation to cling to a faint melancholy, lacking in hope, which seizes the heart like “the most precious of the devil’s potions”. Called to radiate light and communicate life, in the end they are caught up in things that generate only darkness and inner weariness, and slowly consume all zeal for the apostolate.[3]Some resist giving themselves over completely to mission and thus end up in a state of paralysis and acedia. [4]

Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the joy of evangelization![5] The joy of the Eucharist!  The joy of Easter!  Today Christ bursts forth from the tomb of the Eucharist, the bread of Life.  On Easter, Christ bursts forth from the tomb of Death.

Let us not be caught in the tomb of mummies. Let us, the dead [come] out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and [our faces] wrapped in a cloth. [Jn 11:44] Let us hear Jesus say to each of us: “Untie him and let him go.” [Jn 11:44]

Let us, with Pope Francis, say: [6]

  • Yes to the challenge of a missionary spirituality
  • No to selfishness and spiritual sloth
  • No to a sterile pessimism
  • No to spiritual worldliness
  • No to warring among ourselves
  • Yes to the new relationships brought by Christ

Let us meet the challenges Francis cites in today’s world, saying: [7]

  • No to an economy of exclusion
  • No to the new idolatry of money
  • No to a financial system which rules rather than serves
  • No to the inequality which spawns violence

Let us not carry the body of Jesus to the Tomb. Let us not carry the body of Jesus to the Altar of Repose in our Churches.  Let us carry our Cross with this Jesus to Calvary.  Then, on Easter, we will be ready to carry the Resurrected Jesus, the New Covenant Jesus, the Eucharistic/Thanksgiving Jesus “into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.” [Mk 16:15]

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

[2] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324; Lumen Gentium, 11.

[3]The Joy of the Gospel,” 83.

[4] “The Joy of the Gospel,” 81.

[5] “The Joy of the Gospel,” 83.

[6] “The Joy of the Gospel,” 78-101.

[7] “The Joy of the Gospel,” 53-60.

Cleaved

One soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may [come to] believe. [Jn 19:34-35] [1]

You really died.  If people thought You were faking it and were just comatose there on the cross to be revived later by Your disciples, this thrust should settle the argument.  For blood and water to flow out, presumably the heart must have been pierced.  And You, Yourself, confirmed You had been pierced when, the Sunday after Easter, You appeared again to Your disciples and called Thomas to You and said:  Bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe. [Jn 20:27]  Little did that soldier know that his thrust would underpin the very faith of Your faithful down through the ages. We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. [Rom 8:28]

Cleave 1: “to sever or split” You cut Yourself off.  Mark and Matthew say You gave a loud cry and then breathed You last. [Mk 15:37; Mt 27:50] Cut off from Your Mother, Your Apostles, Your followers, even Your enemies.

Cleave 2:to adhere firmly and closely or loyally and unwaveringly” Luke puts the 31st Psalm in Your mouth: “Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, LORD, God of truth.” [Ps 31:6, Lk 23:46] commending Your Spirit to the hands of Your Father in faith and trust the Your Father, the Lord, the God of Truth, will redeem You who were born and came into the world “to testify to the truth.” [Jn 18:37]

Both: John has You seem to consume the 4th cup of the Passover: When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.[Jn 19:30]  For John, You are a conquering hero, orchestrating Your life to the end.  Scott Hahn points out “There’s no mistaking the fact that St. John, the beloved disciple, understood our Lord’s sacrifice as the culmination, the fulfillment of the Old Testament Passover. Here is the true priest, as well as the true victim.”  Here You offer all that He has to the Father.

It is amazing to me how all these pieces fit together: our Father, the God of Truth, You, the testifier to the Truth, and the Holy Spirit whose Psalm not only foretells this relationship, but testifies to its outcome, redemption…not only for You, but for all of us in, with and through You.

Woman, behold your Son.” [Jn 19:26] Finally, moments before You had said this to Mary of John.  Now it echoes in her mind as she beholds You, laid gently in her arms, her baby boy once more.  You had wiped his sweaty, dirty, brow before in Nazareth when he had finished a day’s labor.  But now that brow was lifeless, pierced, bloody from the thorns.  There is no sorrow like Your sorrow. He has joined “the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under….” and you, Rachael: “Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.” [Mt 2: 16-18]

You beckon me to listen: “Son, behold your Mother.”[Jn 19:27]

  • A part of Mary died with me, yes, but she will rise and become the Mother of the Church. 
  • But look to my people: Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling! [Mt 23:37]  The Gospels mention two times I wept, once at Lazarus’ tomb and once for this city: As he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If this day you only knew what makes for peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.…They will smash you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation. [Lk 19: 41-42,44]…

It has begun: And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many. The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!”[Mt 27:51-54]

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Commended

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” [Lk 23:34][1]

Of all Your sayings, I find this the most comforting of all. You indeed became human…You experienced this baffling conundrum of human weakness that Paul describes so accurately: What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate.…For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if [I] do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me...For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members [Rom 7: 15,18-20, 22-23]

Not that you sinned but that You took the “sin that dwells in me…[this other] principle at war with the law of my mind taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members” into Your very self and overcame it. “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” [Mt 19:26]

Thus, the culpability is not in the temptation but in refusing Your help in overcoming the temptation.  It is my lack of faith, my lack of trust, my trust in myself and not in You that brings me to the brink of sin.  With Paul, I cry: Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body?[Rom 7:24]  Only You, Lord, only you.

When I bring you my humiliation of being myself as I truly am, with my unfaithful ego-centric temperament, temptations, limitations, failures, to You, You really understand. It is easier to give you these since they are more me and more on the surface than any “successes” I might have had and with great hubris, attributed them to myself, my doing, my talents, my ingenuity.  Indeed, these attributions, too, seen in the light of  Truth, are my temperament, limitations, and failures, for any chance that I could have offered them to you for Your glory is canceled by my seeking my reward here.  Jesus, You are very, very clear about this…it is one of the few times You repeat Yourself three times: Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. [Mt 5:2,5,16]

So it is with success: Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.’” [Lk 17:9-10]

So what You commanded is very simple: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. [1 Thes. 5: 16-18]  And You, God, are very, very merciful.  If we do what our Father has commanded in secret, You, Jesus, again add your triple emphasis: Your Father who sees in secret will repay you. [Mt 5: 4, 6, 18]

Therefore, I offer to you my failures, and humbly beg Your forgiveness.

[1] Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Crucified

Crucified

Get Your hand over here.  Hold still.  I know…Your back stings from scourgin’ and strippin’.  Look it, the sooner I get the nails in, the sooner You’re hung up; the sooner You’re up, the sooner You’re out of Your misery.  So hold still!  Wish You weren’t so bloody.  Makes it harder to get the nails in straight.

Ok, I got this one started.  There, it’ll hold.  Tie his arm to the crossbar. Hold this hand down; his nerves are spasming.   Ok, I’m in.  Sure, it goes in the palm.  If they’re tied, it goes in the palm. You don’t tie him, it in the wrists…holds the weight better.  Gets very messy if it rips and he falls off; we have to start over.

Alright, who has the inscription.  What’s the guy done?

Oh, Ho. So this is the famous Jesus….From Nazareth, you kiddin’ me. Can anything good come from Nazareth? [Jn 1: 46].  Now that’s a laugh: King of the Jews. Pilate has a sense of humor.

Looks like the big-wigs aren’t too happy with Your inscription.  Tough!  What he wrote, he wrote, that’s my feeling. [See Jn 19:22]

They say You’re a miracle worker.  Well, You’ll need a miracle to get out of this one.

Hey, don’t let that lady near by…this ain’t anything for a lady to see.  His mother!  Oh, crap! This is not something a mother should witness.

Woman, I really don’t think you should stick around.  Once they hoist him unto the post, I’ve got to nail his feet.  Soon he’ll start choking and gasping for air, there’ll be screaming they can’t breath, even the bravest begs for death in the end.  You run along. From the shape Your Son is in, it should only be a couple of hours.  Then you come back and claim the body.

You with her?…convince her to go.  It ain’t gonna be nice.

Alright,  Hoist him up.  Come on, you lubbards!  It’s only one man! Get him up there. He’s tied on tight, just drop it in the hole.

Good.  Ok, bend his knees and hold his feet.  Right over left…seems to work better.  Need a large spike here.  All you have to do is get it in there…the downward pressure keeps it from popping out.

You need help on the other two.  I’ll do the feet here; you finish up over there.

Ok, that should do it.  They’re all yours.  Seems like you have more spectators for the King’s death than our usual lot.  Can you believe this weather?  Black as night, almost and it’s just past noon.   Hey, I warned the King’s mother to clear out; it was not going to be a scene she wanted to witness…but she wouldn’t budge.  Keep track of her.  That mob’s riled up; no telling what they’ll do. Your men may have more to do than just shoot craps.

Think I’ll stick around and see what happens.  It’s not every day I get to crucify a King.

 

Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Covered

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be,” in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled [that says]: “They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots.” This is what the soldiers did. [Jn 19: 23-24] [1]

 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves. When they heard the sound of the LORD God walking about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. The LORD God then called to the man and asked him: Where are you? He answered, “I heard you in the garden; but I was afraid, because I was naked, so I hid.” Then God asked: Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I had forbidden you to eat? [Gen. 3:7-11]

Jesus had nothing to hide.  I, like Adam and Eve, have everything to hide but can’t.

As they came forth from their mother’s womb, so again shall they return, naked as they came, having nothing from their toil to bring with them. This too is a grievous evil, that they go just as they came. What then does it profit them to toil for the wind? [Eccl 5:14-15]

What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. [Mk 8: 36,35]

“Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back there. [Job 1:21]

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!” [Job 1:22]

Jesus has nothing.  I have much.  Yet Jesus has everything; I have nothing.

For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it..For the love of money is the root of all evils. [1 Tim 6:6, 10]

“If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” [Mt 19:20-21] Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. [Lk 12: 33-34]

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “[Lord,] let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.* But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” [To him] Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” [Lk 9:57-62]  Everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.” [Mt 19:29]

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” [Mt 19: 24] You make it very difficult, God. Jesus looked at them and said,For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” [Mt 19:25] Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. [Jn 15:5]

You have set us impossible goals, but You will make them possible.  Without You, I can do nothing good.  Help me always to remain with You.  Remain always with me.  Strip me of my clingies, my must-haves, my sine-qua-non’s.  Help me to practice Ignatian “active indifference” …to become utterly free to respond to Your call, Lord…Call me to be free enough to either keep it or get rid of it, shift my attention entirely to what You want, and not what I want.  Help me know what You desire and help me desire only that which serves Your Divine Majesty more. [2]

[1]Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

[2] See Ignatius’ Three Classes of Men. http://www.magisspirituality.org/spex_reflection/the-three-classes/

Crushed

Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and: ‘With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’” When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time. [Lk 4: 9-13] [1]

I want my temple!  Not God’s temple, my temple!  The one where I imagine I am honored, worshipped, adored.  I had it as an only child!  Now I want it again!!!

I use to be trapped in the “I am better than they are” fantasy world where I am the center of attention, the nexus around which all life revolves. Still am at times. But I’d loose my identity when I often dash my foot against the stone of truth, the Corner Stone, reality, others, the Son of God.

God, when I do that, I am afraid, nobody will pay any attention to me, nobody will love me…Silly, I have loved you even before you were born; I “so loved the world that..[I] gave…[my] only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For…[I] did not send…[my] Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.[Jn 3:16-17] This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. [Jn 15:12-14]

It’s very disconcerting that the devil gets to temp You, Jesus. You are God, after all. You are his maker, You are what holds him in existence and gives him everything…but You humbled Yourself to allow Yourself to be tempted by him for our sake?  Not a wise move in my estimation…my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways [Is 55:8] For…[you] do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with…[your] weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested [tempted] in every way, yet without sin. [Heb 4:15]

It’s also scary that the devil can quote scripture so easily. Indeed, beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. [Mt 7:15-16]  Each time You countered with Scripture, You knew exactly how to parry his thrust.  I, however, am just a mere human, without Your knowledge, without Your holiness, without Your stamina, without Your grace.  How can You expect me to dodge his bullets as adroitly as You did?

Do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For the holy Spirit will teach you at that moment what you should say. [Lk 12: 11-12] Do you not recall that each time I confronted a person possessed, the devil recognized Me: They prostrate themselves before Me, crying out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!”[Mk 5: 6-7]

Be cautious, however; never underestimate the evil one: he flies under the radar, enticing you to think he really does not exist, is a figment of your imagination, could not be a creature that the good God allows to exist, has little to do with the real world. Be very cautious or you will find yourself confronted with a power beyond your comprehension. He will taunt you: Jesus I recognize, Paul I know, but who are you? [Acts 19:15] and like the seven sons of Sceva, he will spring upon you and subdue you and you will be forced to flee “naked and wounded from that house.” [Acts 19:16]  That is why I have you pray: do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one. [Mt 6:13]

My angels, indeed, guard you…but be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour. [1 Pet 5:8]

Listen to what I told Paul…“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”  Imitate him: I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong. [2 Cor 12:9-10]. You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test. In my weakness, I fell, but in God’s strength, I got up and continued on.

[1]Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Cautioned

A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?” [Lk 23: 27-31] [1]

Am I without feeling, dry, arid, unmoved by this sight? I have become so inured, so callous, so bored of the passion story that I can no longer feel anything. Your passion is the green wood, alive to the moment, acted out in front of these witnesses.  Here I am two thousand plus years later…and no tears, no lamenting over Your suffering…for me, for my sins, for my salvation.  Just “Dah!”

Yet You are trying to get through to us.  We have not listened to You, our Word, nor to Your Scripture. But Your creation screams: “Repent, turn back before it is too late.  You have horded us, impoverished nations with us, gotten rich with us, misused us.  Our trees and green leaves try to soak up the results of your selfishness…but you cut them down and ravage the land.”

“Indeed, many will look to the sky and say ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.  How dare you bring into this polluted world a child that must live with your sins to the third and fourth generation.” [Ex 20:5; 34:7; Num 14:18; Deut 5:9].

“Avalanches on my mountains have indeed fallen on you. My icebergs, your source of fresh water, are covered with your pollution, are melting and falling on you.  My hills, saturated with your dust-caused rain, have buried you with mud and you do not heed.  My rain, bloated by rising temperatures, send tornados and hurricanes but You do not attend.  My oceans, once home to coral reefs and cleansing sea life, carries garbage to your shores and You do not care.

I weep for myself and for all; we are much more interested in our sheltered lives, bought at the price of the impoverished, the starving the thirsty, the millions of least of these, than in my Your words and warnings.  We are a hardened, sinful people.

Help us mourn.  This is not something that we can rectify on our own.  This dark night is a gift from God.  Like the single blossom on the white tree of Gondor, there is hope.  The King is coming.  All is not lost.  Mordor, the evil in the world, will not prevail.  We are called to the last battle, the battle for our children, our people, our world.  Let us heed the call.

Our cross must be carried in the halls of our Congress, in the Board Rooms of our Corporations, in the slums of our cities, in the oil rigs of the our ocean, in the carburetors of our cars. “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” The LORD says: “I am about to do something…that will make the ears of everyone who hears it ring.” [1 Sam 3:10-11]

“Therefore do not be afraid…Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. [Mt 10:26-28]

[1]Scripture texts in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.