Palm/ Passion Sunday (year c) go to deepest sorrow
On This Week's Prompts for Personal Meditation
"I will go into deepest sorrow that I may find my God." Indeed, throughout history men and women have been surprised to encounter God in deepest sorrow. The church teaches her people year after year to find the holy in the observances of Passiontide. Thus, in our own deepest sorrow we learn to find our God. And when we've embraced God in our sorrow, we're equipped to extend our own loving arms into a sorrowful world, "for sorrow is great in the world, mighty and without end."
May the blessings of this season fill you with wonder. -Suzanne
Entry into Jerusalem, Miniature, Netherlandish, c1400
Assist us mercifully with your help, O Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy upon the contemplation of those mighty acts, whereby you have given us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
-Book of Common Prayer
It is ourselves that we must spread under Christ's feet, not coats or lifeless branches or shoots of trees, matter which wastes away and delights the eye only for a few brief hours. but we have clothed ourselves with Christ's grace, with the whole Christ - "for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" - so let us spread ourselves like coats under his feet.
-Andrew of Crete (c.650-712, 726,or 740)
Meditation One Let me never outlive my love for thee My spirit is overwhelmed within me: my heart within me is desolate.
-Antiphon at Lauds, Good Friday What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest friend, for this thy dying sorrow, thy pity without end? Oh, make me thine forever! And should I fainting be, Lord, let me never, never, outlive my love for thee.
-Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676) translated James Waddell Alexander (stanza four of Hymn 168, O Sacred Head Sore Wounded)
Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow, the strength of all who suffer: Let the cry of those in misery and need come to you, that they may find your mercy present with them in all their afflictions; and give us, we pray, the strength to serve them for the sake of him who suffered for us, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Solemn Collect, Good Friday Liturgy
Crucifix, Master of San Francisco Bardi, 14th century
Meditation Three Go into the deepest sorrow to find God And your voice speaks: I take the shoes from my feet, I put off all that is finite and tread on a land without borders. Burst forth, all the dark well-springs of my life! Come flying all my nights, dark birds of guilt, descend upon me with outstretched wings: I will go into deepest sorrow that I may find my God. For sorrow is great in the world, mighty and without end. It has encompassed that against which heaven and earth are shattered, it has endured the weight of infinite love. Holy God, Holy Strength, Holy Immortal. Thou God under my sin, thou God under my weakness, Thou God under my death. I lay my lips upon thy wounds Ė Lord, I lay my soul upon thy cross.
-Gertrude von Le Fort 1876-1971 quoted in Triduum, Liturgy Training Publications
Meditation Three the womb of the whole world
Christ was in the tomb; the whole world was sown with the seed of Christís life; that which happened thirty years ago in the womb of the Virgin Mother was happening now, but now it was happening yet more secretly, yet more mysteriously, in the womb of the whole world. Christ had already told those who flocked to hear Him preach that the seed must fall into the earth, or else remain by itself alone. Now the seed of His life was hidden in darkness in order that His life should quicken in countless hearts, over and over again for all time. His burial, which seemed to be the end, was the beginning. It was the beginning of Christ-life in multitudes of souls. It was the beginning, too, of the renewal of Christís life in countless souls.
-Caryll Houselander 1901-1954
The Last Word Glory be to You, who laid your Cross as a bridge over death, that souls might pass over it from the dwelling of the dead to the dwelling of life!