Friday, March 25, 2016

A Good Friday Benediction

The brutal scourge,
the thorny crown,
the cruel cross,
the intense pain,
the deep agony,
the merciless dying,
the horrific death,
the dark tomb,
the numbing shock,
the stunned silence.

Now we wait.

Though our hearts ache, we are not without hope.
But now . . . we wait.
We do not despair, for we have the promise.
But now . . . we wait.

The cross has spoken . . .
but the cross does not have the final word.
Death has spoken . . .
But death does not have the final word.
The tomb has made its decree . . .
but the tomb does not have the final word.

The final word belongs to Him who is the Resurrection and the Life.
And He will soon speak.
But now . . . we wait.

We go from this place, reflecting on the Cross, but anticipating the Resurrection, where death will be swallowed up in victory.

Now may the God of peace
who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great shepherd of the sheep,
by the blood of the eternal covenant,
equip you with everything good that you may do his will,
working in us that which is pleasing in his sight,
through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
- Hebrews 13:20-21

Friday, March 4, 2016

Azariah's Prayer of Repentance

The following prayer of repentance is found in an apocryphal portion of the book of Daniel 3:25, 34-45. It is included in "Catholic versions" of the Bible. It is said to be the prayer Azariah (his Hebrew name, Abednego was his Babylonian name) prayed while in the fiery furnace. It is a beautiful prayer for the Lenten season.

25 Then Azariah stood still in the fire and prayed aloud:
34  For your name’s sake do not give us up forever,
    and do not annul your covenant.
35 Do not withdraw your mercy from us,
    for the sake of Abraham your beloved
    and for the sake of your servant Isaac
    and Israel your holy one,
36 to whom you promised
    to multiply their descendants like the stars of heaven
    and like the sand on the shore of the sea.
37 For we, O Lord, have become fewer than any other nation,
    and are brought low this day in all the world because of our     sins.
38 In our day we have no ruler, or prophet, or leader,
    no burnt offering, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense,
    no place to make an offering before you and to find mercy.
39 Yet with a contrite heart and a humble spirit may we be    accepted,
40  as though it were with burnt offerings of rams and bulls,
    or with tens of thousands of fat lambs;
    such may our sacrifice be in your sight today,
    and may we unreservedly follow you,
    for no shame will come to those who trust in you.
41 And now with all our heart we follow you;
    we fear you and seek your presence.
42 Do not put us to shame,
    but deal with us in your patience
    and in your abundant mercy.
43 Deliver us in accordance with your marvelous works,
    and bring glory to your name, O Lord.
44Let all who do harm to your servants be put to shame;
    let them be disgraced and deprived of all power,
    and let their strength be broken.

45 Let them know that you alone are the Lord God,
    glorious over the whole world.”

~ ~ ~ Taken from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)