There is an island, called Syria, you may have heard of it,
lying above Ortygia, where the sun makes his turnings;
not so much a populous island, but a good one, good for
cattle and good for sheep, full of vineyards, and wheat raising.
No hunger ever comes on these people, nor any other
hateful sickness, of such as befall wretched humanity;
but when the generations of men grow old in the city,
Apollo of the silver bow, and Artemis with him,
comes with a visitation of painless arrows, and kills them.
(Homer, Odyssey 15.403-411, tr. Richmond Lattimore, via Laudator Temporis Acti).
(The following is a translation of the sermon that I preached yesterday at the Carmel in Mayerling).
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb (John 20:11). Dom Mauro Giussepe Lepori, Abbot General O.Cist, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land earlier this year. Afterwards he wrote the following:
From those first days in the Holy Land, particularly in Jerusalem at the basilica of the Holy Sepulcher, I was deeply moved. At the same time, however, the more I went to the holiest sites of Christianity, the more I had to admit that I was not really aware of what they represented, nor of the events that had happened right there: that there in that place Christ had died, that there he had been buried and there he had risen, that there he had met Mary Magdalene and the other women…
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The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” (John 20:26)
The Risen Lord shows a remarkable freedom with respect to earthly things. Not only is he entirely free from all weakness and suffering, but not even locked doors are no barrier to him, His body is full of intese and perfect life, and everything is easy to Him. Having conquered sin and death He has won for Himself the perfect peace of victory. Continue reading
Here are some pictures of the Good Friday Liturgy in Heiligenkreuz yesterday. The last few pictures show the custom of carrying a veiled monstrance in procession to an altar decorated as a tomb.
In a Holy Week Episode of The Josias Podcast we discuss Christ’s death out of love for us and for our salvation. We begin with a discussion of the highpoint of Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion, the soprano aria Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben.
The rulers of the Third Reich wanted to crush the entire Jewish people, to cancel it from the register of the peoples of the earth. Thus the words of the Psalm: “We are being killed, accounted as sheep for the slaughter” were fulfilled in a terrifying way. Deep down, those vicious criminals, by wiping out this people, wanted to kill the God who called Abraham, who spoke on Sinai and laid down principles to serve as a guide for mankind, principles that are eternally valid. If this people, by its very existence, was a witness to the God who spoke to humanity and took us to himself, then that God finally had to die and power had to belong to man alone – to those men, who thought that by force they had made themselves masters of the world. By destroying Israel, by the Shoah, they ultimately wanted to tear up the taproot of the Christian faith and to replace it with a faith of their own invention: faith in the rule of man, the rule of the powerful. (Pope Benedict XVI)
I was recently invited to speak at a event on the crusades organized by students in Trumau. I spoke mostly about just war. To speak about war during Passiontide brings one sharply up against the apparent tension between the mildness of Christ, the lamb who opens not his mouth, and Christian rulers who wage war. I just posted my reflections on that problem at The Josias.