Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In Jest and in Earnest: Holy Week Updates

Scroll down to see information on visiting seven churches on Holy Thursday and for some texts to read during private reflection this week.

St. Dodolinus's Day Special Report
Aboard the (grounded) papal plane: The Holy Father Pope Francis is not travelling this week, but he boarded a grounded plane to meet with reporters, because off-the-cuff interviews given on aircraft garner more media attention than any number of his Wednesday general audiences do. (Incidentally, the dogma of papal infallibility applies narrowly to ex cathedra definitions "of a doctrine of faith or morals to be held by the whole church," not to such ex alitalia discourses as these.) 

Pope Francis exhorted Catholic laity to pray and do good works of penance and alms-giving for their own salvation, for their families, and for their pastors and bishops--most urgently in these next six months. The Holy Father first recognized how busy Catholics are  now in their personal and professional and liturgical lives (and ever more so with the year of consecrated life and the coming jubilee year of mercy and right now with Holy Week), but he reminded them that the III General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will convene Oct 5-19 to address 'pastoral challenges of the family in the contexts of evangelization.'

Speaking from remarks he had hastily prepared while browsing and annotating a sporadically active blog for a certain Catholic social group which emphasizes prayer, tradition, spontaneity, and family, the Holy Father declared, "I'd like to dedicate this synod to the special patronage first of Our Lady Refuge of Sinners, in hopes that we will have the moral courage to confront sin--to put the sense of "sin" back in "synod" as it were--and secondly to St. Dodolinus, a model for twenty-first century prelates if only because  'no details of his ministry have survived'--which in itself might be worthwhile given the confusion over last October's drafts of the relatio."

It is indeed an honor that the Holy Father has added this blog to his RSS feed; the editors are spurred on to post more assiduously now that they know what a difference their earlier, more tentative writing has made. As of press time, there were no alterations to the papal itinerary for the September US visit, though Pope Francis is certainly welcome to attend a Sodality Mass, Bible study meeting, rosary on the beach, or dinner at Harry's.

Holy Thursday Seven Churches "Pilgrimage"
Please see last year's post for some background. Begin at 5:30 at San Roque. 
This year, we will visit these seven churches:
1. San Roque
2. Our Lady of Sorrows
3. Our Lady of Guadalupe
4. Our Lady of Mount Carmel
5. Santa Barbara Mission
6. Poor Clare's Monastery
7. Holy Cross

email with any additional questions.
Selections from St. Peter's Complaint by Robert Southwell, S.J.
(Read the full text here.)
Published in 1595, the poem consists of 132 six-line stanzas, as if spoken by St. Peter when he went out and "wept bitterly" after denying Jesus on the night of His arrest. The poem starts with boating imagery apt for his fishing background; many stanzas reflect on the special graces he'd received and has now thrown away; there is also a long passage on Christ's eyes and His tenderness, as Peter turns toward repentance and seeks forgiveness. The selections below give a sense of the depth of his grief and the extreme contrasts he now recognizes, his contrition and shame, and finally his plea for forgiveness.

I fear'd with life to die, by death to live;
I left my guide,—now left, and leaving God;
To breathe in bliss I fear'd my breath to give,
I fear'd for heavenly sign an earthly rod;
These fears I fear'd, fears feeling no mishaps.
Oh! fond, oh! faint, oh! false, oh! faulty lapse!

How can I live, that thus my life denied?
What can I hope, that lost my hope in fear?
What trust in one, that truth itself defied?
What good in him, that did his God forswear?
O sin of sins! of ills the very worst;
O matchless wretch! O caitiff most accurst!

Vain in my vaunts, I vow'd, if friends had fail'd,
Alone Christ's hardest fortunes to abide:
Giant in talk, like dwarf in trial quail'd,
Excelling none but in untruth and pride.
Such distance is between high words and deeds!
In proof, the greatest vaunter seldom speeds.

Ah! rashness, hasty rise to murdering leap,
Lavish in vowing, blind in seeing what;
Soon sowing shames that long remorse must reap,
Nursing with tears that over-sight begat;
Scout of repentance, harbinger of blame,
Treason to wisdom, mother of ill name.
Is this the harvest of his sowing toil?
Did Christ manure thy heart to breed him briers?
Or doth it need this unaccustom'd soil.
With hellish dung to fertile heaven's desires?
No, no, the marl that perjuries do yield.
May spoil a good, not fat a barren field.
A poor desire I have to mend my ill,
I should, I would, I dare not say, I will.

I dare not say I will, but wish I may;
My pride is check'd, high words the speaker spilt.
My good, O Lord ! Thy gift. Thy strength mistay,
Give what Thou bidst, and then bid what Thou wilt.
Work with me what of me thou dost request,
Then will I dare the worst and love the best.
Redeem my lapse with ransom of Thy love,
Traverse th' indictment, rigour's doom suspend;
Let frailty favour, sorrows succour move,
Be Thou Thyself, though changeling I offend.
Tender my suit, cleanse this defiled den,
Cancel my debts, sweet Jesu, say Amen!