The Mysteries of Holy Week and the Event of the Pasch of Christ

Meditating with Blessed Guerric of Igny

Spy Wednesday

Readings:

Isaiah 50:4-9

Matthew 26:14-25

Guerric of Igny: O detestable pride of man who scorns to serve, pride that could not be reduced to humility by any other example than the servitude, and such servitude, of its Lord.  And would that it could be so humbled, that even now it would feel and show gratitude for such great humility and goodness.  And what toil?  Even to exhaustion, hunger and thirst.  Yes, even to sweat of blood which ran down to the earth; yes, even to death, death on a cross.  Not to repeat everything now, I was struck in the face, covered with spittle, crowned with thorns, pierced with nails, transfixed by the lance, given vinegar and gall to drink.  This winepress I have trodden alone and from the peoples there was not a man with me.  You then, who stand idle the whole day, attend and see if there is any toil like my toil.

Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord’s Supper

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

John 13:1-15

Guerric of Igny: When the time was come for him to leave them, our Lord seemed to be overcome by his tender love for his children so that he was no longer able to dissimilate the wealth of affection he had hidden til then.

That is why the Apostle writes: “Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”  On that day he poured out on his friends almost the full power of his love before he himself was poured out like water for those same friends.  He handed over to them the sacrament of his body and blood; instituted it for them to celebrate in their turn.  Was it his marvellous poweror his more marvellous love that enabled him to find this new way of remaining with them as consolation for his departure?  Although he was to deprive them of his bodily presence, he would nevertheless remain with them; even more, he would remain in them, by virtue of this sacrament.  It was then as if completely forgetful of his majesty and as it were doing injury to his own honour, unless it be the glory of charity that one abases oneself before one’s friends, with unutterable grace and dignity the Lord, and such a Lord, washed the feet of his servants, leaving them in that one action an example of humility and a sacrament of forgiveness.

Good Friday Solemn Celebration of the Passion

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9

John 18:1-19:42

Guerric of Igny: Blessed is he who, in order that I might be able to build a nest in the clefts of the rock (cf Song of Songs 2:14), allowed his hands, feet and side to be pierced and opened himself to me wholly that I might enter “the place of his wonderful tent” and be protected in its recesses.  These clefts, so many open wounds all over his body, offer pardon to the guilty and bestow grace on the just.  Indeed, it is a safe dwelling –place, my brethren, and a tower of strength in the face of the enemy, to linger in the wounds of Chrisdt, the Lord, by devout and constant meditation.  By faith in the Crucified and love of him a man keeps his soul safe from the heat of the flesh, from the turmoil of the world, from the attacks of the devil.  The protection this tent affords surpasses all the world’s glory.  It is a shade from the heat by day, a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain, so that by day the sun shall not scorch you with prosperity, nor the storm move you with adversity.

Go into the rock, then; hide in the dug ground.  Make the Crucified your hiding place.  He is the rock, he is the ground, he who is God and man.  He is the cleft rock, the dug ground.  Hide in the dug ground from the fear of the Lord, that is, from him fly to him, from the judge to the Redeemer, from the tribunal to the Cross, from the Just One to the Merciful, from him who will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth to him who inebriates the earth with the drops of his blood, from him who kills the godless with the breath of his lips to him who with the blood of his wounds gives life to the dead.  

In his loving kindness and compassion he opened his side in order that the blood of the wound might give you life, the warmth of his body revive you, the breath of his heart flow into you as if through a free and open passage.  There you will overflow with joys, at least when your mortality and that of all the members of his body have been swallowed up by the life of the Head.

Holy Saturday The Great Vigil

Guerric of Igny: Thanks be to God who has given us the victory both over sin and over death, through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Wholly innocent of sin and therefore free from the debt of death, he yet paid it, dying of his own will on our behalf; and rising he has set us free from sin.  For as St Paul says, “Christ died for our sins and rose for our justification.”  By dying he underwent the punishment due to our sins, and by rising he established for us the form and the cause of everlasting justification.  So the Christian rising together with Christ, should no longer commit deadly sin nor should sin have any further dominion over him.

Be grateful for God’s grace; and as you have been transformed into a new creation by Easter’s healing action, so walk always in newness of life.  You ave been given a share in Christ through the fellowship of faith,  by participation in his sacrament, by communion in the Holy Spirit.  Strive not only to keep the principle by which you are grounded in him unshaken to the end but also constantly to increase it.  Thus may you who have begun to share in the first resurrection through the privilege of so many gifts, trusting in so great a pledge, on the day when you present it for recognition, make good your eternal right to the second resurrection.  May our Lord Jesus Christ grant you this, he who is our resurrection and our life, who on our account was dead for three days but now lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen.

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