Unto Us

By Sr. Nun Other

I recently helped remove strands of Christmas lights from a forty-four foot fir tree. I had the simple job of plugging in each strand – close to one hundred of them – to test and eliminate any that were defective. The tree climbers expertly coiled ropes of light, then piled them beneath the tree. As I retrieved them, I noticed how much each circle resembled a crown of thorns. It was a fascinating physical transformation and conveyed a distinct change in emotion that I wasn’t expecting. We rightfully honor and proclaim Christ’s birth with our best attempts at majesty and beauty. But look closely. Tucked within the ancient story are reality reminders. His life was rugged, filled with conflict, rejection, and suffering.  All for us.

CrownofLightsandThorns

Back to Heaven

By Melodious Monk

“Back to Heaven”
I’ll go back to heaven again. Hand in hand with the dew That melts at a touch of the dawning day,
I’ll go back to heaven again. With the dusk, together, just we two, at a sign from a cloud after playing on the slopes
I’ll go back to heaven again. At the end of my outing to this beautiful world I’ll go back and say: It was beautiful…
By Ch’ôn Sang Pyong

I wonder what I will say when I arrive at heaven’s door — will it be words of thanks? Ch’ôn was a Korean poet who suffered greatly in his life from brutal torture as a prisoner, and from alcoholism. But Ch’ôn was said to be a very happy man despite all of his hardships. There’s a reassuring simplicity to his words and his poetry reflects a hope that grew out of him through his struggles.

This Easter season, through the power and miracle of the resurrection, God has given us a perpetual chance to live, repent, and keep living, with-in and as His creation.  As the weather warms, and the earth starts to grow again, we should take time to notice and appreciate what he has given us—for all creation is beautiful!

The Community of Jesus

 

Love Undeserved

By Sr. Nun Other

I wonder. I wonder what Jesus thought as he walked the way of the cross. Did he say to himself, “One step at a time, one foot before the other?” Did he see beyond the cross, the glory to come? Or was it sinners in need of a savior and love for the undeserving that compelled him? He unleashed from the confines of the cross immeasurable treasures: mercy, forgiveness, and triumph of life over death. Jesus reached out from suffering to suffering for the sake of love.

The Community of Jesus

Gregorian Chant: The Eternal Song

By Cantor

The Chanted Passion

Yesterday, Palm Sunday, we entered into Holy Week, in which our greatest remembrance is the Passion of Christ. One of the most ancient of all chants — the chanted Passion according to St. John — reflects this remembrance. This gospel passion has been chanted for centuries on Good Friday, first being noted in the scriptures with nothing more than symbols indicating those parts chanted  by Christ, those by other characters (such as the “turba” or crowd,  or  Pilate) and finally, a narrator.

Here is a perfect example of the ancient  tradition of  chanting scripture to “lift it up.”  God’s word was meant to be sung in order to help reflect the depth of its meaning.

There is no other chant that carries more weight — more spiritual “gravitas”  — than the chanted Passion narrative. It is perhaps one of the simplest chant recitations, yet it carries some of the greatest truths. I think that that is the real lesson inside of this particular chant: its sheer simplicity is the very thing that seems to let it bring forth the incredible beauty of the Good Friday Passion.

The Community of Jesus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image credit: chant grégorien – Music in Parc musicinparc.canalblog.com

Pieces of Lent

By Melodious Monk

This year, Jesus again walks with us on our Lenten journey.  As we go, I want to try and find new delights of God that I can gather together and take into springtime, with the hopes of understanding a few more aspects of the love of God.  Here are a few nuggets I picked up this week from French writer Leon Bloy.

Freedom is nothing but this: the respect God has for us…

If [God] desires to have us, he must seduce us, for if his Majesty does not please us, we can throw it from our presence, buffet it, scourge it, and crucify it to the applause of the vilest rabble. God will not defend himself with power, but only with his patience and his beauty….

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.  (Rev. 3:20)

Suffering! Here then is the key word! Here the solution for every human life on earth! The springboard for every superiority, the sieve for every merit, the infallible criterion for every moral beauty! People absolutely refuse to understand that suffering is needful…Suffering is necessary. It is the backbone, the very essence of moral life. Love is recognized by this sign, and when this sign is lacking, love is but a prostitution of strength or of beauty. I say that someone loves me when that someone consents to suffer through or for me…

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23)

There is but one sorrow, and that is to have lost the Garden of Delights, and there is but one hope and one desire, to recover it.

The Community of Jesus