March 24th, 1983, Serial No. 00870

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Monastic Spirituality Set 10 of 12


#ends-short; #item-set-167


It's just as well, I think, to focus all of our attention, all of our energies, upon what's happening this next week, because it's the centre of the year and it's also the centre of our faith. I know, for me, it was difficult to readjust myself to that particular centring on the Paschal Mystery, on the death and resurrection of the Lord, which Catholic devotion, or Catholic theology, has been more and more realising in the past twenty years or so, because it used to be that, first of all, we would be rather individualistic and piety often, and then also the attention would be focused very much on the cross but not so much on the resurrection. And sometimes, I know I had trouble realising, I don't know, realising it, we know that that's the centre, but it's hard for us to integrate everything else with it, I think that's the problem. We know that the cross and the resurrection is the centre, but it doesn't become the centre


in an actual way, for various reasons, either in our thinking about the faith, or perhaps sometimes also in our life, and so it's good that we focus on that. There's been this liturgical renewal and then the biblical renewal, and both of them have brought into focus, once again, the centre of the New Testament, the Paschal Mystery. Now, when we say Paschal Mystery, we say the centre of not only the New Testament but the Old Testament. In fact, it's the centre where you cross over from one to the other, and there's an axis that runs right through the centre of the Old Testament, the Old Covenant of Israel, into the New Testament and into our own lives, and it runs through this Paschal Mystery, it runs through the Passover of the Jews. I remember that it was an awakening to me to realise that Jesus did insert his Last Supper into the Passover of the Jews, it was something that Boyer has stressed so much, but until you're aware of that, something is missing in your understanding of the Eucharist, because


if he did that, he did it in order to say something, and in order to connect both his death and resurrection and the institution of the Eucharist to something that already existed, in order to give it a kind of background, and in order to express itself against that background. Let me read a couple of things from the Vatican II documents. Maybe not all of you have followed the same track that I have with respect to this, because you began at a more fortunate time, perhaps, when things were a little better centred. Because Vatican II brought about a very great re-ordering of things, a re-ordering of priorities, and a simplifying, and a returning of the attention to the site. It comes out in the first documents of Vatican II. Remember, the first one was the document on the Liturgy, it wasn't the one on the Church.


And this is in paragraph 5. The wonderful works of God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ our Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God. He achieved his task principally by the paschal mystery of his blessed passion, resurrection from the dead, and glorious ascension. So that's what paschal mystery means. Now, pasch means Passover, right? It's the pascha, is the term. It's a little different than he was. Pasach or something. Pasach, I think. And in fact, the exact etymology of it is doubtful about exactly what it meant originally, because it goes way back into those early writings in the Old Testament. And so they study, you know, at length, there were these two theses about what really it originally meant. And there's layer upon layer in many of these things. But it means the Passover, and then Jesus' death and resurrection is to be interpreted in the sense of a Passover, whatever that means. And we have to look in to see what that means. And you can only understand what it means when you look at the history of the Jews.


Then, of course, it means more than that, more than it did for the Jews. And yet, somehow, its full meaning is in continuity with the meaning that it had for the Jews, for the Jewish people, that liberation from Egypt. It's amazing how much importance that has, that first exodus experience of the Jews, being taken out of Egypt. For us, that seems like only part of the story. But for them, it was somehow the whole story. I don't want to exaggerate, but everything becomes interpreted in the sense of an exodus. And this goes right into the Gospels. I suppose I've been pointing it more and more at the same time. There's another strand, and I'll tell you what it is. Whereby dying he destroyed our death, and rising restored our life. For it was from the side of Christ, as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross, that there came forth the wondrous sacrament of the whole church. As a matter of fact, that brings in wonderfully what I wanted to tell you about. Because, do you get that idea? From the side of Christ, it seems like it's getting into mythology, doesn't it?


From the side of Christ, as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross, that there came forth the wondrous sacrament of the whole church. Do you remember in St. John, chapter 19, where Jesus is on the cross, and he dies, and the soldier comes up and pierces his side with a lance, and out comes blood and water. And John pays great attention to that. You know, he says, well, what does it say? And he was seen as true and faithful, something like that. He witnesses to this, as if that fact were of immense importance. And we don't know why, by the way. That's something that the Fathers thought about. He gives up the spirit, tratatat spiritum, and St. John deliberately leaves that giving up of the spirit ambiguous. In other words, what it means literally, is he gave up the ghost. He died, he breathed his last. But John expresses it in a way which is deliberately open and ambiguous. He gives up his spirit, and then, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it is born witness.


His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth. See, there's an emphasis on sealing up as many seals. That may, of course, refer to the whole death experience. The three witnesses, exactly. So, there's a correspondence between, see this witness that he emphasizes here, having seen the blood and the water, and having seen, presumably, Jesus breathe out his spirit. And then, the three witnesses in the letter. Now, it's not sure what those three witnesses mean in the letter, but I didn't look up all of that today, because I've gone through it a number of times, and then I tend to let it slip away from me. But in general, for instance, if you read Brown, read Raymond Brown writing about the letter of John, he'll give you all the different suggestions for that. A good one, I think, is this.


The blood is the death of the world. The spirit is the experience of the spirit. The water can be his own baptism by John, but that doesn't seem like enough. I haven't got my finger on the water yet, I don't know what that means. Besides me, it's not baptism. Because the sacrament of baptism is the water afterwards, and the blood is the sacrament of the Eucharist, and the spirit is the inner experience of the spirit. The spirit is the experience of those two sacraments. That's on the sacramental level, afterwards. But in the life of Jesus, what is the water? It's very important that he was baptized by John. His baptism and his death match up. The water and the blood match up in that sense. But it doesn't have enough significance for me right now. But I wanted to point out here,


why does this council document say that it was from the sight of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth the wondrous sacrament of the whole church? There's a whole lot of things packed into there. That comes from a prayer that's been in the tradition for a long time, a prayer for the part of Holy Saturday. Who slept and had something taken out of his side? That was Adam, right? So you're going from the Exodus experience, to the Passover as an Exodus, we're going back to Genesis. The second book of the Old Testament and the first book of the Old Testament. I was just thinking about this this morning. In the Gospel of John, you seem to find two lines. You find a line of Exodus, which is going out. And Jesus is presenting himself continually against the background of what happened in Exodus and Numbers, where the Jews go out of Egypt and they go out into the desert. And Jesus is another Moses, you see, he's leading them out there. And he says, I am the light of the world. Remember that column of light, that column of fire that led them? And the bread of life, I am the bread of life. Remember how Moses gave them the manna in the desert?


And I give you the water, the living water. And remember how the water came out of the rock when Moses hit it with a rod. So time after time after time. And then there's signs of Jesus. It seems to me that those signs are a reversal of the plagues. The plagues which were all destructive, and the signs of Jesus which were healing, life-giving signs, you see. So it's deliberately against the background of Exodus. Which part? Probably, but I never saw it in the Fathers. I would guess that someone must bring it up. I don't know the Fathers well enough. It becomes kind of evident, you know, since in certain ones it jumps out at you. For instance, the death of the firstborn. In which, actually, Jesus, the firstborn of God and the Son of Man, dies in order to give life to the human race.


Now that final sign, which is a negative sign, a destructive, terrifying sign for the Pharaoh and the Egyptians, turns into a positive sign. And his resurrection is the one great sign. And the fact that John makes the first of his signs, the turning of water into wine, rather than into blood. Blood which is impossible to drink, you know. So it was a curse to have the river water turned into blood. And wine, which is the most delicious thing to drink, delightful thing to drink. Okay, now. It's Adam sweeping in the Garden of Eden. So it takes us back to the original creation, to the original Genesis narrative, you see. We're going from Exodus to Genesis. Now the Exodus is the kind of separation, death, the ascetical, the distance, the moving out, the privation. It's really a kind of death. The Exodus is a kind of death. And the Genesis, the very word Genesis, what does it mean? It means beginning, of course.


In the beginning. Remember John begins his Gospel with those words, and he begins his first letter with those words, in the beginning. So what is it? It's a birth. So it's taking us through this death of Exodus, into the birth of Genesis. And you find yourself, in certain places in time, back in Paradox. You see, you find yourself back in that original scene where there's just the sweetness of the garden hanging over. Now where is that true? It's true at Cana, even though it comes out of a strange poverty, I don't know why. It's true somehow for me in the first chapter, where he's attracting his first disciples. There's that fascination of the Song of Songs and of the Garden of Eden. But it's true, once again, at the end, where in Chapter 20, in Chapter 20, because there are three or four appearances of Jesus, and each one of them seems in some way to take us back into the Garden of Eden, back into Genesis. You remember the appearance to Mary Magdalene,


where he seems like a gardener. Why does John make him like a gardener, when perhaps he was like a gardener, like doing song of Eden? What's his ignorance about? It's that Adam had been put into the Garden of Eden to tend it, to cultivate it, to keep it. So Adam was a gardener, and they're back in that original scene where there's one man and one woman in the Garden of Eden. And he says, Mary, it's as if at that moment, she was recreated in virginity, in freshness, as the first woman. And there is he, the first man, OK? So you're back in that original scene. Then he breathes into his disciples the Holy Spirit. Remember? It's the only gospel, only John, in which you find that. The other ones, it has to wait until Pentecost, when the apostles receive the Spirit. Now what does that mean? Remember the first creation? Well, the first creation of God, when God picked up the dust of the earth and breathed his breath into it, and made the human person. The third one is a little harder to figure out, but that's what we're going to go into. Thomas, eight days later, it seems to me, he's seen the Tree of Life. It seems to me he sees Jesus as the Tree of Life,


after having been killed, with his wounds, as it were, where the fruit is seen upon the Tree of Life. I don't know what it is, fruits like that. And Thomas reaches out his hand to the Tree of Life, and says, that's the end of the gospel, John. But you're back into the scene of Genesis, as it were, reaching out in faith for the fruit of the Tree of Life. Right back at the beginning. And in that you'll be born, in that act. So, there's an exodus which is moving through this death, moving outwards. And that's the masculine part of the gospel, it's not. The masculine part of the gospel, which is very harsh, in which there's all this diatribes we've been describing, the Pharisees and so on. It's all against the background of exodus. And Jesus, like Moses, saying, I am, and they don't believe him, challenging himself. And the Genesis thing is like the feminine. We return to the tenderness of the garden, as it were, and to that softness. And somehow the reconciliation of masculine and feminine occurs


in that movement, into the resurrection. Where the man and the woman are once again found together. And that's a birth, somehow. A birth of humanity, the way it's supposed to be. With peacemaking, somehow, between the two. As it was back in the... Okay, that's a bit of a... It's a bit of a digression, but look what's happening here. From the side of Christ, as he slept to sleep with death upon the cross, we went through the exodus scene, now we're in the Genesis scene, aren't we? We're at the creation of woman from the side of man, in the second creation encounter. That's the one where God breathed into it, into the dust of man, man, and he makes woman over all. In the other creation encounter, he makes both of them. Male and female are created. And it doesn't say about the sequence. So here's woman, which is the church being created from the side of man, which is Christ, in the sleep, not in the sleep of Adam, in the garden, in the sleep of death upon the cross. In the exodus now, the exodus of death has turned into the Genesis of a new creation, okay? And the new creation is the church, somehow,


the church which issues from Christ. But it's also the new Christ who's born out of the tomb. You see that the paschal mystery here as the turnover, as the central point, everything changes when we go back to another creation. Exodus and Genesis in one. The Passover, the passing out, and the creation being one thing. And the same thing is repeated in our own lives, you see. This going out in whomever in which we lose all that's familiar. John of the Cross is the great master of writing about that, the knight of faith, in which you just go out in the darkness and have to leave behind everything you know and go out of your house. Like the Israelites. You don't usually think of John of the Cross, I went on a dark night, I went out. You don't usually think of that in terms of the paschal mystery. By golly, that's what it is, isn't it? John of the Cross, I don't know if he makes a connection, but he loves to quote the Exodus book, and he loves to quote those desert books


of the Old Testament. So that's an Exodus, and in that Exodus we find this new thing within us, isn't it? We find, as it were, light coming out of darkness, and we find a new life issuing forth from the center that we didn't know that we had. And that center is the Garden of Eden, that center is the paradise within us. You can also call it the heart, or the center of the heart, whatever you want to call it. So all kinds of things come together. I was thinking first today of getting off our track of monastic history, of talking about the heart and the way the theme of the heart runs through the whole Bible and finds its crucial point right at this paschal mystery, the death and resurrection of Christ. If we have a little time later, we can get into that. But in order not to spend all our time on externals talking about monastic history, I want to introduce that theme pretty soon, the theme of the heart, because it's a key. If you get to studying the notion of the heart, the meaning of the heart, in the monastic tradition, and then in the Old Testament and the New Testament,


you've really got something, you've got to handle it. And it brings the death and resurrection of Christ right into our own experience, into the center of our own heart. And also through this monastic spirituality of confunction, create a clean heart and put your spirit within. The Holy Spirit and the heart go together. The Holy Spirit and the heart go together. Now when Jesus' side is pierced, it's as if it were to say that his heart is pierced, and out of his heart flows life, the Holy Spirit. Out of his heart flows the Church, the life of the Church. And it's curious that here's man giving birth, because ordinarily woman gives birth. Woman gives birth in a more natural way. Man gives birth here by being pierced in death, by being killed and his heart being opened in a violent way. Such is the exodus, the going out of himself. Now exodus takes on another meaning there, doesn't it? The exodus of going out of yourself to be another, to be in another. As he goes out of his life and death,


he also goes out of himself in death, and something is born outside of him. The feminine is, you know, the woman is about to give birth. She's bearing a child in Revelation 12. And that's the Church. And it's Mary also, who, and you can say it's wisdom, Sophia also, who gives birth to Jesus, and he gives birth to all of the followers of Jesus. So there's continuity between the Mother of God, between Mary and the whole Church, okay? They're sort of one in that place. And giving birth to Jesus first, and then giving birth to each of us, okay? So the Church is always in childbirth. But at the same time, Jesus, in his once, as it were, has given birth, in his passion and death, in his resurrection, the birth happens. That happened with him once. The man gives birth once, but the function of the woman, as it were, is to give birth all the time.


The Church. I was just thinking, because it's sort of like the veil, it's the same thing, the veil as I was talking about, and it also says that it builds in the afternoon, I think, in the desert. So I was just wondering how you tie that. Well, that is kind of far afield, I think, okay? The desert, the birth there, in the woman, is put into the context of an exodus, the reason it's put into the desert context, because that woman, who is pregnant, is in the desert. It seems like a mighty strange place for her to be. God takes her out there. So it's put into the exodus scene. So there, again, you have the kind of genesis in the middle of the exodus. Because when I think of the woman, I always think of the genesis. The woman always is always fertile, in a sense, like in Germany. She's always ready to bear life. And if she isn't bearing life, that's because something's wrong with her. She hasn't been liberated. She's still insane or something like that. Woman and water. See, there's always a well around. There's always a spring around. And it's a Christian woman, like in the Gospel of John. And the Gospel of John is the final,


it's like the final pool into which all of the waters of the scriptures seem to convert. They all run down into the Gospel of John. And it's like the last word. After the Gospel of John, there doesn't seem to be anything else, except the letter of John and the revelation of a mysterious book of the apocalypse, which just looks forward and tells you about the future in symbols we can't understand. But the Gospel of John is like the distillation of all of the wisdom of the scriptures. A very mysterious book. Is that right? The apocalypse seems to have seems to have so much of the Old Testament in it raw, almost. See, the violence. Whereas in the Gospel of John, everything is passed through, the death and resurrection of Christ, and it's all life. There isn't any more death. But the apocalypse is full of death and vengeance. That's the hardest part of it. It's not so much that the symbols are baffling,


but that they're so violent and so harsh. And the picture of God that it gives. Okay, we got kind of far afield, but I think it's worth it in a way, because what I want to talk about is this central mystery of our faith, which we enact in the liturgy during this week. The whole year revolves around it. The fact that each Sunday is a commemoration of Easter, each Sunday is a little Easter, points out the fact that this is the central liturgical year. It's not that things move from it and come back to it, but things rotate around it. And we need that sense of centeredness. Sometimes it's hard to get Christianity together, at least it used to be, because things were taught to us, taught to me, in a way in which you couldn't find the center. You knew that Christ was the center, but you couldn't somehow get the sense of balance in that way. Well, the Paschal Mystery


supplies the balance. But it's only when you see it against the background of the Old Testament that it all fits together somehow. Because there are a lot of things in the New Testament that seem isolated, until you look at them against the background of the Old Testament, then you see the connections between those things. There's a lot of things that we believe that seem isolated until we look at them in the light of this Paschal Mystery. There's some other quotes that I could read on that from Wilma Gentzel from the Constitutional Church, but I won't do that because I don't want to take too much time this morning. Notice that notion that the Church is born from Christ asleep upon the cross as it were. In a way that you could say that things are mythologized. You could say that the sting is taken out of the Paschal Mystery. How can they dare to say that he slept asleep of the cross when he was crucified? Asleep of death upon the cross. That's the way some of the things are


picked up in the heart of the Church. And even the worst things are sweetened. Everything is transformed. Everything is transformed into wine. There came forth a wondrous sacrament of the whole Church. What does that mean? In Wilma Gentzel in the beginning of Wilma Gentzel after it says that Christ is the light of the nations that comes from Isaiah, it says that he's the great sacrament. The Church in Christ is in the nature of sacrament. A sign and instrument that is of communion with God and of unity among all men. Christ is a sacrament and the Church is a sacrament. Now a sacrament is a visible sign of something invisible. Now that word sign gets kind of disappointed. Oh, it just stands for something. But it doesn't just stand for something. It does something too. It communicates what it stands for. But to look at it in a less mechanical way, as kind of a Newtonian way of talking, because it's such a thing as Newtonian theology which is all nuts and bolts


in causality, where one thing makes another thing work. It's like steam engines and levers and pulleys and stuff. Then there's another kind of theology which is what would you call it? Of participation where actually one thing is a joint reality with another thing. Whereas one thing is permeated by another thing rather than thinking of things in a material way. One thing is permeated by another thing. One thing participates in another way. That's an even-separate way of thinking of it. It's a metaphysical notion. One thing participates in the being of another thing. And this gets us, of course, into the area of ultimate truth, of the theology of the Trinity and of the Incarnation. Where actually we participate in God. It's not like God's over here and we're over here and there's a bridge that's made between God and us. That's another picture of that. That's a mechanical way of talking about it. It's not that at all. God's being and our being, somehow we're always inseparable in some way. But the participation


between them has opened up somehow. And His life flows into us in some kind of as if we had been a limb that was numb or something like that. I don't want to make it sound too much like injuries. But as if we had been a dead limb but inseparable from God. And the blood begins to flow into us. The life begins to flow into us. But it's participation in Him. And in the end, He's all there is. As far as being, as far as life is concerned. He's all there is. Now, the sacrament is the visible sign of something that's invisible. It's very important because it's in the line of the Incarnation, you see. We can't think of, as some people do, we can't think of everything just sort of fading out into spirit. Or into consciousness. As if there wasn't going to be anything in the end but just pure consciousness. But just God Himself. No. God has done something. He made something. He made something material. He wants to keep it. He wants to conserve it. He demands the resurrection. He wants to have material things


alive with it. We might think that it's just His front porch that He demands to have a material front porch in front of His spiritual house. I don't know. He wants to dwell in it. He's in love with the idea of humanity. He's in love with the idea of someone being able to be material and spiritual at the same time. And able to be God and material at the same time. There's something in that. Fascinating. The sacrament, the first sacrament is Christ. The Word Incarnate, who is God in visible form. Then comes the sacrament of the Church, which is a continuation of Christ. Which is the visible sign of God in this world. And which is Christ. Which is the foundation of Christ. And then the other sacraments. And the whole of life has a sacramental quality about it because the outside of it is visible but it's simply directing us to something that's within it. But the fact is that


when you get to that which is within, you don't throw away that which is outside. That's the characteristic thing of Christianity. Everything is conserved. It's not like an orange where you throw away the rind. The rind too is part of it. It's to be saved. It's part of the body too. And that's the resurrection. Okay, so much for those preliminary notions. I was going to talk a little bit about the notion of mystery itself but let's not do that. We can do it at another time. Mystery in the sense that we're concerned with it here, the Gospel mystery, is the event of Christ as a center and then everything that flows out from it in every direction. And things flow out from it even backwards. Even back uphill into the path. Things flow out from it. All those types. Before Abraham was, I am. Abraham rejoiced to see my date. He saw my date and he was glad. Everything hangs. Even Abraham hangs from Christ and hangs from that event from Christ.


And even the life of Abraham, the eternal life of Abraham, is caught up and suspended somehow, derives from the resurrection of Christ because there isn't yet a life. Okay, so the center, the mystery we're talking about is the Paschal mystery in which by his death and resurrection all of that happens. And the Paschal mystery is continued in the Church as we've seen. It flows out of the sight of Christ as the document puts it. Let's look at the structure of Holy Week. You have those missalettes there. Let's just run through it. For some of you this will be old stuff, perhaps. Hang on to these afterwards and you'll use them all for next week. For some of you this will be old stuff but we're going to have you do it. Now there's so much richness in the rituals and in the readings of Holy Week that we can only touch it here. But also, you know, there's a saturation point


that's not like, no matter how rich the liturgy is or how rich anything is, readings are, we can only absorb as much as we're able to absorb in a particular time. And we've got a limited capacity at any time in our life, any time of the week, really, for absorption. So, it won't do us any good to supersaturate ourselves. And often it's a matter more of giving space to what we read than reading a lot. It's not a matter so much of thinking a lot perhaps, but knowing how to make our interior quiet so that the Word can speak in us. The structure of Holy Week consists of Palm Sunday, the Holy Triduum, which is Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and then Easter Sunday. And you've got kind of a gap in there, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, which are ordinary days, but in which we just build an episode up to the final drama of the three days. The Triduum means three days,


and it means Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but actually it also includes Easter vigil, and moves into Sunday. Okay, Palm Sunday, which we'll get to in a couple of days now, is now called Passion Sunday. It used to be the Passion Sunday referred to as Sunday before Palm Sunday. And it features this commemoration of the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Remember when they greeted him with palm branches and so on? We use olive branches. We have a little procession going into the church. And then the Mass goes on as usual after that. Except that there's a reading of the Passion. Now, there are four accounts of the Passion in the Gospels. You'll find that that's about the most stable thing in the Gospels, that that's the least variable factor, I think. They all have the Passion account, and there are differences, but I don't think the differences are so great.


For instance, if you look at a lot of other things in the Synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, you won't find them. But all of the essential elements of the Passion. And that must have been the primitive core of the Gospels. Sort of the center of the Paschal account of everything to do with the life of Jesus and so on. Then, something else begins there. There's the reading of Isaiah 50. There are two Gospels, notice. You get a little Gospel read before we begin the procession, before the Mass, at the Blessing of the Palms, which commemorates the Gospel of the entry into Jerusalem. It's on page 25 and so on. You may have different pages. These are from different years, as Mr. Wright said. It's the same as for content. Then there's another Gospel later on. In the Mass, there's a reading, first of all, from Isaiah 50.


Now that's the first one that's read here, of those four servant poems, which are central for Holy Week. One is Isaiah 42, another Isaiah 49, another Isaiah 50, and the other one 52 and 53. You are familiar, I'm sure, at least a little bit with those by now. There are four very unusual pieces of Isaiah in which he seems to be talking about exactly the Passion of the Death of Jesus. This mysterious servant figure, who sometimes is taken to represent all Israel. Remember the Ethiopian in his chariot, in a care that asks Philippus, who is he writing about, himself or one of the prophets? And then, it's good to take those and to read them in continuity also. And then there's Philippians 2, 6-11 and that is


also a central reading for this week. You'll find pieces of it taken up again and again, returning in the Antichrist, for instance. Your attitude must be Christ, though he was in the form of God, he didn't deem equality with God, something to be grasped, but he emptied himself and took the form of Israel. Emptied himself. Genesis, self-contained, central word in the theology of the New Testament. He was known to be of human estate and it was thus that he humbled himself obediently, accepting human death, death on the cross and then the exaltation. It's one of those hymns, which may have existed before they were picked up in the New Testament writings, for instance. It may be that St. Paul didn't write it, but that he took a hymn which was used in the early liturgy. I'm not sure that it disputed all that. There are a number of other hymns like that in St. Paul. Then there's Psalm 21, which also has the passion theme. My God, my God, where have you been?


Jesus himself speaks those words on the cross. And then the long passion hymn. We'll have the passion accounts from all four of the Gospels read during the week. Then, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are much more simple and you continue to have those servant poems of Isaiah. Isaiah 42 on Monday, 49 on Tuesday, 50 on Wednesday. The Psalms are frequently passion Psalms. Psalm 27, I don't remember, but Psalm 68. And the Gospels are, two of them are from St. John, but it's all preparatory to the passion, the supper and the betrayal. Not the details of the supper as in John, nor the detail of the institution of the Eucharist, because that's saved for Thursday. But the supper itself


and the notion of the betrayal. So those are a little heavy, those Gospels. Then, we finally enter into the Triduum, and we have a special divine office for Thursday and Friday, which I think will be at four in the morning of this year. And it's quite impressive. In darkness, and mostly we just listen to the Psalms they wrote to us. Remember that the candles are extinguished when we go to the Tenebrae service, darkness service. Then, the major liturgy begins with that evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday. So that's the real commemoration of the Last Supper, the institution of the Eucharist, the institution of the priesthood also. You'll find that the Missalette has some introductions which are pretty useful.


They're very brief, but they're straight out of the sacramentary. But they can be pretty useful in just outlining the significance of these things. Sometimes they suggest what the priest even should talk about in the homily. So it gives you an outlining. And then the washing of the feet, which is only in John. And that's another one of those strange things in the Gospel of John. He doesn't give you the institution of the Eucharist, which is in the other three Gospels. And he does give you the washing of the feet, which isn't in any of the other three. Now, why does he do that? And then Good Friday. Now, Good Friday, as you remember, we don't have the Eucharist, what they call the liturgy of the priest


act of a communion service. There are three parts to the liturgy, which take place in the afternoon. The first is the liturgy of the word, the readings. There's the fourth servant song, the final servant song from Isaiah, reading from the Hebrews. The readings from the letter to the Hebrews, especially chapter four and chapter five, are also very critical for Holy Week. The ones about Jesus' high priesthood, and his unique sacrifice, and so on. His entering into the sanctuary. Then there's the Passion. I have the Passion according to John here. I guess that's the same every year. So, the first part is rather long, including the Passion, as I've told you. The second part is the veneration of the cross. And that will be explained how we do that. The priest comes in and he stops in three places. And we sing that verse ago. This is the one. This is the word of the cross. And each of us goes up to kiss the cross.


And then we have the communion service, which is very simple, you see. It's like just a part of the Mass with the Eucharistic liturgy cut out, except for the communion song. And dismissed. And the altars are stripped. Ours is already. We don't strip it any further because it doesn't make a real difference. Everybody thinks it's stone. Then the Easter Vigil. And this is the climax and the heart of the whole thing. This is where the Paschal Mysteries come in. And it's a long liturgy. A complex liturgy. It has these four parts. That's outlined at the beginning of the section on it. Here it's on page 98. The first part is the light service


featuring the new fire and then the candle. And remember the song, the exotet, the blessing of the candle. And that, of course, represents Christ himself risen. That column which is the candle, as it were, which is just right at the top, just represents that column of light which is Christ himself rising. And the fire is struck at the end of the darkness. And the symbolism is a nicely powerful one. If you want to read a good sort of meditation on that, read that part of Thomas Merton's The New Man and Light Out of Darkness, which was at the end of the book. The fire is struck in the middle of the darkness. And this recalls, symbolizes the fire of the new light springing out of the heart of death, okay, in the tomb. And that's Christ himself. And then the whole of the life of the Church flows out of that.


And the candle is brought into the Church and duly saluted and blessed. And then we have the Liturgy of the Word, which is the longest of the year. We have nine readings. And after each reading, we can have a period of silence and then a psalm and then a prayer. I forgot to mention that the prayers on Good Friday, we have all those intercessions for all of the different necessities, all of the things in the earth. The first reading is from Genesis. It's the creation of man in the image and likeness of God. The second reading is also from Genesis and it's Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. Now this, of course, is the first one. A new creation is being done in the resurrection of Christ. It's a moment of new creation. The second one is the sacrifice of the only


Son by which that's done. The third one is from Exodus and it is the actual passage through the Red Sea. So it's the critical moment of the Exodus event. So the death of the Son is also a passing through, a passing over. Passing through the Red Sea, passing through death into life. And there's a reading from Isaiah about the bringing back of the Bride, which is Israel, which is the Church, which is the individual soul. Isaiah 54 and Isaiah 55. All you who are thirsty come to the water. And that magnificent passage about my thoughts and your thoughts is the rain and the sun come down, the rain and the snow come down. And then there's a wisdom passage from Baruch.


I'm not going to try to explain the continuity of these. I tend to forget it myself. Then there's the one which is the meaning of which the appropriateness of which is very evident. That's Ezekiel 36. Remember that the Easter Vigil is the time of Baptism. And the reason for that is because Baptism flows directly from the death and resurrection of Christ. Remember the water and the blood flowing from the side of Christ. So the sacraments flow directly from the side of Christ. And originally, the Easter Vigil was the time when the sacraments of initiation were conferred. That means Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. Now it's used for Baptism because the Eucharist is there for everyone, for all the baptized. That too is a recovery bringing Baptism back into the Easter Vigil. So this reads, I will sprinkle clean water


upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you. That is the new creation within the image and likeness of God which is the human person. The beginning of a new life within us. Taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving your natural hearts. Actually, the New American Bible doesn't do justice to it. I'm going to take out, the Hebrew is much more forceful than the original. I'll take out of you your heart of stone and put into you a heart of flesh, a natural heart a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you. You shall be my people and I will be your blood. Then the epistle which is the final non-Gospel reading which is from Romans 6 and it's on Baptism. Baptism, Death and Resurrection. So Baptism is a planting into the Spatial Mystery and that's what St. Paul was saying. Aren't you aware that we who are baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death


so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father we too might live in a life. If we've been united with him through likeness to his death so shall we be through a like resurrection. His death was death to sin once for all. His life is life for God. So you must consider yourself dead to sin but alive for God and Christ Jesus. So the whole core the central working of it is there. And then the Gospel. And the Gospel is almost an anti-climax because we're left just with an open tomb. You can't produce the final act of this drama the risen Christ. And the Gospel doesn't even try to. It's a deliberate and obvious anti-climax. All of the resurrection appearances and everything they don't even hint at what the risen Christ is. It's deliberate. Because we're supposed to find him on another level. We're supposed to find him filling all things. So here we just find an open tomb


and there's a bit of astonishment and rejoicing and so on. The angels. Which one do we have this year? This year we'll have Luke 1983. Then just before that we have the Great Elevation. Then there's the Liturgy of Baptism. And if we don't have any baptisms so we don't do the litanies and so on. There's the blessing of the water and the sprinkling of the water and repeating of those vows. So a lot of those pages they were skipped. And there's no baptism. And finally the Liturgy of the Eucharist which once again is rather brief and which proceeds just like an ordinary Mass. And then at the end


the Alleluia is joined to the final Seleucta. And then double Alleluia is put on to the act of That's it for the Liturgy of Holy Week itself. Are there any questions about those things? Yes. I forgot to mention that. So we have an altar of repose here and a tabernacle here. And then there's adoration which is pretty brief. That lasts up until the vigil. This ain't no solemn adoration after midnight is what they say. No adoration. The people can stay up here


if you want. Okay, let me point out just a couple of those connections regarding the heart. The central connection is the account of John when the water and the blood flow from the heart of Jesus on the cross. The Old Testament passages there are over a thousand. There are a whole bunch of them related to the heart but I just want to point out the ones that enter directly into that. The one from Jeremiah about the new heart and the new spirit Jeremiah 31. The one from Ezekiel about taking out the heart of stone and putting in the heart of flesh and writing my law upon your heart and then putting my spirit within you.


The relation is between the spirit and the heart. The Holy Spirit and the heart of the human being. That's what happens in the resurrection of Christ. The Holy Spirit comes into the body of the human person into the heart of the human person and there becomes the seed of the resurrection also of the body of the human person. Even though the person has to die the seed of the resurrection is already there. You talk about a spiritual body already existing somehow within our physical body due to baptism that's the theology. And then you have passages from Saint Paul about the experience of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Romans Hope does not disappoint us because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. Galatians And because you are sons, God has sent the spirit of his son


into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father. So through God you are no longer a slave but a son and if a son, then a babe. The spirit of God comes into the heart of the human person. The notion of heart is extremely important. It's important for finding the center of Christianity but it's also for finding Christianity at the center when we put it that way. Because there's a lot of movement towards the center. You know, V. Griffith's book, Return to the Center, and then Pannikar, writing about monastic spiritual art, and saying the monk is a person who's interested in the center. You get different notions of the center. It's possible to consider the center in terms simply of a void or consider the center simply in terms of an intellectual point, center point. But for Christianity as well as for the Old Testament, the center is the heart. The center is the juncture of body, soul, and spirit. The juncture of intellect and will. The juncture of feeling, of freedom,


of reason. It's sort of like the root before the separation of the different branches of the human person. It's even where the masculine and the feminine are somehow bound together and fused so that their life is one. The physical character of the heart is very important. It's not just physical but the fact that it doesn't lose its physicality. You can actually have somebody say that there's nothing more spiritual than the body and there's nothing more physical than the spirit. You may or may not agree with that. But that's kind of a very bold statement of the central truth in Christianity. Now see how this relates to the resurrection. Because we certainly can't talk in those strong terms about our life as it is now. And the only way we can talk about that is in terms of the resurrection and the way that we participate, the degree that we participate already in the resurrection. Our bodies even begin to be enlivened by the Holy Spirit already in this life. That's what St. Paul is talking about. Now this is very important for monastic spirituality.


I didn't point out the connection. But remember Cassian's first conference where the goal of the monastic life is purely of heart. And if that's so, it's so that this life of the resurrection can be manifested in the heart. Also so that it can be in some way seen or contemplated or that there can be a consciousness of it in the heart. So we'll talk more about that later on. Yeah, it is. If you take that dictionary of biblical theology and look up the word heart and see for the for us heart means feelings ordinarily. He has a big heart. That means that maybe he doesn't think or something like that. He's a good person. His feelings are good. His good will is something like that. Crazy Valentine. But for the Jews it's the center of the person all of his life. Caring.


Caring? That's part of it. That's visual. Feeling is something. You mean our ordinary understanding of it. Yeah. So we're talking about feelings. And that's valid. When you put it that way in terms of caring that's certainly of great value. But it's not all of it. It's not enough to match the weight and depth of that term heart in the biblical tradition. Because there it's also the seat of contemplation, let us say. Saint Paul says that the God who said let light shine out of darkness has shone upon our hearts to show the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus. Somehow the light by which we contemplate Christ the light of the glory of God is seen in our hearts and so on. That may seem hard for us too. Well I hope that's the actual explanation of that term.


Well that's coming from the side of hesychasm from the side of prayer. I don't know if they always do that from the other side. See the Greek tradition is very intellectual. So they start out thinking about the noose. And it's only with a bit of reluctance maybe that they can finally accept the biblical fact of the heart. So for the hesychast tradition for instance as Father Hauser says the intellect becomes the heart or becomes seated in the heart. But the tendency of the Greeks from the beginning would be to put the center of the spiritual life in the intellect in the noose. You said before in the noose is the vision of God in the heart. You said before


that the eastern church in some ways is more of the heart. Ok, I don't remember the context before but the eastern church is, let me put it this way the modern west has grown very rational or head centered and dragged Christianity with it very often, ok? Especially during the past 4 or 5 centuries since the Council of China. And we've gotten away from the heart. And in fact there's been a split between reasoning mind and heart to such an extent that heart comes to mean just feeling, kind of a sentimental maybe sentimental pietistic kind of thing And mind comes to mean what? Reasoning mind, discursive mind. And something else, the third thing has been totally forgotten. What's that? The deep mind and the deep heart. The deep mind is the intellectus it's the noose which actually knows God


in some way. It's the contemplative intellect which is intuitive rather than the thinking, calculating mind. And the deep heart is not the heart of just superficial emotion it's the core of the human person where body and spirit are one, ok? Now both of those are in our tradition, are in our background. Orthodoxy knew that deep intellect very well, ok? Like Callas does worse, that's the key of the orthodox contemplative tradition simply that belief in the spiritual mind and the intellectus of St. Thomas. Also they have a respect for the heart but there's a continual tendency to intellectualize and perhaps to pull away from the heart. In their best tradition of prayer however, they keep the heart centered, as in Hezekiah. The biblical thing, the Jewish thing of course is all heart and no intellect. You see? So the Semitic thing is up on the other side. And Christianity is a delicate


intersection convergence of the intellectual thing with the much more concrete carnal, physical biblical tradition, ok? With that new reality of Christ exploding in the convergence. That's probably enough for this one. I might go on with that. Maybe we'll finish our little historical thing. We won't have any class next week because we don't have classes during Hollywood. And after that, we might finish that little brief historical picture and then I'll go on to the heart and go back to it and make some more connections. We've got a good... rather too complicated...