Passion of Christ: February 2009 Archives

Cristo sofferente Antonello_da_Messina.jpg

Good Friday 2005: A Prayer by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered. But you will rise again. You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all.

When I chanted the Canticle from the Book of Daniel (3:3, 4, 6, 11-18) at Lauds this morning, it became, by the grace of the Holy Ghost, a prayer for the Church, a supplication for her purification and healing. This happens so often in the Divine Office. In the prayer of the Church, nothing is stale, nothing old, nothing removed from the Passion of Christ prolonged in His members until the end of time.

Blessed art thou, O Lord, the God of our fathers,
and thy name is worthy of praise, and glorious for ever:

For thou art just in all that thou hast done to us,
and all thy works are true, and thy ways right, and all thy judgments true.

For thou hast executed true judgments
in all the things that thou hast brought upon us,
and upon Jerusalem the holy city of our fathers:

for according to truth and judgment,
thou hast brought all these things upon us for our sins.

For we have sinned, and committed iniquity, departing from thee:
and we have trespassed in all things:

And we have not hearkened to thy commandments,
nor have we observed nor done as thou hadst commanded us,
that it might go well with us.

And now we cannot open our mouths:
we are become a shame and reproach to thy servants,
and to them that worship thee.

Deliver us not up for ever, we beseech thee, for thy name's sake,
and abolish not thy covenant.

And take not away thy mercy from us
for the sake of Abraham thy beloved, and Isaac thy servant, and Israel thy holy one:

For we, O Lord, are diminished more than any nation,
and are brought low in all the earth this day for our sins.

Neither is there at this time prince, or leader, or prophet,
or holocaust, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense,
or place of firstfruits before thee, that we may find thy mercy:

nevertheless in a contrite heart and humble spirit let us be accepted.
So let our sacrifice be made in thy sight this day, that it may please thee:
for there is no confusion to them that trust in thee.

And now we follow thee with all our heart,
and we fear thee, and seek thy face.

About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

Donations for Silverstream Priory