Monday, March 21, 2016

The Antiphons of Holy Week are a Goldmine

File:Gethsemane Carl Bloch.jpg
source:wikimedia commons

Afraid I've been a poor blogger this lent. For good reasons, such as lots of (paid) writing jobs, and a week visiting my grandchildren in sunny Texas.
But I had to check in for Holy Week. My hope is that everyone has been faithful to their daily committment to one or more of the liturgical hours.  There is no better time to read/pray/study the psalms with special attention to their messianic meanings. To think of the passion with every verse that refers to pain, betrayal, abandonment, and desolation, yet note how, even after the saddest of sad psalms, there is almost always that hint of coming resurrection. Today, for example: Hope in God I will praise him still, my savior and my God. 

But this week my focus, particularly during morning and evening prayer, will be the antiphons before each psalm and canticle. Each is one facet of a rare, gorgeous, many-facted jewel.  Each one of them is profound enough to --had you sufficient devotion and time for it--stop you in your tracks for the next hour, just pondering. Just look at these from this morning:

Jesus said: My heart is nearly broken with sorrow; stay here and keep watch with me.

Now the time has come for this world to receive its sentence; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

Jesus, the beginning and end of our faith, endured the cross, heedless of the shame, and is seated now at the right hand of the throne of God. 

As I said, there are whole worlds within each of these antiphons all by itself. But then, take the next step and see how the antiphon shines a light on the presence of Jesus in each psalm and canticle!   That first one, My heart is nearly broken...  look how it fits with Psalm 42. Listen to Jesus, today on Monday, anticipating what will happen on Friday.

Then look at how the next antiphon and the one after that works so perfectly for its respective canticle of psalm.

But even if you are too busy this week to even get all of morning and evening prayer done (e.g. you are a buy mom who must clean the house, buy stuff for Easter baskets, make sure there are decent clothes for all the kids for Sunday, buy the right food for all those special holyday recipes, etc., ect.,) then just READ THE ANTIPHONS. And maybe copy one or two of them on a sticky note, put that on your fridge or computer screen, and just stop for a millisecond each time your eye falls on it during the rest of the day.    

As always, questions or comments about your life with the Liturgy of the Hours are welcome and will be answered.