O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Penitent Bride

Passion Thursday - III Class Feria
Commemoration of St. Justin, martyr - III Class
Missa Omnia Quae

Epistle: Dan. 3:25,34-45 [Prayer of the children in the furnace.]
Gospel: Lk. 7:36-50 [Jesus has his feet anointed at the house of the pharisee.]
Full Latin-English propers here.

This Passiontide, the liturgical texts have a theme of appeasing Divine Anger running through them. Sure, there are many themes, but the Passion of the Lord appeases the Divine Anger. If it wasn't for that we'd all go to Hell. We all deserve Hell. We have all sinned. If it wasn't for that fact these penitential seasons wouldn't exist. What can we offer God to make satisfaction for our sins? Today's readings give us a guide. In the Epistle, we get the root passage of one of our offertory prayers, the In Spiritu Humiliatis: In spíritu humilitátis et in ánimo contríto suscipiámur a te, Dómine: et sic fiat sacrifícium nostrum in conspéctu tuo hódie, ut pláceat tibi, Dómine Deus. (In a humble spirit and contrite heart may we be received by Thee, O Lord: and may our sacrifice be offered up in Thy presence today, that it may please Thee, O Lord God.) The sinner in the Gospel comes to the Lord with great remorse for her sins and gives the Lord all that she can: ointment, so expensive that she no doubt had to use most of her livelihood to pay for it. It is this contrition, this regret for our sins that pleases God. In doing so we offer up to God our whole being, our very selves.

Contrition is coming to the realization that sin feels good for a while, but since it isn't from God, it doesn't last and when the pleasure does run out, it leaves you destroyed. Only the joy that God gives has the ability to last. He already offered it to us, but we rejected it in favor of easy pleasure that passes just as easily. Unfortunately, few people realize this until they have destroyed themselves, their lives-and many times-the lives of those around them, through sin. Regret for sin enlightens us, we see the truth: that our only legitimate place is with God and that anything to the contrary hurts us. In this regret, we return to God and offer ourselves to Him, wanting a second chance at the life He tried to give us.

However, even if we offer up our whole selves, it still isn't enough. We are offering something that has been destroyed, degraded and used by sin. That is no gift. That is disgusting. Only the sacrifice of Christ is enough. Our Blessed Lord made it an important point to St. Faustina that the chaplet He taught her appeases Divine Anger. In the chaplet, we offer the sacrifice of Christ up to the Father to appease His justified anger. It is the sacrifice of His Son that appeases God. That is what today's Secret hits at. The priest refers to the oblation as the sacrifice God "has created for the support of our weakness...that they may be made the support of our present life, and may become a sacrament for all eternity." The Holy Sacrifice of Calvary alone has the power to make us pleasing to God again, that He might take us back, as an unfaithful wife repenting and returning to her husband. Only then can we enter Heaven. Only then can we avoid Hell.