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

Sunday, March 11, 2012

We Worship Thy Passion O Christ

III Sunday of Lent

In most languages (English obviously not included) there is a very well developed gender system. Every word is either male, female, or neuter. Sometimes it is counter-intuitive. For example, the Portuguese word for "feminine" is male and the word for "pope" is female. One would think that because you have to be female to be feminine and male to be pope that the reverse would be true. But "feminine" is a male word and "pope" is a female word even if logic tells you otherwise. So it is with many truths about the Catholic Faith. Good things are good even when logic tells you otherwise. Evil things are evil even when logic tells you otherwise. All actions are either good or evil in and of themselves according to what faith says regardless of what the world's logic says. Sodomy is evil even if logic tells you otherwise. Abortion is evil even when logic tells you otherwise. Contraception is evil even when logic tells you otherwise.

In the Eastern Rites we today venerate the Holy Cross. The Cross is the contradiction of contradictions. The Cross is victory even when logic tells you it's defeat. The Cross is life-giving even when logic tells you it's life-taking. The Cross is the intimacy between Christ and His Bride the Church even when logic says the contrary. On the Cross Christ the Bridegroom gives Himself to the Father to nourish His Bride with the Father's love and through the Father Christ gives His entire self to His Bride, even His Very Body, which She receives in the Eucharist. That Particle the priest puts in your mouth is the Very Body of the Divine Bridegroom even when logic tells you otherwise. Christ denies charge authority over Himself and His Church and instead offers Himself and Her up to God for Her salvation. He empties Himself and becomes obedient unto death (Phil 2:6-11).

Marriage is an imitation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Anointed Bridegroom. Bridegroom and bride each give themselves to God that He might nourish the other through the one. God gives each to the other as nourishment unto life eternal and through each gives Himself to the other, for the love in each is not their own, but God's love moving through each of them to nourish the other. They each commend themselves to God for the sake of each other and through God they give everything to each other, even their very bodies, to nourish each other unto life eternal. This union is life-giving and the bride becomes mother just as the Church is mother. This is true even when all the reason and logic in the world says the contrary. Marriage is a living icon of the Crucifixion. Bridegroom and bride sacrifice themselves and are "crowned for each other" (as the Byzantine Rite ceremony says) as Christ was crowned with thorns for the sake of the Church. They deny authority over themselves and over each other and instead offer everything to the Father, for the love in them for each other is not their own, but the Father's. It is a love that is satisfied by nothing except the salvation of the other. It is a love where the one demands to be destroyed to be used to save the other. It is the love of Christ the Bridegroom and bridegroom and bride commend themselves to God to save each other just as Christ commended Himself into the Father's hands to save His Bride.

We bow before Thy Cross, O Lord, and we glorify Thy resurrection!