Friday, 19 April 2019

HOLY WEEK REFLECTION - Good Friday


Good Friday


ALMIGHTY God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the Cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.



What is good about today?


What can be good about a man dying a cruel death on a cross?
This is the question of course that a non-believer or a new believer might ask about the liturgical name for today’s celebration. It seems incongruous to put together crucifixion and goodness.

But that is exactly what our Christian faith does.

Now, of course, our Faith is not teaching us that crucifying someone can in some circumstances be a good thing in itself. The act of crucifying is a wicked act. Those who performed it did a wicked thing. Those who authorised the act of crucifying did an even more wicked thing. And those who persuaded the man in authority to allow this to occur did a very wicked thing. By saying Jesus’ crucifixion is actually a great good we are not condoning the wickedness that led to it and the wickedness involved in performing it.

Nevertheless today we call good! Today is good not because of what men did but because of what Christ did. That’s an important distinction to appreciate. It is a great and good day because we focus on Christ and understand it as Christ understood it.

During Holy Week there are dark and evil moments. The darkest moment was arguably on Holy Tuesday. On Holy Tuesday we remembered the final consent Judas gave to the suggestion that had come to his mind that he should betray Jesus. St John, in his gospel, tells us that the idea to betray Jesus was in fact a demonic suggestion by Satan himself.

Now as we all know we all can have wicked thoughts. Some of those wicked thoughts are generated by us – by our own inner life. Some of those wicked thoughts come from the world around us. Some of those wicked thoughts though come from fallen angels, the demons. And principle amongst them is of course Satan. So, St John tells us Satan made the suggestion in Judas’ conscious thoughts. Such a suggestion can happen to any of us, by the way. It doesn’t mean we are bad. Our Lord Himself received demonic suggestions/temptations in the desert. But Judas began his wickedness by acting upon that suggestion to betray Jesus. However, the really dark moment occurred in the gospel of Holy Tuesday when we heard that Jesus revealed who would betray him to St John, the beloved disciple, through the handing of the morsel after dipping it. In that moment Judas gave total consent to betraying Jesus to His enemies who would do away with Him. And in that moment Judas became possessed by Satan because of Judas’ total consent in the act of doing away with Jesus.

This was in fact the darkest and most evil moment because Judas was one of the Twelve Jesus had chosen.Judas had believed in Jesus. He had witnessed the miracles of Jesus. He had responded to Jesus’ call. He had followed Jesus when many had fallen away. He had been raised to the great dignity of being one of the Twelve. He knew who Jesus was!

His fall began through sin. St John tells us Judas had been stealing from the common purse. Judas, despite everything, had given into the temptation of stealing money for selfish gain. Sin builds on sin. It starts small and gets bigger unless we repent. By consenting to smaller secret sins it became harder for Judas to resist temptation to greater things. In secret Judas began slipping down a terrible slope which ended in consenting to the greatest sin, that of killing God incarnate – which resulted in Satan taking possession of Judas. St John in his gospel puts it over in three words: “it was night.” Yes, outwardly the sun had fallen below the horizon. But great darkness had occurred because of the fall of Judas one of the Twelve.

So let us return to the final outworking of Judas’ betrayal of his Lord – to the crucifixion on Good Friday. And the next thing we need to understand is that God allows evil to occur. God does not want evil to occur but permits it to occur. This is because God has given angels and men free will. He cannot just stop evil occurring because it would contradict His gift of free will. So, we come to the Redemption – the revelation of how God conquers evil, conquers sin and its consequence death without taking away free will.

God began revealing this plan all the way back at the time of the Exodus under Moses – and it is what the Jews celebrated in the Passover. Lambs were sacrificed, their blood poured out, stopped the Jews from the plague of death and they were delivered from the death of slavery in Egypt. God began revealing that His plan to save sinners was through sacrifice. Through Moses God decreed that worship of Him would always involve sacrifice. For the Jews it involved the bloody sacrifice of animals and the unbloody sacrifice of grain or bread. All of this was pointing towards Good Friday. Jesus, God made man, would become the final sacrificial victim, the Lamb of God, who would take away the sins not just of the Jews but of the world.

It is revealed to us from God after the first sin by Adam and Eve, that the consequence of sin is not just suffering and hardship but death. The locus of sin is towards death always. We see this in Judas’ fall. God’s way of deliverance from sin is through sacrifice, and He reveals, through the prophey of Isaiah, it is through God’s innocent suffering servant becoming a victim. Jesus is this innocent victim. Death is the ultimate locus of all sin, and God conquers sin by allowing the only innocent man to enter into the consequence of sin, by entering into death. Jesus willingly allows Himself to do His Father’s will by becoming the sacrificial victim, by becoming the lamb of God. Satan thinks God has made a great mistake in becoming a vulnerable and weak man. God knows that through self-emptying humility, redemption will happen. Evil does its worst and falls into its own trap! Christ allows Himself to become the victim of our sins, He pays the price of our sin, but because He is sinless and doesn’t therefore deserve death, death is overturned! Death, which is the consequence of sin, is defeated because God the Son enters it; and therefore, also the Cross becomes the means of defeating sin.

Today is Good Friday because the Cross of Jesus is not the revelation of evil, it is the revelation of divine love – and in this divine love on the cross both sin and death are defeated.

The sacrifice of Jesus in divine love on the Cross is our Redemption and the heart of all the Sacraments of the Church. The power of all the Sacraments, and the power and the authority of the Church, all come from this Cross – and most especially the Holy Mass. There is an error abroad that the Mass is mainly about the Last Supper when friends gathered together for a last meal. It is an error that Protestants unfortunately believe (I know because I was a Protestant). The Mass is everything to us Catholics because its power comes from the Cross and the sacrifice of Jesus which is the revelation of divine love. The Mass is sacrifice most of all because it brings the fruit of the Cross to us; it brings to us Christ Himself offering Himself to us. Christ the Victim offering Himself and coming to us under the outward appearance of bread and wine. This is what divine love is: total offering, total obedience, total gift.

Good Friday: Draw near with faith to the Cross

Thursday, 18 April 2019

HOLY WEEK REFLECTION - Holy Thursday

Maundy Thursday

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon Him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of His resurrection; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A New Commandment of Divine Love


The Jewish festival of Passover is approaching, and Jesus knew that His hour was coming, when His own Passover and exodus was to occur. This is the new Passover which would accomplish all that the Father had asked Him to do. The new Passover is His Passion, Death and Resurrection which we celebrate over the next three days.

The New Passover is the great act of salvation in which God’s love defeats the power of sin and ransoms those enslaved to sin. The Cross would definitively reveal divine love. When we see images of the cross, we should see that it is the revelation of divine love.

On this night when we celebrate the institution of the Most Holy Eucharist and also the Ordination of the first priests (the Apostles) who bring the Eucharist to God’s people, we do so in the context of the New Commandment that Jesus gives the disciples – gives to us all.

We might however ask, what is new about the New Commandment?

Our Lord had already agreed with teachers of the Law that all of the Law of Moses can be summarised in the Great Commandment to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love our neighbour as ourselves. This is known already. So what is ‘new’?

The New Commandment is a love on a different level altogether. The Law of Moses summarised all the Law as two commandments of human love. We are to first love God with every part of our being, and then we are to love our neighbour in the same way we love ourselves. What is new is that Jesus commands His disciples to love not just as they love themselves, they are now to love as Christ loves them. In other words, He is commanding them to love with divine love. That is what is new.

And what is divine love? The Cross of Jesus Christ is the revelation of divine love. If you want to know what the New Commandment is about you must meditate on the Cross of Jesus Christ. Tomorrow’s Good Friday liturgy is the best time to do that.

Our Lord also interprets the meaning of the Cross by His washing of the disciples’ feet. In His time feet would get very dirty on the road. So hospitality would demand the washing of feet when guests arrived and this would be done by the lowest members of the household, usually slaves. Jesus is saying in this gesture of washing that the master must do the degrading work of the slave. On the Cross, Jesus, the divine Word, must descend to the most miserable depths of human existence. It enacts what St Paul speaks of in Philippians 2: “Though He was in the form of God… taking the form of a slave… he humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death… Because of this God greatly exalted Him…” (Phil 2:6-9)

St Peter came to realise that He must yield to Jesus’s action to wash his feet which displays Christ’s saving work on the Cross. We too must yield to Christ’s action in our lives. Some people resist Christ because they do not consider themselves sinful enough to require Him to wash them (in baptism or sacrament of penance). Others have the opposite problem, they stay away because they are ashamed of their lives or secret sins. To both, Jesus speaks gently but firmly, as He did to Peter, “Come, for unless I wash you, you cannot share in my inheritance.”


Psalm 22

Deus, Deus meus

MY GOD, my God, look upon me; why hast thou forsaken me : and art so far from my health, and from the words of my complaint?
2. O my God, I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not : and in the night-season also I take no rest.
3. And thou continuest holy : O thou worship of Israel.
4. Our fathers hoped in thee : they trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them.
5. They called upon thee, and were holpen : they put their trust in thee, and were not confounded.
6. But as for me, I am a worm, and no man : a very scorn of men, and the outcast of the people.
7. All they that see me laugh me to scorn : they shoot our their lips, and shake their heads, saying,
8. He trusted in God, that he would deliver him : let him deliver him, if he will have him.
9. But thou art he that took me out of my mother's womb : thou wast my hope, when I hanged yet upon my mother's breasts.
10. I have been left unto thee ever since I was born : thou art my God, even from my mother's womb.
11. O go not from me, for trouble is hard at hand : and there is none to help me.
12. Many oxen are come about me : fat bulls of Basan close me in on every side.
13. They gape upon me with their mouths : as it were a ramping and a roaring lion.
14. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint : my heart also in the midst of my body is even like melting wax.
15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my gums : and thou shalt bring me into the dust of death.
16. For many dogs are come about me : and the council of the wicked layeth siege against me.
17. They pierced my hands and my feet; I may tell all my bones : they stand staring and looking upon me.
18. They part my garments among them : and casts lots upon my vesture.
19. But be not thou far from me, O Lord : thou art my succour, haste thee to help me.
20. Deliver my soul from the sword : my darling from the power of the dog.
21. Save me from the lion's mouth : thou hast heard me also from among the horns of the unicorns.
22. I will declare thy Name unto my brethren : in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
23. O praise the Lord, ye that fear him : magnify him, all ye of the seed of Jacob, and fear him, all ye seed of Israel.
24. For he hath not despised, nor abhorred, the low estate of the poor : he hath not hid his face from him, but when he called unto him he heard him.
25. My praise is of thee in the great congregation : my vows will I perform in the sight of them that fear him.
26. The poor shall eat and be satisfied : they that seek after the Lord shall praise him; your heart shall live for ever.
27. All the ends of the world shall remember themselves, and be turned unto the Lord : and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him.
28. For the kingdom is the Lord's : and he is the Governor among the people.
29. All such as be fat upon earth : have eaten and worshipped.
30. All they that go down into the dust shall kneel before him : and no man hath quickened his own soul.
31. My seed shall serve him : they shall be counted unto the Lord for a generation.
32. They shall come, and the heavens shall declare his righteousness : unto a people that shall be born, whom the Lord hath made.

Maundy Thursday: Mass of the Lord's Supper

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

HOLY WEEK REFLECTION: The demonic possession of Judas (Holy Tuesday)


Holy Tuesday


John 13:21-33;36-38




ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the Cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: mercifully grant that we may follow the example of his patience, and so be made partakers of his Resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.






Judas’ Betrayal and his possession by Satan


Our Lord has already hinted that He will be betrayed but now He announces it clearly while also being deeply troubled. The darkness descends as one of the Twelve enters into that darkness. But at the same time as most of them are confused and bewildered, one of His disciples begins to stand out – ‘the beloved disciple’.



So in a sense, today’s gospel brings us an extreme contrast between one of the Twelve who puts himself under the power of darkness, and another disciple who is illuminated by light through his closeness to Christ.



We are told that this beloved disciple was reclining at Jesus’ side. His position would have meant he was regarded, in the culture of that time, as co-host of the dinner, or guest of honour. The same phrase of him is also used by Jesus when He said that He was able to uniquely reveal His Father because He was “at the Father’s side”. So the beloved disciple is in a unique position to witness to the spiritual meaning or inner meaning of whom Jesus is.



At the beginning of the chapter (13) we were told that Judas had yielded to demonic suggestion (see John 13:2). So what happens now is that Satan takes possession of Judas. This demonic possession occurs when Judas actively takes this morsel. His inner consent allows Satan to enter him.



A remarkable thing occurs. Jesus tells Judas, or in fact Satan, to do what he must do. Jesus gives permission for the events of the Passion to unfold. Jesus has everything in his power and thus reveals that it is part of the Father’s plan. Of course, God does not desire people to betray or do any of the wicked things that happen to Jesus, but He does permit it because it results in the redemption of humankind – it opens the way for our salvation.



Judas is possessed by Satan, eats the morsel and leaves at once. The evangelist adds that it was night. Darkness truly has descended.



Jesus then reveals a very important theological theme: glorification.



Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him.



Glory can be defined as the sensible manifestation of the awesome presence of God. The moment of glorification will occur on the cross. The Son of God who has descended to the earth as God made man, in order to reveal the Father, will be lifted high upon the Cross for the salvation of humankind. The cross is the moment of glorification because it is the revelation of God as sacrificial love. The Father loves the Son and gives Him for the world’s salvation, and the Son in turn loves the Father and gives His own life as a perfect gift of love and obedience to the Father. Since the Cross is the place where the love between the Father and the Son is revealed, God (the Father) is glorified by the loving obedience of Jesus, and the Father will then further glorify Jesus. What will happen is that Jesus’ divinity will be revealed in the Resurrection – in His glorified humanity. And in this revelation of glorified humanity rests our hope.



The final poignant discourse between Peter and Jesus should not be lost on us. The Son offers His life willingly in loving obedience, will we offer ourselves to Him?



  

Psalm 71

In te, Domine, speravi

IN THEE, O Lord, have I put my trust, let me never be put to confusion : but rid me and deliver me in thy righteousness, incline thine ear unto me, and save me.

2. Be thou my strong hold, whereunto I may alway resort : thou hast promised to help me, for thou art my house of defence and my castle.

3. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the ungodly : out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.

4. For thou, O Lord God, art the thing that I long for : thou art my hope, even from my youth.

5. Through thee have I been holden up ever since I was born : thou art he that took me out of my mother's womb; my praise shall be always of thee.

6. I am become as it were a monster unto many : but my sure trust is in thee.

7. O let my mouth be filled with thy praise : that I may sing of thy glory and honour all the day long.

8. Cast me not away in the time of age : forsake me not when my strength faileth me.

9. For mine enemies speak against me, and they that lay wait for my soul take their counsel together, saying : God hath forsaken him; persecute him, and take him, for there is none to deliver him.

10. Go not far from me, O God : my God, haste thee to help me.

11. Let them be confounded and perish that are against my soul : let them be covered with shame and dishonour that seek to do me evil.

12. As for me, I will patiently abide alway : and will praise thee more and more.

13. My mouth shall daily speak of thy righteousness and salvation : for I know no end thereof.

14. I will go forth in the strength of the Lord God : and will make mention of thy righteousness only.

15. Thou, O God, hast taught me from my youth up until now : therefore will I tell of thy wondrous works.

16. Forsake me not, O God, in mine old age, when I am gray-headed : until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to all them that are yet for to come.

17. Thy righteousness, O God, is very high : and great things are they that thou hast done; O God, who is like unto thee?

18. O what great troubles and adversities hast thou shewed me, and yet didst thou turn and refresh me : yea, and broughtest me from the deep of the earth again.

19. Thou hast brought me to great honour : and comforted me on every side.

Tuesday of Holy Week: The Sacrifice we offer in this time of fasting

Monday, 15 April 2019

Monday of Holy Week: Self-denial and new life with Christ in God

Priests of the Ordinariate give the EWTN Holy Week Retreat addresses:








HOLY WEEK REFLECTION: Generous hearts and hardened hearts (Holy Monday)


Holy Monday


John 12:1-11




ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the Cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: mercifully grant that we may follow the example of his patience, and so be made partakers of his Resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.






Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus

Hearts that are generous and those that are hardened


The veils in our churches at this time remind us that Jesus hid himself from public view before His Passion. This is the context of this beautiful account of Jesus’ anointing by Mary the sister of Lazarus. The account occurs six days before the Passover, so occurs on the Saturday evening from our reckoning of days. The Sanhedrin and Jewish leaders are seeking out Jesus because they are threatened by the upsurge in His popularity because of the raising of Lazarus. Those who witnessed Lazarus being raised now have faith in Jesus, and we are told many others are coming to Him, to have a look for themselves. The Jewish leaders are threatened by such a popular messianic movement not least because they fear a reaction by the Roman power.

The references in this story both point forward and backward. There is reference to Christ’s death but also references back to the raising of Lazarus. Lazarus is now eating with Jesus; he is very much alive.

One of the very beautiful details of this story is the extravagant thing that Mary is doing for Jesus. The ointment is extremely costly and anticipates Nicodemus’ generous gift of spices at Jesus actual burial. The costly perfume would have sold for the equivalent of a labourer’s wages for a whole year! This extravagant gift is pointing to the complete self-gift of Christ on the Cross. The scent of the oil fills the whole house, we are told. This emphasises the generosity of the gesture. Scholars tell us that the word used here for ‘fragrance’ occurs in the Old Testament in connection with the fragrance in sacrifices offered to God (see Lev 2:2). The fragrance of the oil anticipates the sacrificial offering of Christ to His Father on the Cross.

It seems to some this kind of gesture is a waste! Judas protests the gift by Mary. On the surface Judas seems be objecting with a concern for the poor. However, the Evangelist tells us the truth. He was not concerned for the poor; in fact, he was a thief who used to steal from the common purse.

Jesus defends Mary’s gift and rejects the hollow objection by Judas. His words “You always have the poor with you…” should not be understood as a discouragement for helping the poor. However Jesus takes priority over every other concern – and there is little time left before His death.

There is great contrast here between those whose hearts are hardened and those who are open to Christ. The crowds of Jews are still open, but the chief priests’ hearts are hardened so that even the raising of Lazarus does not prompt their conversion.

The hardened heart is something we must all avoid. It partly causes us to forget. Too often we forget how God has blessed us and what He has done for us. Like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, when new adversity comes our way, our hearts often fill with fear and concern. Sadly, this simply reveals to God the little faith we have in His promise to take care of us (Matthew 6:32–33; Philippians 4:19). We need to remember not only the many times God has graciously provided for us in our time of need, but also what He has told us: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5).

Above all it is sin that hardens the heart, and especially the repeated and unrepented sin that we commit. Unconfessed sin has a cumulative desensitizing effect. It can even render us unable to distinguish sin – we no longer realise we are sinning. At the top of the sin list is pride and arrogance which most often cause the hardening of hearts.

Let as all ask the Lord (as in Ps 139) to search our hearts lest there be anything in us that has led to the hardening of our heart. Let us repent of our sins regularly and seek the Lord’s forgiveness. Let us with the words of the psalm below, renew our faith in God’s care for us especially during adversity. And let us take every opportunity to offer ourselves generously after the manner of Mary of Bethany.



  

Psalm 27

Dominus illuminatio

THE Lord is my light and my salvation ; whom then shall I fear : the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom then shall I be afraid?

2. When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh : they stumbled and fell.

3. Though an host of men were laid against me, yet shall not my heart be afraid : and though there rose up war against me, yet will I put my trust in him.

4. One thing have I desired of the Lord, which I will require : even that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the fair beauty of the Lord, and to visit his temple.

5. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his tabernacle : yea, in the secret place of his dwelling shall he hide me, and set me up upon a rock of stone.

6. And now shall he lift up mine head : above mine enemies round about me.

7. Therefore will I offer in his dwelling an oblation with great gladness : I will sing, and speak praises unto the Lord.

8. Hearken unto my voice, O Lord, when I cry unto thee : have mercy upon me, and hear me.

9. My heart hath talked of thee, Seek ye my face : Thy face, Lord, will I seek.

10. O hide not thou thy face from me : nor cast thy servant away in displeasure.

11. Thou hast been my succour : leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.

12. When my father and my mother forsake me : the Lord taketh me up.

13. Teach me the way, O Lord : and lead in the right way, because of mine enemies.

14. Deliver me not over into the will of mine adversaries : for there are false witnesses risen up against me, and such as speak wrong.

15. I should utterly have fainted : but that I believe verily to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

16. O tarry thou the Lord's leisure : be strong, and he shall comfort thine heart ; and put thou thy trust in the Lord.


Sunday, 14 April 2019

HOLY WEEK REFLECTION: Priest, sacrifice and temple (Palm Sunday)


Palm Sunday – Second Sunday in Passiontide


ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the Cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: mercifully grant that we may follow the example of his patience, and so be made partakers of his Resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.





Priest and sacrifice and temple


We have followed once again the events surrounding the Passion and Death of our Saviour Jesus Christ. But we do not do so just to remind ourselves of the story. We do so recognising that there is a deeper level to all of this. A deeper level than the politics of religion and state for example.

I want to encourage to you to deepen your understanding of the Passion – the Passion which won for us our redemption. I encourage you by pointing out 3 things about our Saviour and how at a deeper level His awful death won for us the possibility of salvation.

To help you deepen your understanding I want you to know that Jesus Christ is (1) priest, (2) sacrifice and (3) temple.

Jesus Christ alone showed forth what was necessary to achieve our redemption by being the perfect priest and the perfect sacrifice; by being in Himself God and temple.

He is the priest through whom we are reconciled. He is the sacrifice by which we are reconciled. He is the temple in which we are reconciled. And He is God to whom we are reconciled.

For it to be possible for us to have salvation we needed redemption. For redemption we need reconciliation with God through a priest who can reconcile us, with a sacrifice capable of reconciling us, in the very place where this must occur. Only in Jesus Christ Himself, true God and true Man, can priest, sacrifice and temple come together and be united with God.

The Holy Catholic Church continues to offer this very sacrifice by the priest who is in persona Christi (in the person of Christ) with the bread and wine offered that becomes Christ Body and Precious blood, in the temple, which is the Body of Christ, the Church.

The astounding and amazing truth that we celebrate in faith and charity is that the redemption He won then is brought to us today in the Sacrament of the Altar.



Psalm 22


Deus, Deus meus

MY GOD, my God, look upon me; why hast thou forsaken me : and art so far from my health, and from the words of my complaint?

2. O my God, I cry in the day-time, but thou hearest not : and in the night-season also I take no rest.

3. And thou continuest holy : O thou worship of Israel.

4. Our fathers hoped in thee : they trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them.

5. They called upon thee, and were holpen : they put their trust in thee, and were not confounded.

6. But as for me, I am a worm, and no man : a very scorn of men, and the outcast of the people.

7. All they that see me laugh me to scorn : they shoot our their lips, and shake their heads, saying,

8. He trusted in God, that he would deliver him : let him deliver him, if he will have him.

9. But thou art he that took me out of my mother's womb : thou wast my hope, when I hanged yet upon my mother's breasts.

10. I have been left unto thee ever since I was born : thou art my God, even from my mother's womb.

11. O go not from me, for trouble is hard at hand : and there is none to help me.

12. Many oxen are come about me : fat bulls of Basan close me in on every side.

13. They gape upon me with their mouths : as it were a ramping and a roaring lion.

14. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint : my heart also in the midst of my body is even like melting wax.

15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my gums : and thou shalt bring me into the dust of death.

16. For many dogs are come about me : and the council of the wicked layeth siege against me.

17. They pierced my hands and my feet; I may tell all my bones : they stand staring and looking upon me.

18. They part my garments among them : and casts lots upon my vesture.

19. But be not thou far from me, O Lord : thou art my succour, haste thee to help me.

20. Deliver my soul from the sword : my darling from the power of the dog.

21. Save me from the lion's mouth : thou hast heard me also from among the horns of the unicorns.

22. I will declare thy Name unto my brethren : in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

23. O praise the Lord, ye that fear him : magnify him, all ye of the seed of Jacob, and fear him, all ye seed of Israel.

24. For he hath not despised, nor abhorred, the low estate of the poor : he hath not hid his face from him, but when he called unto him he heard him.

25. My praise is of thee in the great congregation : my vows will I perform in the sight of them that fear him.

26. The poor shall eat and be satisfied : they that seek after the Lord shall praise him; your heart shall live for ever.

27. All the ends of the world shall remember themselves, and be turned unto the Lord : and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him.

28. For the kingdom is the Lord's : and he is the Governor among the people.

29. All such as be fat upon earth : have eaten and worshipped.

30. All they that go down into the dust shall kneel before him : and no man hath quickened his own soul.

31. My seed shall serve him : they shall be counted unto the Lord for a generation.

32. They shall come, and the heavens shall declare his righteousness : unto a people that shall be born, whom the Lord hath made.


DAY NINE (Eve of Pentecost)