Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Praying 10 Minutes a Day: Holy Week/Wednesday


Now the feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was drawing near, and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered into Judas, the one surnamed Iscariot, who was counted among the Twelve, and he went to the chief priests and temple guards to discuss a plan for handing him over to them. They were pleased and agreed to pay him money. He accepted their offer and sought a favorable opportunity to hand him over to them in the absence of a crowd.    (Luke 22:1-6)
Wednesday of Holy Week is sometimes called Spy Wednesday because the gospel for today's Mass relates how Judas conspired to betray Christ and hand him over to the authorities for thirty pieces of silver.

Betrayal is a tragic reality. Some years ago, a person I worked with accused me of betrayal when he lost his position on a parish staff on which I also served. Whether I betrayed my colleague or not was a source of serious disagreement between us and severed our friendship. We saw the circumstances in very different ways. What I will never forget about the event was being accused of betraying a friend. That I believed in my heart that I did not betray this person offered me no solace. The reality that someone I respected would name me a betrayer, of going behind his back to do him harm, left a deep and lasting wound. The wound has healed but the scar remains.

Have you experienced betrayal?  Is there someone in your life you've betrayed? Have you been accused of betrayal? On all sides, the accusation of betrayal is, at once, a heavy burden and a deep wound.

Benedictine priest Aidan Kavanagh used to speak of the "night in which Jesus was betrayed by the worst in us all..." 


It's easy to accuse Judas of betraying Christ and not so easy to accuse ourselves.

On the night Christ was betrayed, Judas stood in for all of us who have betrayed the love of God and the love of our neighbor.

Innocent and without sin, Jesus then carried on his shoulders and suffered in his wounds the burden of our betrayal...

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us!


Today finds us exactly six weeks from Lent's beginning on Ash Wednesday and just half way through the Week we call Holy.  As I go to prayer today, I'll examine how my heart, my words and my deeds have betrayed the Lord and those around me...

With the light of your truth, Lord, open my heart
   and help me be honest in seeing how I've betrayed you...
how I've betrayed your love...
how I've taken you and your mercy for granted...
how I've presumed upon your presence and your grace...
how I've betrayed you in thought, word and deed
   out of loyalty to the crowd, the custom, the fad... 

With the light of your truth, Lord, open my heart
   and help me be honest in seeing
how I've betrayed the people around me, family and friends...
how I've betrayed others at school, at work, in my community...
how I've betrayed the poor and hungry with my greed and gluttony...
how I've betrayed the truth with my lies and cheating...  
how I've betrayed others with gossip and half-truths...

With the light of your truth, Lord, open my heart
   and help me be honest in seeing
how I've betrayed myself...
how I've been dishonest with and about the person 
   you made me to be...
how I've betrayed my given word, my promises, my vows...
how I've betrayed the best in me by choosing the cheap and tawdry...
how I've betrayed your image within me,
   the divine image in which you created me... 

With the light of your truth, Lord, open my heart
   and help me be honest in seeing how, with Judas, 
I betray you and hand you over
   for money, for prestige, out of pride, in selfishness,
and in closing my eyes to the truth of your presence
   and the promise of your love...

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on me!

Be still... and know that God is near...
Be still... and know the truth of God's love...
Be still... and open your heart to God's mercy...

Be still... and let nothing lead you to betray
  the One whose love for you knows no end...


 

     
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