Praying 10 minutes today: SPY WEDNESDAY


Today's installment of  Praying 10 minutes is a little different than other days.  * The scripture is a longer passage and not just a verse.  * It picks up the theme of betrayal from yesterday's Midday Prayer.  * Before the guided reflection, you'll find some commentary on betrayal to help us locate the experience in our own lives.  * After the guided reflection, you'll find a widget with a recording of a very powerful arrangement of the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei)* I offer all this by way of helping us enter the solemnity of the days ahead through a sober examination of conscience...

A word to reflect on:   
One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The teacher says, "My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.'” The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.” Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”      
- Matthew 26

(Before moving on to the reflection below,
   spend some quiet time with the scripture above...)

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.  What I'll never forget about the event was being accused of betraying a friend. That I believed in my heart that I hadn't betrayed my colleague 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? The accusation of betrayal can be both 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..."   That offers us all a good perspective on Judas' betrayal of Jesus.  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 God's love and our neighbor's love.

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...

In the quiet of my prayer, Lord,
   help me stand honestly before you,
      acknowledging my sins and my need for your mercy...

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

To ponder and pray over...
How have I betrayed the Lord and others?  
How do I stand in need of God's mercy and forgiveness.  
How did the music speak to my heart?  
How might this reflection helped me prepare     
   for the days of mercy ahead in this week we call holy? 
What will I ask of the Lord today?  
From this prayer time, what word or phrase will I keep with me        
   to carry through the rest of my day?  
(After you spend some time with these questions,
   pray the reflection above one more time...)

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  1. Thank you for the powerful meditation. Please give us the correct link to the song Agnus Dei by Rufus

  2. There is no link in the post but there is an audio widget. It's possible that you won't be able to access that widget on a phone or other mobile device but you should be able to access it on your computer. Please let me know if you have further problems.

  3. Thank you for pointing this out.
    Yes, I was reading your post from my iPad - I couldn't see the widget. I was able to listen to the music from my laptop.

    God bless.


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and PRAY before you think!