3/27/18

Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 3/28


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This longer-than-usual daily post includes a scripture, a brief reflection, a powerful, haunting song (not to be missed!) a regular Pause for Prayer and yet another song...  I hope you'll spend a few extra minutes with this post - but of course you can also scroll right down to today's prayer.

Wednesday of Holy Week (today) is sometimes called Spy Wednesday because the day's gospel tells how Judas (the "spy") conspired to betray Christ and hand him over to the authorities for thirty pieces of silver:
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...

When it was evening, Jesus 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?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.”  Matthew 26:14

How has betrayal played out in my life?  Have I ever been betrayed?  Have I betrayed another? What wound, what scars has betrayal left in my life and in the lives of those around me?  Fr. Aidan Kavanagh used to speak of Holy Thursday and the Last Supper as "the night in which Jesus was betrayed by the worst in us all..."   That offers a good perspective on Judas' betrayal of Jesus.  It's easy to accuse Judas of betraying Christ - but not so easy to accuse myself.  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 infidelities, our betrayals... 

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us!  
Here's a very contemporary setting of the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) by Rufus Wainwright. The opening sounds drill into our hearts and the depths of our betrayals. But that's also where God's mercy meets us: right in our sinfulness, where we most need his healing love and the gift of his peace. This song might help us image Judas plotting against Jesus and help us look more honestly at our own betrayals. But the wrenching music doesn't leave us in Judas' despair or our own remorse - it moves us beyond to the consolation of the One who takes our sins away, and finally, the song resolves in great peace: dona nobis pacem...



Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: miserere nobis.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
    have mercy on us.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: miserere nobis.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
   have mercy on us.  
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi: dona nobis pacem.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
    grant us peace.

PAUSE for PRAYER...

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 forgiveness...
how I've betrayed you in thought, word and deed,
   out of loyalty to the crowd, the fad, myself...

With the light of your truth, Lord, open my heart
   and help me be honest in seeing:
how I've betrayed my family, my friends, my colleagues...
how I've betrayed those around me
   at work, at school, in my parish, in my community...
how I've betrayed the poor and hungry 
   with my greedy and wasteful ways...
how I've betrayed the truth with my lies and cheating...  
how I've betrayed my neighbor 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, in fear, out of pride,
      in selfishness and presumption,
and in my vain, self-serving efforts 
      to win the praise of others...

Help me forgive those who have betrayed me, Lord...

Forgive me my betrayals, Lord, 
   as I forgive those who have betrayed me...

Help me stand in the light of your truth, Lord, 
   acknowledging the betrayal of my sins
         and my need for your mercy and pardon...

Amen. 

And here's another setting of Agnus Dei
this one filled with mercy and peace,
by Samuel Barber and performed by King's College Choir 



 
     

     
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