Sacrament of the Sick

Sacrament of the SickToday's gospel of Jesus healing the centurion's servant reminds us about the treasure we have in the Church's Sacrament of the Sick.

Finally rescued from being viewed as an anointing for heaven, it is now seen as a prayer and anointing for healing, to be called for sooner rather than later in our battle against sickness and disease. 

This new insight bears repeating and constant example by inviting, when appropriate, family members and loved ones to be present at the Sacrament of the Sick. The spiritual peace and strength bestowed by the sacrament is a beautiful ally for physical healing if recovery is hoped for. In hospice care, a peaceful and consoling presence of God can rest on the anointed.

 


Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Blessed Feast Day Everyone!

With great respect for Pierro della Francesca I've repaired his beautiful fresco of the Proving of the Holy Cross, the portion of his fresco series in Arezzo that most closely mirrors our Holy Cross Window, now in the choir loft.

This weekend would be a great time to read a little about the origin of the feastday and the history of St. Helena's pilgrimages to the Holy Land. 

DellaFrancescaTrueCross

Photoshopped version of the Death of Adam
An Imaginary "Repaired" Version of the Death of Adam



Certain of the panels have more deterioration than others. In many of them the blue sky has flaked and disappeared, and in the Death of Adam, above, many of the greens have faded and disappeared. Looking at della Francesca's other paintings, it isn't too hard to either copy or modify the trees from his intact paintings to fill in the background of the trees in "Death of Adam." The Tree of Life is taken from a the panel of the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon. Some have argued that half of the tree was dead and half living. I'm not sure, but here's what it might look like if it were intact. Trees figure prominently in some of his other panels in this series and in his Baptism of Jesus by John, for instance. 

As we pray what kind of art to put in our reredos, it is well to consider the history of the iconography of the "Invention of the True Cross" in art.

 


Our Lady of Sorrows

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/18/Dirk_Bouts_%28follower_of%29_-_Mater_Dolorosa_-_Google_Art_Project.jpgToday is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, traditionally numbered as seven. Though paintings and statues of this aspect of Mary's life properly show her sorrowful, we can be assured that Mary was not a sad person. Throughout the sorrows she experienced, there were also joys and blessings. Her faith and trust in Her Son provided the inner peace necessary to sustain her.

Let us pray for the blessing of the inner peace which comes from faith in Jesus' Resurrection from the dead and his promise of eternal rest with Him in heaven.

 


Exile Can Be Death

 

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:St.Patrick%27s_Cathedral_NYC2.jpg
St. John Chrysostom in St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. John Chrysostom lived when the Emperors of Constantinople exercised great influence in the Eastern Church. He was exiled from Constantinople, having run afoul of the Emperor and Empress, and since his letters from exile even held great influence, banished to a further city during his second exile. He died on route to the more distant destination.

 

Our liturgical opening prayer calls him an “illustrious” preacher whose zeal for the truth of the gospel was “invincible.” As you probably know, his name means “golden mouth” for his preaching eloquence.

Social scientists are now discovering the ill effects of loneliness  on our population, including premature death. Though John’s living conditions were undoubtedly harsh, living in exile brings its own burdens.

Let us pray for God to give us the eloquence to defend His truth in this day and for the compassion to console the left-out and lonely.