Ponte Carlos (Karlův most, em tcheco), Praga (via)
"…in the night in which he was given up-or rather gave himself up for the life of the world-he took bread in his holy, pure and blameless hands; and when he had given thanks and blessed it, and hallowed it and broken it, he gave it to his holy disciples and apostles saying:
Take! Eat! This is my Body which is broken for you for the remission of sins. Amen.
And likewise after supper, he took the cup saying: Drink of it all of you! This is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins!”
Today is my favourite day of the Holy Week! Let’s all enjoy with tears and prayers the amazingly beautiful service tonight :-) Every single Orthodox Christian will be in my thoughts and prayers in the service of the Crucifixion tonight! God bless you!!!
What words can ever describe the unspeakable anguish that rent the sacred heart of Mary as she looked upon her Divine Son hanging on the cross! Every wound in Jesus’ body was also a wound in the heart of Mary: every fiber, every nerve throbbing in agony, every pang He suffered re-echoed in her heart. She endured by her compassion a share in all the anguish of His Passion. Why did Mary suffer all this? That she might be our Mother, the Mother of mankind. She who brought forth her Divine Son without a pang suffered many a piercing pang when from the cross her dying Son commended to her the sinful sons of men. It was indeed a motherhood of sorrow that she suffered for our sins: for mine. - As taken from the 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal.
The main elements of Great Lent are prayer and fasting. Prayer presupposes faith. Without prayer one is helpless, insecure, blind and alone.Tied to the earth, to matter, one is not aware that they can fly high, to shine in the heavens, to have needed heavenly assistance.They are magnetized, tied, attached to the perishable and earthly. They are not easily detached. They try to acquire treasure on earth. They constantly look for pleasure to cheer them up, instead they get pain out of it. It is sad and pathetic to look for happiness in the mud.The ascent to heaven begins with repentance, sincere repentance, devout heartache. One should feel that they weren’t formed for the dirt. The passions do not truly bring happiness. Adherence to the herein is a serious mistake and the cost has bitter consequences. To ascend higher than what one can see is not impossible. It is possible for everyone. It suffices to only want it, to love it. In the beginning we are hesitant, cowardly, afraid, we do not want to take the risk.Indeed we consider it elusive, strange, unnatural, impossible, but not for us. We think it is an unacceptable and irreverent game, that we are very sinful for something like this. Prayer is not only for the saints. But if someone prays modestly and humbly, then their heart begins to sweeten, to brighten, to be strengthened, to find rest. They feel that it is worth praying. They feel delight, rapture, security, empowerment and solace. They understand that it is a great need of the soul, a natural movement, an inner liturgy. It becomes a good habit and not a standard practice. It is a daily nourishment and gift. Just as the body wants daily nourishment for maintenance, so does our eternal soul. One cannot love God and not be connected with Him, to not converse or pray. The memory of God is a prayer. When you remember your beloved you rejoice. Divine invocation is an occasion for great joy, peace and blessing.Without prayer the soul remains without breath, strength or health. Prayer gives spiritual health, balance, discernment, enlightenment, sanctification. Prayer shields us from sin. A prayerful person chats with God and does not deal with vain things. They learn humility, meekness, simplicity and love. The prayerful person is a beloved child of God. A great gift of God to humanity is prayer. This period of Great Lent is an extraordinary opportunity to learn to truly pray.
Palm Sunday at St. John Cantius in Chicago