All posts tagged: Annunciation

Meditations for Good Friday, 2016

Editorial Note: The following piece was written when the feast of the Annunciation and Good Friday fell on March 25, 2016. Since this will not happen again until 2157 (when the Internet will be replaced by telepathy) we’re publishing it this year since the themes of the essay are essential to Passiontide.  Today is Good Friday, March 25, 2016. It is also the feast of the Annunciation, the Conception of Our Lord Jesus Christ—celebrated on 25 March because that date is precisely nine months before the Feast of the Nativity on December 25. Good Friday also fell on March 25th four hundred and eight years ago, in the year 1608. Not surprisingly, John Donne wrote a poem to commemorate the paradox of the day’s liturgical significance. And thanks to my friends Kirsten Stirling and Greg Kneidel of the John Donne Society, who reminded the rest of us via email, I was not allowed to forget! Here is Donne’s poem: Vppon the Annunciation, when Good-friday fell vppon the same daye [1608] Tamely fraile body, abstaine to …

Ave Maria

This reflection recalls a prayer experience that occurred during an 8-day Ignitian silent retreat. On the fourth day, J.M. Hogue’s spiritual director asked him to contemplate the Annunciation. For one of the hour long prayers, she invited him to go to the retreat center’s labyrinth, which follows the same pattern as the one inscribed on the floor of Chartes Cathedral in France. After explaining the theological tradition of associating that labyrinth with Mary’s womb, she invited him to pray the labyrinth as if in Mary’s womb. Ave Maria! Thank you for giving the coyotes a meal that wasn’t me.   We both know they were eyeing me, a small man, appearing at least lost if not wounded or crazed as I turned about the labyrinth in the dark of the night. Surely I looked like an easy meal as I bumbled about, groping with my feet to find the brick-lined path.   Thank you for protecting me. I heard the predators howl and terror struck me. I was in the middle of their woods. I was …

The Mass for Millennials: Opening Prayer

After the angelic song of the Gloria concludes, in which heaven and earth kiss, silence descends upon the assembly. The priest says, “Let us pray,” and then a series of words follow that (if you’re me holding a toddler performing acrobatics), you rarely listen to. The priest says, “Let us pray.” This invitation to prayer is not simply an announcement that the priest is finally to begin praying. This is the opening collect prayer, that which is intended to draw together the individual prayers of the assembly into a single voice before the Father. Of course, you rarely get the sense that one is praying in the actual practice of the liturgy. The silence that is meant to follow the invitation to pray only lasts as long as it takes for the presbyter to find the words on the page. The text itself, somewhat complex in structure, is too often read by the priest like a middling actor in a school play. But the prayer is meant to be begin in silence. This is the …