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Palm Sunday 
Divine Liturgy 11 A.M.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Pre-sanctified Liturgy  4 P.M.

Holy Thursday

Vespers with Divine Liturgy  4 P.M.

Great and Holy Friday
Strasti/Annunciation Matins  4  A.M.
Vespers with Divine Liturgy   3:30 P.M.

Holy Saturday

Jerusalem Matins  5 A.M. 
Divine Liturgy with Vespers  4 P.M.

Dear Friend,

The above is the schedule of our Holy Week Services, and is sent that you may unite with us in worship and gratitude  for the tremendous gift of our Redemption through the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We will remember you.

This year we have, as happens every so often,  Good Friday on March 25th, the feast of the Holy Annunciation. The Eastern Church never transfers Holy Annunciation and so we have services for both. It promises to be a day spent in Church! No better place to be. Both feasts are distinct and each has a unique spirit.  At the Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel was sent with the "Good News" but also a request. Would the Virgin Mary consent to be Theotokos (Mother of God), to  provide  God with a human body, her Son born in Bethlehem and now on Good Friday, being crucified.  We take a prayer from the Office of the Hours which combines this double aspect  of her life, as observed this year in Holy Annunciation/Good Friday...

"O Mother of God, you are the true vine laden with the fruit of life. We implore you, O Lady, to intercede for us and  obtain mercy for our souls."

In His Passion Jesus poured forth His Blood, the Wine of Salvation. At the Last Supper, in the Institution of the Blessed Sacrament Jesus said:   "Take this chalice and drink. This is My Blood poured forth for you unto the remission of sins. Do this in remembrance of Me."


Resurrection Matins   5 A.M.
Divine Liturgy    11 A.M.
Vespers  4:20  P.M.

Our Lectio Divina during Great Lent was with  St Bernard's Sermo 3 in his Song of Songs Commentary. The Only-begotten Word of God united to the Sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ is the Kiss to which the opening verse of Chapter 1 alludes. Immersed in the culture of the body, we must frequently  re-set our spiritual compass lest we impair  our focus on what Bernard is all about: union with God.

In Section 1 Bernard addresses conversion from ingrained sinfulness and proposes the Publican as a model of the right attitude,  tying in neatly with our  pre-lent Byzantine Liturgical  calendar's  Sunday of the Publican & Pharisee.   Bernard provides (as if himself) a bare-boned, raw  description of one needing conversion: "a soul  burdened with sins , still subject to carnal passions, almost totally unacquainted as it is with the joys of the supernatural life"
.  (Later, in the same Sermo, Bernard  admits his own early mystical experience). He would be "all things to all men, a sinner with sinners"; then more easily  we would walk with him to conversion. He continues:"I should like to point out to persons like this that there is an appropriate place for them on the way of salvation!". What is that blessed place?
To kiss the Sacred Feet of Jesus with tears and contrition,

Here it seems the road is forked. Bernard says: "I am black but beautiful" quoting  the Biblical Song of Songs, Ch 1: 6. Repentance has rendered the Ethiopian, formerly a dense, dark soul, full of radiant light - because She wept bitterly (Luke 22:13). But Luke is  describing  Peter after his triple denial. She (the Ethiopian) wept bitterly as did Peter. Bernard does not include  the sinful woman of Magdala (Mary Magdalene) who also wept. Bernard begins Sermo 3 with an invitation to examine our own experience, allowing Mary Magdalen's inclusion, whose sins were forgiven because she loved much. The Ethiopian, Peter and Mary Magdalene all weep. Their whole cause for tears is Jesus whom each loves. Their eyes are on him. They have really entered into conversion because their vision is fixed on him - not on themselves! How explain the importance of this next tiny step? But it's truly an EITHER-OR…

Searching for (because needing) "extenuating circumstances" to explain or lessen personal responsibility for our current sinful reality
, i.e. who or why we are whatever; mulling over  early nurturing; family mistakes; poverty etc proves that  our eyes are on ourselves, and we want to salvage - not repent. There can be no real weeping, no real sorrow. Perhaps we are sad, but a sadness over ourselves.  Here it must end. The grace that is needed is to see ONLY Jesus . His providence arranged every detail of my life, which He knows. He knew my life before I lived it.  What Jesus wants to hear is my sorrow about my part in living my life - and realizing what I cost Him in His Passion. Certainly there are areas of my past that fill me with gratitude, and areas where I must forgive. To kneel and kiss His Feet in sorrow surely means there is "something" between Him and me. This is where Bernard is pointing. What Jesus wants to hear is my sorrow about my part in living my life. This is done best at His Sacred Feet conscious of Him alone- of His eyes and love. Bernard says: "Your face I seek."

What I need is other like-minded individuals - and Bernard steps forward to be that guiding friend . They will be found in all who love and enlist as the monastic family of Bernard. A faith community is crucial to on-going conversion, where I will be given the graces from the Hand of Jesus. Social correctness is totally other than conversion, but conversion should make us humble and gentle, obedient- like Jesus and Mary, and as Peter and Mary Magdalen became  in the community of Jesus' followers.