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These Last Days News - March 23, 2015
Lenten Meditations for Holy Thursday and the Washing of the Feet...
A meditation on Lent from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Dom Guťranger, O.S.B.
After having, on this day, washed the feet of His disciples, Jesus said to them: 'Know ye what I have done to you? You call Me Master and Lord: and You say well, for so I am. If then I, being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you, also, ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also.' Although the meaning of these words is that, after the example of our divine Master, we should practice works of fraternal charity towards our neighbour, yet the literal imitation of this our Saviour's act has always been observed in the Church.
At the commencement, it was almost a daily practice. St. Paul, when mentioning the qualities which should adorn the Christian widow, includes that of washing the feet of the saints, that is, of the faithful. We find this act of humble charity practised in the ages of persecution, and even later. The Acts of the saints of the first six centuries, and the homilies and writings of the holy fathers, are filled with allusions to it. Afterwards, charity grew cold, and this particular way of exercising it was confined, almost exclusively, to monasteries. Still, from time to time it was practiced elsewhere. We occasionally find kings and queens setting this example of humility. The holy king Robert of France, and, later, Saint Louis, used frequently to wash the feet of the poor. The holy queen St. Margaret of Scotland, and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, did the same. The Church, with that spirit which makes her treasure up every recommendation of her divine Lord, has introduced this act of humility into her liturgy, and it is today that she puts the great lesson before her children. In every church of any importance, the prelate, or superior, honours our Saviour's condescension, by the ceremony called the washing of the feet. The bishops throughout the world follow the example set them by the sovereign Pontiff, who performs this ceremony in the Vatican. Yea, there are still to be found kings and queens who, on this day, wash the feet of the poor, and give them abundant alms.
The twelve apostles are represented by the twelve poor who, according to the most general practice, are chosen for this ceremony. The Pope, however, washes the feet of thirteen priests of as many different countries; and this is the reason of the ceremonial requiring this number for cathedral churches. But, why thirteen? Some have interpreted it thus: that it represented the full number of the apostolic college, which is thirteen; for St. Mathias was elected in Judas's place, and our Lord Himself, after His Ascension, called St. Paul to be an apostle. Other authors, however, and among them the learned Pope Benedict XIV, assert that the reason of this number being chosen was the miracle related in the life of St. Gregory the Great. This holy Pope used, every day, to wash the feet of twelve poor men, whom he afterwards invited to his own table. One day, a thirteenth was present: it was an angel, whom God had sent, that He might thereby testify how dear to Him was the charity of His servant.
The ceremony of the washing of the feet is also called the Mandatum, from the first word of the first antiphon. After the deacon has chanted the Gospel of the Mass of Maundy Thursday, the celebrant takes off the cope, girds himself with a towel, and, kneeling down, begins to wash the feet of those who have been chosen. He kisses the right foot of each one after having washed it.
1. 1 St. John xiii. 12-15.
2 1 Tim. v. 10.
3 De Festis D. N.J. C. lib. I. cap. vi. no. 57.
Christ's Passion as seen and experienced by Veronica (March 8, 1971)...
The Passion was seen in vision by Veronica during the praying of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. Present during this phenomenon were Camille Debrowski, Ben and Mary Salomone, and Evelyn Murphy.
Veronica received the stigmata of the hands and feet at this time. A cross appeared on her right foot in the instep area, directly in line with the big toe and second toe, near the center of the instep, but over more to her left side of the instep, centered between the ankle area and toes. The nail bruise appeared on the instep of the left foot, more centered between the second and third toe from the large toe, at the center of the instep. The right foot was crossed over the left. The cross fitted perfectly in line with the nail mark on the left foot.
The Passion as related by Veronica:
"Jesus started by requesting that on the three initial beads of the Rosary we say the Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity. Then we entered into the Sorrowful Mysteries.
THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN
"During the first decade I saw Jesus on His knees, bent over in anguish, praying. He was wearing a long, burgundy-colored cape over an inner garment of beige-colored material, long and flowing. There was a great sadness in His face, great sorrow. He was talking to His Father in Heaven:
"'Father, I will drink of this cup, down to the last dreg, if it be Your will. It is not I that should seek that this cup be removed from Me. My strength is everlasting in the light, and My heart a bleeding vessel for this cup.'
"During the second Mystery, I cried out, 'No! No! Stop that!' For there was our beloved Jesus being pulled to and fro as His tormentors pulled His upper garment from His back. They tied His wrists together and drove a spike into an upright beam. Jesus' hands were bound by strips of a brown, leather-like cord. Then the central part of the cord that bound His hands was looped over the spike in the beam. Poor Jesus was pinned by His hands.
"There were five people in this cave-like room that appeared to be dug out of a hillside, a sort of hole-room in the hillside.
"I screamed and winced as two soldiers took turns hitting Jesus' bare back with a long brown, leather-like strap. On this strap were metal hooks, laid horizontally all along the strap. These nail-like, claw-like fixtures on the strap cut and scratched deeply into Jesus' flesh, causing blood to pour out. It was a despicable game with the soldiers. They laughed and joked. Jesus never said a word.
"I cried, 'Say something! Say something!' He could save Himself, but Jesus remained silent as they spat and insulted Him. His back became a mass of welts and torn flesh. Jesus was barefoot; His sandals had fallen off as they banged a stake higher into the pole and raised poor Jesus up so His toes barely touched the floor. The floor was just dirt and blood. The soldier remarked, 'Maybe they cut out His lying tongue. Ha, ha!' Our poor Jesus remained silent.
"Off to the side I saw a room. There was a large, kettle-like pot, real old looking--of rough metal, a deep reddish-brown in color, very large. Underneath was a fire burning; there was a heavy liquid bubbling. Off to the side was another, longer metal receptacle filled with water. There were two soldiers dressed in short dresses--short, knee-length skirts, with pointed metal pieces hanging down in a pattern of triangles all around the waist, front and back.
"They had a metal, vest-like covering on their chests and silver-colored metal headpieces that were shaped like a cap, but swooped up to a flowing design on the top. Three other men were almost naked, dressed in diaper-like clothing. They were holding a long piece of metal. They placed the end in the large kettle; it had a red-hot glow. Then the third man had a large, mallet-like hammer, and he beat on the hot metal. He was pounding it round and round until it looked like a spike. He would then douse it in that metal water trough. Two soldiers were talking over at the side. Later they took the five spikes. (There were five large spikes made.)
THE CROWNING WITH THORNS
"I then saw Jesus. He had been cut from the post and had fallen over. A soldier roughly pulled Him over to a wicker-like stool and plunked Jesus onto it. Poor Jesus hung forward, and a nasty soldier put a long stick in His hands to balance Him up, and yelled, 'Ha, ha! So this is the King of the Jews! Let's dress Him as fitting!'
"The soldier went outside, to return with an armful of brier bush. He used the metal tongs to make it easier to handle. He made a sort of cap and stuffed a circlet of briers into it. In that way he could handle it better and shove it on poor Jesus' head. The thorns were too hard to weave, to stay together, so the cap was thought of. It was so big, and he kept batting it down with a stick. The sadist gloated as he swung. Jesus, dearest Savior, said never a word. The pain was excruciating. Tears coursed down the cheeks of our poor Jesus, but they were of sorrow. The greatest pain was in His heart!
"Jesus' hands were tied again with the brown, leather-like material; and He was dragged to His feet. The soldier draped His top gown over His torn back. Oh, I could see it stick to His oozing blood. Oh, it was horrible!
THE CARRYING OF THE CROSS
"Then a soldier pushed Jesus out of the hole-like entrance, and down a road. There were many people, all in a spirit of carnival. Two soldiers pushed Jesus over to the side of the big crossbeam which was carried through the crowd. It looked like a heavy log--real rough, and a brownish wood. Two soldiers stood it up and another put Jesus over to it. Two soldiers started to tie His hands onto it. It was supported across His back and on the shoulders. It looked awfully heavy and awkward. The brown leather rope was taut across His elbow area. He seemed to be balancing and supporting the beam as He struggled on.
"There were three ladies and a man walking off to one side with Him. The ladies were weeping silently. The man had his arm about a lady. The man was very tall. He had a long, brown gown on, and he had a brown beard and dark brown hair. The ladies wore beige-colored gowns; but one lady had a purple, coat-like garment over hers.
"Jesus tripped and fell. He was so weak now, the beam had thrown Him off balance as He staggered. Poor Jesus fell. One nasty old man ran out of the crowd to spit and kick Him--the nasty old beast! I tried to tear off my tunic to wipe the blood out of His eyes. It was awful! He looked up at me--the soldiers wouldn't let me through. I pulled at my hair in frustration and anguish. Jesus looked at me, and I saw the love of an eternal, glorious promise. I cried, 'What could I do?' I screamed, 'Help Him! Help Him, please!' I, Veronica, was helpless to lift the cross. I could only hope to wipe His dear face.
"Soon a soldier grabbed a man out of the crowd. This man had a long gown on with stripes down the front, and he had a turban wrapped around his head with stripes in the front. He sure didn't want to carry the beam, but they knew Jesus couldn't make it to the outskirts of the town. So this man shouldered the beam while the insane crowd taunted. Jesus was pushed and pulled along. Dirt and blood were all over Him; He was a picture of bloody grime.
"I was retching; I was sick. Oh, such a horror! Such torture! How could they do this to Him? What did He do but love everyone! Beasts! Beasts! Soon the soldier ran up with the five spikes. When they reached the hill, there was a long piece of wood already on the ground. A soldier lifted the beam from the shoulders of this other man and threw it to the ground. Two other soldiers placed it on top of the long piece of wood to form a cross--long all the way down, and sort of sticking out at the top. They slammed one spike into the two beams and the cross was made.
"Two lousy soldiers threw Jesus to the ground, and they pulled His arms out to stretch across the cross beam. Oh, how it hurt, the back so torn! I could see the pain in Jesus' eyes, but He never uttered a word. He just looked sad. Then they took brown, leather-like cord and wrapped it around His wrists at the board, bound to the board. Then they lifted and tied the wrists to the board, bound and wound the leather cord around the ankles and the wood to hold Him in place.
"Then the spikes were thrown onto the ground, and one soldier got down on his knees and he placed the spike in the center of the palm of poor Jesus' hand. With that metal mallet he drove it in through the skin and out into the board. I screamed! I threw up! This was repeated on the right hand. Then Jesus looked up to the sky. They started on the legs--one large spike into both feet, His right foot over the left, at a twisted sort of angle, placed to lie flat against each other. I retched as I heard the metal against flesh and bone and wood. One spike protruded out the other side. They hammered a block of wood under His poor feet, 'to line 'em up,' they said. It was awful!
"I looked off into the crowd. Oh, there were only nine people there to stay with Jesus. I now knew His Mother, Mary Cleophas (the wife of Clopas), Mary Magdalen, and John. Oh, poor Jesus--never a word did He say as they nailed Him to the wood. Oh, such love!
"Soon two soldiers lifted the head of the wood and three the bottom, carrying Jesus on the cross, and dropped the end into a hole. It went in with a thump! Jesus winced. And it tore His hands more. Blood was trickling down His face. He couldn't move His head. The pain was awful; each movement cut deep. He sagged a bit, but pulled upward. The sagging tore more.
"Mary and Mary ran up to Him. They did not speak at first; they could talk with their eyes to each other. They didn't need words. John came over, for Jesus' bottom tunic fell down. Oh, dear, He was almost naked. I turned away, but John ran over and tied sort of knots in it, like a diaper. Oh, the humiliation to poor Jesus! Then Jesus said to John: "Behold, John, your Mother. And this, Mother, is Your son. I must go to the Father soon."
"The crowd started to move off. Jesus cried: "Abba, abba sabba la bec tori"--that is what it sounded like--a foreign sound. Sabba sabba sabba la bec tori. (I can't spell it well, just by sound.) Then He looked up. "I thirst!" (This I heard in English.)
". . . Water, yellowish water. . . . Jesus' head hung down to His right. It became dark, so dark. Everyone went away but the nine. They all came close; and Mary clung to His feet, wordless in sorrow."
Veronica finished the recitation of what she experienced to find her feet swollen and her arms sore, the feet marked and the hands stinging. Her wordless reaction was a mixture of wonder, joy, and love--joy that now she could join Jesus in His suffering and hold His hand on the road to the Kingdom.
Directives from Heaven... http://www.tldm.org/directives/directives.htm
D1 - The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass PDF Order copies...
D2 - The Holy Eucharist PDF Order copies...
D66 - The Passion of Christ (Part 1) PDF Order copies...
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D71 - Death and Judgment PDF Order copies...
D84 - Commandments PDF Order copies...
D113 - Penance and Sacrifice, Part 1 PDF Order copies...
D114 - Penance and Sacrifice, Part 2 PDF Order copies...
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