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by Sr Ann Catherine Swailes
“And they compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.”
He wasn’t one for talking, the old man.
And yet, it seemed to me his quiet sang,
As though a word, some mighty, labouring word
faltered beside him, and he shouldered it
In silence, made that burden his,
Then chanted it throughout his stumbling life.
You’d sometimes hear it of a Lord’s day, when,
Embarrassed as some men can be at prayers,
He’d throne the living bread upon his palms,
then seem to topple as beneath a weight
unbearable yet longed for, sharp as love.
I’d wonder then what jostled in his mind,
What clanging, stamping memories were there.
I know we never feared to lean on him
When we were growing up. Our friends, half-men,
Would flush, bite lips, rage, blinking at the ground
When iron fathers made up what they lacked,
And loaned them strength they had not yet acquired.
Our father bent, and stooping, soothed our pride,
Exchanging it for glory, like a God’s.
And in his last days, when the milky tears
of age would leak from eyes turned elsewhere, then
I think our father sang his truest note.
I heard it once, one evening when the sun
In dying scarred the clouds with red, the hour
Whether to us, or him, they were addressed:
Go, and do likewise. That was all he said.
NOTES BY SR.VALERY O.P FROM A COMMUNITY RETREAT given by Fr. Benedict Jonak O.P Friday Feb.26 2018
Prayer, Fr.Benedict began, is essentially something for spiritual beings: angels and ourselves. Creation as a whole praises God by being the beautiful, ordered thing it is. It praises, but it does not pray. Only spiritual beings, gifted with intellects, are able to communicate with their Maker, are invited, through the sacrifice of Jesus, God’s Son, even to be friends of God. Christian prayer is IN JESUS and we offer our prayer with Jesus.
Why did you, Lord of all,
Choose to be called, and be, a carpenter?
Why did you not,
When dwelling on the earth
which you had made
Choose more to love it with a tiller’s heart?
Or with the fisherman to cast your lot?
Surely that would have been more fitting art
For one who came to draw
With loving skill, all men into his bark?
Why did you choose
To ply your trade in wood?
Was it because, like a wise warrior,
You did desire to learn
With mind, heart, human hand
The rough grained medium of your victory?
by Sr Jadwiga Swiatecka
Apparently, the most commonly repeated phrase in the whole Bible, in both the Old and the New Testament, is “Have no fear!” or “Do not be afraid!” There are also about a dozen or so times when Jesus is said to touch those he is about to cure.