"The way we are invited to walk is not an easy one. It involves towel, basin, and water. It requires us to bend, to stoop, and to kneel. It involves cross and nails, thorns and spear. It requires us to die. It involves tomb, and grave clothes. It requires us to lay everything aside, even our own lives. But for those who follow, it is life, and peace, and joy." – Br. James Koester
On Wednesday, the Brothers pray the ancient monastic office of Tenebrae, a service that derives from the monastic services of matins and lauds. The liturgy uses darkness and the gradual extinguishing of candles, until only a single candle remains, a symbol of our Lord. The service provides an opportunity for sustained reflection on the Lord’s suffering and death.
This liturgy, parts of which you can listen to below, is a choral offering, with chanted psalms and canticles set to plainsong and chanted lessons from the Lamentations of Jeremiah (in which each verse is introduced by a letter of the Hebrew alphabet). As you listen, you might light a candle, allowing its light to inspire your meditation.
In what ways has Jesus’ coming penetrated the darkness of your own life? In what ways are you blind, or unable to see?
- "Lament" – Br. Luke Ditewig
Br. Luke Ditewig reminds us that God hears every cry and grieves with us.
- "Suffering with Jesus" – Br. Jonathan Maury
Br. Jonathan Maury suggests how Holy Week offers a sacramental and transformational means by which we experience the grace of divine love, which evil can never defeat.
- "The Identity of the Beloved Disciple" – Br. Jim Woodrum
"Who are you in this story?" Br. Jim Woodrum asks, inviting us to step into the gospel and find our own place – and responses – to the story unfolding.
- "In the Shadows" – Br. Luke Ditewig
Jesus was troubled, sad, and afraid – as we all are. This night invites us to linger in the darkness with him.
- "And It Was Night" – Br. James Koester
We only know the relief of dawn when the terrors of the night have kept us awake, so spend some time today in the darkness.