“We can look around and see plentiful sorrow, and we may be unable to fix it. We may find no words, no actions, are sufficient to dress the wounds of the world. So, take heart; do not shun your tears. Do not be ashamed or afraid or dismissive of weeping, for tears can be living water.” – Br. Lucas Hall

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? 

Audio:

Chanted Lessons from the Lamentations of Jeremiah

Sermons:

“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.

Video:


Paradox (3:11)
Br. Jonathan Maury
Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 1.55.24 PM
 On Tenebrae (4:09)
Br. David Vryhof

“Light of the World” (40:37) Br. David V.

“Most of us have likely found ourselves acting and thinking in ways which are opposite to what we would identify to be “good.” None of us is free of the influence of evil. But our celebration of Jesus’ suffering, death and glorification in this Holy Week provides a sacramental and transformational means to the grace of divine love, which evil can never defeat.” – Br. Jonathan Maury

On Tuesday in Holy Week at the Monastery, we celebrate the Eucharist in the evening. This evening gathering around the Lord’s Table invites us to join the disciples at the Upper Room, sharing a meal with the Lord.

We reflect together on the words of used at the presentation of the Bread and Cup here at the Monastery, which derive from St. Augustine’s Sermon 57, On the Holy Eucharist: Behold what you are.  May we become what we receive.  

These words point to one of the deep truths of Christian faith: Through our participation in the sacraments (particularly baptism and Eucharist), we are transformed into the Body of Christ, given for the world.

How is God transforming you into Christ’s Body and giving you to the world?

Audio:

Psalm 78:14-20, 23-25

Sermons:

“The Journey from Darkness to Light” – Br. Jim Woodrum
Br. Jim Woodrum encourages us to step from the shadows, and follow Jesus into the light of new life and resurrection.

“The Hour Has Come” – Br. Keith Nelson
Br. Keith Nelson invites us to the experience of Holy Week as a time of vulnerability, allowing ourselves to experience the paradoxical binaries at the heart of the Gospel and our own lives.

“God’s Strength in Our Weakness” – Br. David Vryhof
Br. David Vryhof looks to the cross of Christ to discover how God’s strength is made perfect through our weakness.

“The Legacy of Judas” – Br. Curtis Almquist
Judas’ presence at the table of our Lord is an invitation to us all: to mercy.

“Now, Now, Now” – Br. James Koester
Pay attention: Now is the time when Jesus shall draw all people to himself.

“Even Jesus in his humanity experienced great anxiety and discomfort at the knowledge of what he would have to undertake in order to fulfill the will of his Father. Perhaps we can take some comfort in that. Jesus is aware that the pathway of healing leading to wholeness is often very difficult and painful before we find relief.” – Br. Jim Woodrum

Monday in Holy Week offers a pause, a chance to recollect from the drama of yesterday before plunging into the sacred events to come.

What are the lessons Holy Week has to offer you this year?

Since Holy Scripture is the living word of God, as we encounter again the events of the final week of Jesus’ life, look for those passages, those haunting details of the story that seem to rise up from the page to snare your attention, things you had not noticed before. Ponder what special meaning these passages might hold for you this year? Why is God bringing them to your attention at this time? What might God be saying to you? Take time to meditate on these questions. Be especially alert to listen because God will be speaking to us through the liturgies, through scripture, homilies and also in other unexpected ways this week.

Audio:

Psalm 22

Sermons:

Praying Your Way Through Holy Week: A Meditation – Br. Eldridge Pendleton
God who loves us so much and continually delights in our creation, is continually offering us grace in the form of answered prayers, healing, reconciliation, hope and deeper faith, and in the Paschal mystery has given us the means to triumph over death. Two practices to deepen your awareness of this love during Holy Week.

Video:

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 2.25.00 PM

Compassion – Br. David Vryhof

It is the supreme mystery of our Christian faith we are about to witness this week. Make no mistake about it. The events of Holy Week and Easter are not merely annual reenactments of the tragic events of the life of an important historical personage. This is spiritual mystery on its deepest and most cosmic scale.   – Br. Eldridge Pendleton, SSJE (1940-2015)

On Palm Sunday, we begin the journey to Calvary that we will live out across the next week. We are invited to join the crowd in shouting "Hosanna" and "Crucify." And we are invited to accompany our Lord in the dramatic events of his final days.

How will you journey alongside Jesus this week? 

Audio:

The Passion According to Luke

The Passion According to Matthew

Sermons:

"Lovely Be" – Br. Luke Ditewig
On Palm Sunday, Br. Luke Ditewig sings a song of love unknown, our Savior’s love—to you, to me.

"Exceeding Expectations" – Br. Jim Woodrum
The story of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem invites us to investigate our own expectations as a way of drawing into a deeper understanding of God.

"Why?" – Br. David Vyrhof
Why must God’s Servant enter into the darkest rhythms of the human condition? Perhaps it’s the only way they can be challenged and undone, once and for all.

"Singing Hosanna, Screaming Crucify" – Br. James Koester
Palm Sunday is a chance to discover once more all that is within us, both light and dark, both good and evil.

"Steal Away" – Br. Tom Shaw
Letting the power of Jesus' humility, self-sacrifice, and surrender soak into us during Holy Week gives us the power to stand on the edge of glory every day.

"The Weight of the Cross" – Br. Geoffrey Tristram
On Palm Sunday, we embrace both the weight of the cross and the wealth of its love.

Video:

Photo Gallery:

Rejoice now, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels,
and let your trumpets shout Salvation
for the victory of our mighty King.

Rejoice and sing now, all the round earth,
bright with a glorious splendor,
for darkness has been vanquished by our eternal King.  Read More

David Vryhof SSJE 2010

Alleluia!  Christ is Risen!

CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!  ALLELUIA!!

The psalmist says that “weeping may spend the night, but joy comes in the morning!” (Ps. 30:5)  And there is no more joyous morning for Christian people than this morning, the morning of Resurrection!

Through Lent and Holy Week, we have symbolically passed through a “night of weeping” in which we followed Jesus on the Way of suffering and death so that we might share with him the joy that comes on this morning!   We are disciples of this Way that he both lived and taught – the way of dying and rising.   We have identified ourselves with him, and with this Way – and we have found it to be the Way that leads to Life! Read More

7074228989_9f71e5257f_zClick on the links below to listen to musical selections from the Easter Vigil at the Monastery:

The Exsultet
Psalm 33:1-11
Psalm 46
Psalm 33:12-22
The Song of Moses
Psalm 122
The First Song of Isaiah
Psalm 42:1-7
Psalm 30
Psalm 98
The Litany
Jesus Christ is Risen Today

 

Click here to view a gallery of images from the Great Vigil of Easter 2012. Read More

7074229943_3f722071a5_zLuke 24:1-12

It’s Easter!

Today is the glorious culmination of these days of Holy Week.  Today, our Lord Jesus Christ has been raised gloriously from the dead.  Alleluia!

It was still very early in the morning, Luke tells us, with just the first streaks of dawn, when Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and the other women, came to the tomb in order to carry out the last offices of love for their beloved Jesus, and to embalm his body with their spices.

But, to their amazement, when they got to the tomb, they found that the stone had been rolled away.  They looked inside and the body was gone. Read More


7056792311_3765a149bc_zClick on the links below to hear musical selections from the Good Friday liturgy.

Psalm 40:1-14
Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended
Three Plainsong Anthems (We glory in your cross; We adore you, O Christ; O Savior of the world)
Four American Hymns (Jesus keep me near the cross; When Jesus came to Golgotha; When Jesus wept; Cross of Jesus, cross of sorrow)
Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle
And now, O Father, mindful of the love
Were you there?

Read More

6910690172_c6ddacd2cd_zClick on the player above to hear the recording.
The Passion Gospel is sung by:

Br. Jim Woodrum (Narrator)
Andrew Sinnes, SSJE Intern (Jesus)
Noah Van Niel (Pontius Pilate, the crowd, and other voices)

After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. Read More