Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"God's Justice and Judas"

I have been going nuts trying to think of something appropriately Holy Week-ish to post.  Finally I gave up trying to come up with something original, and headed over to Tradition in Action, which is often quite helpful in the way of providing articles for me to steal - er, borrow, pictures and all - and shamelessly repost.  (You all seem to be rather against clicking links, so I don't really have a choice, do I? Right???)

Today, as you may or may not know, is Spy Wednesday, named for Judas' "spying" on Our Lord, apparently.  I'm not really sure how that works, since Jesus treated him as if nothing was doesn't really seem like he'd need to spy.  But whatever.  That's what it's called. I'm probably missing a vital piece of information or something...I'm not feeling very intelligent today.
Anyway, I thought this was a very interesting and enlightening article.  Hopefully you will too.

God's Justice and Judas
Never did the love of God express itself in a more pungent and tender way than when Our Lord spoke to Judas in the Garden of Olives. The guards did not know how to distinguish Our Lord from St. James the Greater who was very similar to Christ. So, they needed someone to unmistakably point Him out so they could take Him prisoner. Judas agreed with the Pharisees to deliver Our Lord for the price of 30 silver coins. The arranged sign of recognition was a kiss.

The kiss of Judas by Giotto
"With a kiss you betray the Son of Man?"
When Judas approached Our Lord to kiss Him, Christ said to him: “Judas, with a kiss you betray the Son of Man?” He allowed Judas to kiss Him. He could have easily prevented that scene. The power to stop it was not lacking to Him.

Indeed, a few moments later, when the guard asked Him: “Are you Jesus of Nazareth?” He answered: “I am.” After He spoke those words, all the guards fell with their faces to the ground because they could not bear the majesty of His Person. He could have averred Judas from his purpose with a simple gaze. But He did not.

He said: “Judas, with a kiss?” Each word was simultaneously an act of love and of wrath. “Judas, with a kiss?” That is to say, “Judas, you chose the symbol of friendship and love to come to betray Me.” “You who bring your face close to Mine, do you not remember all the graces I gave you? You whom I consecrated Bishop some hours ago…?” In that act, Our Lord reminded Judas of all the good he once had. It was, therefore, a supreme act of love.

But Our Lord added these words: “Do you betray the Son of Man?” Christ also brought to his attention the enormity of his ignominy. In fact, nothing could be more infamous than that treason, precisely because of its injustice. One friend owes friendship to another. Instead, Judas had hatred for Him. Further, Judas simulated the appearance of friendship to make the worst possible action. In that action, evil was multiplied by evil, making his act of betrayal particularly repulsive.

Ego sum, by Fra Angelico
The soldiers fall powerless at the words of Our Lord
It was not a simple treason: Judas was delivering God Incarnate to death… Further, Our Lord knew that Judas was planning such a betrayal and, in the name of mercy, did not send him away, but remained silent. To the crime of delivering Jesus Christ to Deicide, the traitor added the abuse of His mercy and silence.

I believe that in all of History nothing was more terrible than that recrimination. He was offering Judas the grace of repentance. If Judas would have repented, who knows what would have happened? He could have had a most edifying life and death. But he rejected that last sublime invitation. From that moment on, the hatred of God fell directly upon him.

The justice of God acted in such a way that Judas’ name became synonymous with the ultimate degree of infamy. When someone wants to throw the vilest possible epithet at a person, he calls him a Judas. This is how the action and very person of Judas became execrable to all.

Describing Hell in his famous work Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri places Judas at the lowest level, in the very mouth of Satan, being eternally gnawed by him. It is an unspeakable torment: No one even sees his face but only the despairing movements of his legs that protrude from Satan’s mouth.

We know how Judas ended. After the betrayal, he went back to the Pharisees to return the 30 coins, but no one wanted that cursed money. He left the Sanhedrim and wandered in torment for a while through the city. Finally, he found a rope and hung himself on a fig tree. He judged himself, knowing that he would go to Hell, the place he wanted to be. It was a choice made for all eternity.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Favorite Poetry: Batter My Heart

While doing English 12 work today I learned about John Donne, about whom I had previously known very little.  I was struck with the selections of his poetry in my textbook, though, and I think I shall look for more.
This particular poem I especially liked for its intensity, almost violence.  I also love the marriage/love imagery - as a "wannabe nun," I'm always a sucker for lovers' terminology applied to the spiritual!

I could almost use this poem as a prayer.  Is that "allowed," do you think?

via Google Images

Batter My Heart
By John Donne
Batter my heart, three-personed God; for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend.
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived and proves weak or untrue.

Yet dearly I love you and would be loved fain,
But am betrothed unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again, 
Take me to you, imprision me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Isn't it striking?  *sighs in poetical bliss*
Incidentally, do any of you know anything about Donne?  Have any favorites you could recommend to me? Do tell!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Of Convents and Clouds

I believe I owe my faithful readers (no posts in over a week, yet I just broke 8000 pageviews!) a bit of an update.  You see, I just haven't been able to come up with quality posts lately.  I'm not sure why.  Sometimes as I'm falling asleep I mentally write The Post of the Year, but by the time morning comes the idea has either been forgotten or has lost its luster.  Why is night such an exaggerated time?  People are always more emotional, more ambitious, and even more open at night.  I'm sure there's a reason for that, and I should very much like to know what it is.

(slightly creepy super-edited photo by me)
 So what have I been doing with my time lately?  Reading good books and indifferent ones, redoing algebra tests over and over till I have the problems memorized, trying (and mostly failing) to keep Lent properly, writing book analyses and doing tests on medieval and Elizabethan literature.  Also stalking people's tumblrs and crying over documentaries on The Lord of the Rings, but I rather prefer to ignore those bits.  Most importantly, I've been preparing for a Very Significant Visit to a certain convent.  Early tomorrow morning - so early that the stars would probably be out, if it weren't for the fact that it'll be cloudy - I shall be dropped off at the airport by my dad and thus embark upon my first trip alone.  Really, my first anything alone.  I'm not really scared, but there is a slight nagging in the back of my mind that's saying don't you dare mess up or so help me...

I love plane flights.  I've been on quite a lot, compared to most people, for which I am quite grateful. From the US to Germany, Germany to Scotland, back to the US, Virginia to Pennsylvania and back, and now this.  I'm not really sure what it is about flying that I like so much.  Probably it's just that - the fact that I'm flying.  Seeing cars turning into insects and rivers into threads, then the whole earth becoming a patchwork quilt, till finally you disappear above its curve into clouds that make a sort of fairy mockery of land - banks of vaporous continents, sky like oceans between them.  It's lovely.  And if you have the good luck to be flying at sunset (which I won't, this time), it's even better.

(photo by me)
But flying's not even the best part, because after all that, I shall arrive at a tiny little airport in the middle of New York and be met by smiling Sisters in graceful habits.  I'll be taken to a beautiful convent with Our Lord residing in a chapel a few yards away. I'm going to spend a whole week living a life I've dreamed about since I was six.  "Excited" doesn't even come close to describing my emotions.

Well, that got a bit out of hand.  I usually try not to spill myself out so much, but I think I'll let it go for now, because without the spilling this wouldn't be much of a post, would it?

So you won't see me for another week - not that it'll make a difference, as you usually don't see me for weeks at a time, anyway.

I'll be praying for you all from my convent chapel!
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