This blog will be updated personally by Father Shamo for friends and parishioners of St. Mary in Palms Anglican Church.
3647 Watseka Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90034-3914
Fr. Vincent Shamo, Rector
Phone: 310.558.4124 Email: StMaryInPalms@yahoo.com
Then Jesus came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, ‘So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’ Matthew 26:40-41
Please, consider praying for all who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic especially those who have lost loved ones, jobs, received notice of impending pay cuts, for first responders and all ongoing research work to find a lasting cure to this pandemic.
This will be the first of DAILY meditations I intend sharing with you while we are "apart" this Holy Week. Each meditation will be in two parts: lyrics of a hymn and, a couple of questions for your private reflection. Okay to share your reflection with me, thanks.
FOR MONDAY IN HOLY WEEK
Ah, Holy Jesus, How Hast Thou Offended
Ah, holy Jesus, how hast Thou offended,
That man to judge Thee hath in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted.
Who was the guilty- Who brought this upon Thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone Thee.
'Twas I, Lord, Jesus, I it was denied Thee!
I crucified Thee.
Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
The slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered;
For our atonement, while we nothing heeded,
For me, kind Jesus, was Thine incarnation,
Thy mortal sorrow, and Thy life's oblation;
Thy death of anguish and Thy bitter passion,
For my salvation.
Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay Thee,
I do adore Thee, and will ever pray Thee,
Think on Thy pity and Thy love unswerving,
Not my deserving.
Words: Johann Heerman (1585-1647; tr. Robert Seymour Bridges (1844-1930)
Please, see Hymn #158 of the 1982 Hymnal for music
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION
1. What in this hymn strengthens your faith at this time?
2. What in this hymn challenges your faith at this time?
1 The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent. 2 Since few, however, have the strength for this, we urge the entire community during these days of Lent to keep its manner of life most pure 3 and to wash away in this holy season the negligence of other times. 4 This we can do in a fitting manner by refusing to indulge evil habits and by devoting ourselves to prayer with tears, to reading, to compunction of heart and self-denial. 5 During these days, therefore, we will add to the usual measure of our service something by way of private prayer and abstinence from food or drink, 6 so that each of us will have something above the assigned measure to offer God of his own will with the joy of the Holy Spirit (1 Thess 1:6). 7 In other words, let each one deny himself some food, drink, sleep, needless talking and idle jesting, and look forward to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing
My reflection: My caveat: I am NOT a Benedictine scholar and have no extensive experience in Benedictine spirituality but I'd like to start a conversation on the above chapter of the Rule of St. Benedict. St. Benedict obviously wrote for another generation and audience - his monastic community - but I find this particular chapter on "the observance of Lent" especially #1 above "the life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent" challenging for two reasons: 1. some christians hold the view that the christian life should be "a continuous Easter and not Lent" because Easter gives meaning to Lent. 2. some christians also hold the position that without the observance of a holy and disciplined Lent, Easter would not make much sense. I think St. Benedict suggests this latter position in #7 above "let each one deny himself some food, drink, sleep, needless talking and idle jesting, and look forward to holy Easter with joy and spiritual longing".
Questions for further reflection: 1. As a person of faith, how has the Shelter in place and Safer at Home time impacted your Lenten observance and spirituality, preparing you for Easter? 2. As a person of no faith, how has the Shelter in place and Safer at Home time impacted your spring season so far preparing you for a post-Covid-19 lifestyle to transform our shared humanity? 3. For all of us, have we been so preoccupied with just surviving the COVID-19 pandemic that we have not used this time as an opportunity to cultivate and deepen our spiritual/interior or religious life in preparation for the celebration of Easter or a post-Covid-19 world?
I'd appreciate your thoughts and comments. Please, leave a comment for me below. Thanks.
As Jesus walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
There are still many including some prominent tele/megachurch evangelists in our contemporary society who still subscribes to the theory of a direct causal relationship between wellness and sin. You may have even heard similar versions from some who are attributing COVID-19 to being a "spiritual attack on humanity" or "signs of the end-times" or even a generational attack based on Exodus 20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me" - King James Version - or that humanity is being punished by God for the sins of one nation which has finally caught up with us. I do not know where you stand in all of these but I ask you consider sharing your thoughts with me by leaving a Comment.
FOR YOUR FURTHER MEDITATION
1. Do you see a direct causal relationship between wellness, sin and COVID-19? What is the basis of that relationship?
2. How does that (basis) shape your understanding of individual and corporate social justice responsibilities? Or of the incarnate God's concern for humanity or even the Psalmist's thoughts in the portion of Psalm 23 below:
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil; * for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; * you have anointed my head with oil, and my cup is running over. Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, * and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
3. If the John text above is considered at "face-value" what works of God might (possibly) be revealed to humanity through the COVID-19 pandemic?