Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Tuesday of Easter Week
After dropping off the boys at our co-op location for their annual standardized testing as required by Heritage Christian School, our homeschooling group, I drove ten minutes down the freeway to the Mission San Diego de Alcala, the oldest church in California, founded in 1769 by Father Junipero Serra. The first of the 21 California missions, The Mission San Diego is still an active parish church; in fact, a dear friend of mine sings in their choir each Sunday at noon Mass.
I sought the Mission today for quiet and solitude. I browsed the museum gift shop first, finding a helpful booklet on the Stations of the Cross that I purchased. After paying my three dollar admission, I headed straight to the mission church with my book bag. The church was empty, and I set down my bag on the first pew and slid to my knees on the pillowed altar step to pray.
After lighting a prayer candle, I settled into the second pew (so I had a kneeler available) and spent the next two hours with my ESV Bible, my 1928 Book of Common Prayer, my Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime, and my prayer journal. I also got up and stood in front of each of the fourteen Stations of the Cross that lined the walls of the church, seven per side.
As my fountain pen scrawled line after line in my journal, I prayed for my family, for our kids, for generous spirits and loving hearts. I prayed Collects from the Book of Common Prayer, including the long Gospel selections that are part of Holy Week. I prayed through Divine Hours' Holy Week psalms and Scriptures while the soft strains of chant music calmed my heart. The flickering candles lit the room, along with clouded light streaming through open windows. The low whispers of a woman across the aisle praying the rosary, her beads rattling one against the other in her hands. My back became sore from kneeling, so much so that I'm quite happy to be seeing my chiropractor tomorrow rather than Friday.
The Collects I prayed today were:
Tuesday Before Easter
O LORD God, whose blessed Son, our Saviour, gave his back to the smiters and hid not his face from shame; Grant us grace to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time, in full assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love towards mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And the Gospel reading for today, from Saint Mark's Gospel:
AND straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto him, Thou sayest it. And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing. And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee. But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled. Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify him. Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him. And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified. And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, and began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him. And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.
After my two hours in the mission church, I wandered through the adjoining meditation garden, enjoying the spicy scent of fuschia-hued stocks and the beauty of yellow roses amid life-sized saint statues including a Saint Francis wishing well.
Before long, I had to gather my things and return to my little '91 Corolla in order to pick up my boys as they completed Day Two of testing. I'm very glad to have had this time during Holy Week to devote to prayer and His Word--exactly the way I want to spend Holy Week this year.
Wishing you a most blessed Holy Week,