Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Cross is the Crux of the Matter

Prayer before a Crucifix

Behold, O kind and most sweet Jesus, I fall upon my knees before Thee, and with the most fervent desire of my soul I pray and beseech Thee that Thou wouldst impress upon my heart a lively sense of Faith, Hope, and Charity, with true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment; whilst with deep affection and grief of soul, I ponder within myself and mentally contemplate Thy five most precious Wounds, having before my eyes that which David in prophecy spoke concerning Thyself, O good Jesus: "They have pierced my hands and feet, they have numbered all my bones."


Isaiah 53

Who has believed what we have heard?
To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth;
there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him,
nor appearance that would attract us to him.

He was spurned and avoided by men,
a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity,
one of those from whom men hide their faces,
spurned, and we held him in no esteem.
Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,
our sufferings that he endured,
while we thought of him as stricken,
as one smitten by God and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins,
upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
by his stripes we were healed.

We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way,
but the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all.
Though he was harshly treated,
he submitted and opened not his mouth;
like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers,
he was silent and opened not his mouth.

Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away,
and who would have thought any more of his destiny?
When he was cut off from the land of the living,
and smitten for the sins of his people,
a grave was assigned him among the wicked,
and a burial place with evildoers,
though he had done no wrong nor spoken any falsehood.
But the Lord was pleased to crush him in infirmity.

If he gives his life as an offering for sin,
he shall see his descendants in a long life,
and the will of the Lord shall be accomplished through him.
Because of his affliction, he shall see the light in fullness of days;
through his suffering. my servant shall justify many,
and their guilt he shall bear.

Therefore I will give him his portion among the great,
and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,
because he surrendered himself to death
and was counted among the wicked;
and he shall take away the sins of many,
and win pardon for their offenses.

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