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Thoughts for the Week


Palm Sunday

Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk 
20th March 2016

The Glory of this World Compared with the True Glory by St Bernard

The Church, animated as she is by the spirit of her bridegroom and her God, added today, in a novel and wonderful combination, a solemn procession to the reading of the Passion. I call this a novel and wonderful combination, because whereas the procession is triumphant and accompanied with songs of joy, the Passion is provocative of tears and laments - let us see what lessons this has for both classes of men.

The world's joy turned to tears.  Let the worldling consider and understand that "mourning takes hold of the end of joy" (Prov. 14:13). It was indeed to impress this truth upon us that He who in all other things likewise "began to do and to teach" (Acts. 1:1), preached by example as well as by word:  It was for this purpose, I say, that He, when made visible in the flesh, was at pains to prove clearly in His own person, what long before He had announced through His Prophet:  "All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the field" (Isaias 40:6). If then He received the honour of a triumphal procession it was because He knew that the day of His ignominious Passion was at hand. Who ought now to put his hope in the inconstancy of temporal glory, when even in the Author of time and the Creator of the universe He beholds so great a humiliation after so great an exaltation. For in the same city, in the same week, Christ was one day received with a glorious procession and divine honours, and on another subject to insult and torture ...

The Passion:  The path to Heaven.  I want you to see in the procession an image of the glory of our heavenly home and in the Passion the way that leads thereto. If, I say, you have thus suggested to you in the procession the term of our pilgrimage, behold also marked out for you in the Passion the way which leads to that end. For present tribulation is the way to life, the way to glory, the way to the Holy City, the Kingdom of God, according to the testimony of the thief on the cross, who said, Lord, remember me, when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom. He beheld Christ on His way to His Kingdom and begged to be remembered by Him when he arrived there. Thus the glory of the procession renders the Passion easy to endure, because nothing appears difficult to the soul that loves.

Moderation in joy and sadness.  Procession and Passion - Joy that ends in sadness: There is a special fitness in this combination of the Passion and the procession, because it teaches us not to rest with any security upon the pleasures of this world by showing us how "mourning takes hold of the end of joy". Let us not be like fools who are destroyed by their prosperity, but "In the day of good things, let us be not unmindful of evils, or in the day of evils, unmindful of good things" (Ecclus. 11:27). For the present life consists of an alternation of good and evil, as well in the case of spiritual and worldly persons. Thus we see the men of the world sometimes elated by good fortune and sometimes cast down by adversity; and pious souls, likewise, are neither always in gladness nor always in gloom, but experience a succession of bright days and dark. But this condition of things shall endure only as long as time lasts, or rather as long as the stream of time continues to flow.