The following Collects and Devotional Texts are provided as an aid to worship as we enter into Holy Week. I am struck by the wonder of the Incarnation and its implications as we meditate on the work of Christ Jesus on our behalf. It is absolutely amazing that God the Word became flesh, bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; He stooped to me and heard my cry” [Psalm 40:1].Why should the LORD of Lords be born for me? How can I not serve Him?
The Creed of St. Athanasius
“Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God, of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the Substance of his Mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting; Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching his Manhood. Who although he be God and Man, yet he is not two, but one Christ; One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God.”[i]
St. Andrew of Crete
“In his humility Christ entered the dark regions of our fallen world and he is glad that he became so humble for our sake, glad that he came and lived among us and shared in our nature in order to raise us up again to himself. And even though we are told that he has now ascended above the highest heavens – the proof, surely, of his power and godhead – his love for man will never rest until he has raised our earthbound nature from glory to glory, and made it one with his own in heaven.”[ii]
Collect for the Palm Sunday Procession
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.[iii]
Collect for Passion Sunday
Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.[iv]
Collect for Mission
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.[v]
Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy, defend me.
In the hour of my death, call me.
And bid me come to Thee.
That with Thy saints I may praise Thee
Forever and ever. Amen
Anima Christi, sanctifica me.
Corpus Christi, salva me.
Sanguis Christi, inebria me.
Aqua lateris Christi, lava me.
Passio Christi, conforta me.
O bone Jesu, exaudi me.
Intra tua vulnera absconde me.
Ne permittas me separari a te.
Ab hoste maligno defende me.
In hora mortis meae voca me.
Et iube me venire ad te,
Ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem te.
In saecula saeculorum. Amen
St. Richard of Chichester
“Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly, day by day.”[vii]
The Cross is the Abyss of Wonders[viii]
The Cross is
the abyss of wonders,
the center of desires,
the school of virtues,
the throne of love,
the theater of joys,
and the place of sorrows.
It is the root of happiness, and the gate of heaven.
Of all things in heaven and earth it is the most singular.
It is the most exalted of all objects. It is a banner lifted up
for all nations, to it shall the Gentiles come,
His rest shall be glorious;
the dispersed of Judah shall be gathered to it
from the four corners of the earth.
If love be the weight
of the soul,
and its object
all eyes and hearts
may convert and turn
unto this object.
Cleave unto this center.
The Cross is a tree
set on fire
with invisible flame,
all the world.
The flame is love:
the love in His bosom who died on it.
Thomas Traherne, Centuries of Meditations, 17 c. edit by Dom. Anselm + Obl OSB