Saturday, March 3, 2012

Devotion for today; the wound of misunderstanding

Today will continue our Saturday reflections on the sorrowful mysteries.
The Second Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar

“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 (Isaiah 53:4).

When we look at the Sacred Host we are reminded of the sacrifice Jesus made for us ‘to be the very life of our soul’ because the Eucharist flows from our Lord’s passion. It is the sweet fruit of all his sufferings.

Jesus chooses to come to us in this most Blessed Sacrament under the appearance of bread, as a constant reminder to us of how much He loves us, for like wheat which is beaten, broken and crushed before it becomes bread, Jesus, our divine wheat, was willing to be crushed at the pillar, broken in heart and crushed in humiliation that He may become for us “the living bread come down from heaven.” For He said, “THE BREAD THAT I MAY GIVE IS MY FLESH FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD.”

 Therefore, who could tell the sorrow, who could measure the bitter pain, of what Jesus felt when he came before Pilate? For there the people preferred a hardened criminal to the gentle Jesus, shouting: “Give us Barabbas! Crucify Him!” because they did not understand the depth of His love, and failed to recognize God in the form of man, as today so many fail to recognize the Presence of Jesus in the Sacred Host.

With Mary we offer to Jesus any misunderstanding we may suffer in our own life, in order that all men may come to know and understand this tremendous love of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

Blessed Sacrament Prayer
Jesus, by the physical wounds You suffered at the pillar,
help us to overcome the inclinations of the flesh that we may live in Your Spirit AND PREFER YOUR LOVE to all other loves.
Through Mary we pray that we may be pure in thought and deed. Through Mary we pray for a deep understanding of Your personal love for us in the Holy Eucharist; that, like her, we may respond to You with our whole heart.

(This selection is taken from Come to Me in the Eucharist, written by Fr. Vincent Martin Lucia, Apostolate for Perpetual Adoration).

Friday, March 2, 2012

Devotion for today: inside the mind of Pontius Pilate

We now enter the Praetorium, where we encounter Pilate in a struggle with himself. The following passage is taken from “And Then He Called My Name” by Richard Exley, Honor Books, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1996).
Pilate speaks: Stepping out onto the balcony, I pretend to ignore the mob gathered in the street below, while studying the situation out of the corner of my eye. They’re all here, from Caiaphas the high priest on down, so it must be important, though I cannot imagine what it is this time…. The cause of all this commotion seems to be a rather nondescript peasant. He is bound and closely guarded, though he does not appear at all dangerous. “What has this man done?” I demand, not even trying to keep the impatience out of my voice…. “He’s plotting a rebellion against Rome and telling our people not to pay taxes to Caesar. He even claims to be king of the Jews.”…. Though I would like to ignore them, I know I cannot. If I take no action, and it turns out this peasant is really a revolutionist, Caesar will have my head…. At last I turn to a guard. “Bring the prisoner to me. I want to interrogate him privately….” When at last I confront him… he seems the only one at peace. He is no ordinary peasant, of that I am sure…. “Are you the king of the Jews?” I ask…. Looking at me intently he says, “My kingdom is not of this world.” “So you are a king, then,” I press him, hoping for a speedy resolution to this tiresome mess. “For that reason I was born. And for that reason I came into the world. I speak truth, and everyone who loves truth receives me….” This peasant is no king, at least not in any way that makes him a threat to Caesar. There’s not a political bone in his body. He’s innocent of their charges, but it will not be easy to release him…. I step onto the balcony and declare in a loud voice: “I have examined this man, and I do not find him guilty of any crime. Therefore I will have him scourged, and then I will release him….” “No!” the angry crowd screams. “This man is an enemy of Caesar…. Give us Barabbas!”Curtly I give the order for the prisoner they call Jesus to be taken away and scourged, trying not to think of what is in store for him…. Pacing the marble floor of the palace, I search for a way to release this peasant without inciting the Jews to riot. Reports of political unrest in Judaea must not reach the ear of Caesar. If they do, I will not have to worry about a transfer. My career in the foreign service will be finished….Hearing footsteps approaching, I turn and find myself confronted by a tragic figure. Our troublesome peasant has become a kind of clown king.  Not only has he been scourged….for his head they have fashioned a crown of cruel Judean thorns. I am tempted to laugh, so ridiculous does he appear, but something in his eyes stops me. By now he should be a broken man, humbled by the might of Rome. Or if not humbled, he should be defiant, consumed with a hate-filled rage. He is neither. Instead, there is about him a sense of destiny that is deeply disturbing. I am the Roman Governor, and he a mere peasant. In my hands I hold the power of life and death. Yet it feels as if I am on trial here and not he! Somehow I feel as if I am being weighed in the balances and found wanting. More determined than ever to release him, I take him by the arm and walk outside to face the restless crowd…. In a loud voice I shout, “Behold the man….” “Crucify him!” they scream. Their words strike me like physical blows, and for a moment I reel in stunned disbelief. “But he is innocent,” I fume…. “By our law he deserves death. He claims to be the Son of God, and for that he must die.” A god! Could I, a mere mortal, have been playing judge to a god? The thought of it strikes fear in my heart. My throat closes and my breath comes in ragged gasps. In an instant Claudia’s dream is made clear to me. But what can I do? I am a pawn in the hands of these mad Jews! They have trapped me between the wrath of Caesar and the vengeance of the gods…. I confront him once more. “Where do you come from?” I demand, desperate to know the truth. He does not answer, and my fear gives birth to angry rantings. “Why do you refuse to answer me: don’t you realize I have the power to crucify you or to set you free?” “The only power you have over me,” he says, regarding me as a patient parent might an unruly child, “is what has been given to you by my Father.” He is a god, of that I am sure…. “This man is innocent,” I declare in my most judicial voice. “I will now set him free….” Shaking their fists and hissing they shout, “Crucify him! Crucify him….” I’ve played this out about as far as I dare…. Calling for a basin of water, I make a show of washing my hands before the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” I tell them. “It is your responsibility….” Wiping my hands on my tunic, I motion for the guard to lead Jesus away. At the door he pauses and looks long at me. Although I see nothing in his eyes but a sorrowful love, I feel sick. Too late, I realize that in saving myself, I have betrayed myself (portions of this narrative are taken from all four gospel accounts of Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate).

Richard Exley explains: “Legend has it that Pilate’s wife became a believer. And legend has it that Pilate’s eternal home is a mountain lake where he daily surfaces, still plunging his hands into the water seeking forgiveness. Forever trying to wash away his guilt…not for the evil he did, but for the kindness he didn’t do.” In truth, what happened to Pilate that fateful day in Jerusalem was a foregone conclusion, the inevitable consequence of the choices of a lifetime….He who repeatedly chooses expediency over character will not have the moral strength to do what is right when the ultimate test comes. The man or woman who is determined to exercise integrity in the hour of truth must practice it in the little matters that arise daily.

Prayer: Psalm 18:2-4
I love you, O Lord, my strength, O Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. My god, my rock of refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation, my stronghold! Praised be the Lord, I exclaim, and I am safe from my enemies.

My thoughts: This is an interesting way to read the passion, one that takes us inside Pontius Pilate’s mind. We can all identify with him in one regard: saving ourselves by selling out is a common practice. We turn a blind eye to things that are wrong in the work place, in relationships and even to our own inner voices in order to maintain the status quo. If we don’t stand up for what we know is the truth in small matters, we cannot depend on ourselves to do it when a crisis arises. Let us promise God today to be faithful to Him always. We have seen how penetrating the gaze of Jesus was to all of our passion people this week. All we ever need to do is to picture Jesus gazing at us.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Devotion for today: the sadness of Christ: Peter's denial

This week we have looked at various “people of the passion.” Now we turn our eyes on Peter. We have moved on to the high priests’ trial of Jesus.

Christ said: Luke 22:31-34
“Simon, Simon! Remember that Satan has asked for you, to sift you all like wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith may never fail. You, in turn, must strengthen your brothers.” “Lord,” he said to him, “at your side I am prepared to face imprisonment and death itself.” Jesus replied, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow today until you have three times denied that you know me.”

Blessed John Paul II tells us: (based on Luke 22:54-62) Let us go back to the night we had left behind when we entered the hall where Jesus’ first trial was taking place. The darkness and the cold are pierced by the flames of a brazier in the courtyard of the palace of the Sanhedrin. The servants and guards are holding out their hands to the warmth; their faces are lighted up. And three voices, one after another, speak out, and three hands point towards a face they recognize, the face of Peter. The first is a woman’s voice. She is one of the maids in the palace; looking the disciple in the eye, she exclaims, "You too were with Jesus!" A man’s voice follows: "You are one of them!" Another man later makes the same accusation, after hearing Peter’s northern accent: "You were with him!" Faced with these declarations, the Apostle, as if in a desperate crescendo of self-defense, does not hesitate to lie: "I do not know Jesus! I am not one of his disciples! I don’t know what you are talking about!" The light of that brazier penetrates far beyond Peter’s face; it lays bare his wretched heart, his frailty, his selfishness, his fear. And yet only a few hours earlier, he had proclaimed, "Even though all fall away, I will not! … If I must die with you, I will not deny you!" The curtain, however, does not fall on this betrayal, as was the case with Judas. That night a noise pierces the silence of Jerusalem, but above all Peter’s own conscience: the sound of the cock crowing. Precisely at that moment Jesus comes forth from the tribunal that has condemned him. Luke describes the exchange of glances between Christ and Peter with a word in Greek that suggests a penetrating stare at someone’s face. But, as the Evangelist notes, this is not just any man who looks at another; it is "the Lord", whose eyes peer into the depths of the heart, into the deepest secrets of a person’s soul. From the eyes of the Apostle fall tears of repentance. In his story are condensed countless stories of infidelity and conversion, of weakness and liberation. "I wept, and I believed!" – in these two simple words, centuries later, a convert, Francois Rene De Chateaubriand, would compare his own experience to that of Peter, thus speaking for all of us who daily make petty betrayals, protecting ourselves with cowardly justifications, letting ourselves be overcome with base fears. But, like the Apostle, we too can take the road that brings us to Christ’s gaze and we can hear him give us the same charge: you, too, "once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers!" ( - Cached).

Prayer: Psalm 22:25-26
For he has not spurned nor disdained the wretched man in his misery, nor did he turn his face away from him, but when he cried out to him, he heard him. So by your gift will I utter praise in the vast assembly; I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him.

My thoughts: I cannot even imagine how Peter felt when he beheld the face of Jesus: Jesus staring into Peter’s eyes, the sadness and disappointment evident in His gaze. Peter’s heart must have been shattered. I read that St. Peter admitted to crying every day of his life over his denial. There is a great lesson in that for us. When we sin, and we realize the full weight of that sin, we can identify with Peter as he beholds Jesus in the courtyard. Our own hearts break and we feel so despondent at having disappointed our Lord. We can cry and feel remorse, but it cannot stop us from regaining our footing, confessing our sin, and moving on. Jesus had plans for Peter, just as He does for us. Blessed John Paul reminds us that once we are forgiven, Jesus expects us to turn around and care for our fellow man. There is no time in God’s plan for us to wallow in self-disgust. We must follow Peter, and believe in the forgiveness of God.

Our prayer to God: Blessed John Paul II created a new Stations of the Cross, which he unveiled at the Coliseum on Good Friday in 1991. They are not meant to replace the traditional ones, but to serve as another form of meditation. The above reflection is the fourth station. Why not add these to your Lenten devotional plan? They can be found on the Vatican website

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Devotion for today: lend me your ear

Devotion for today: lend me your ear

Before we leave the garden for good, let us take a look at a third person who was there. So far we have a traitor, a fleeing naked man, and now…

Scripture for meditation: John 18:10-11
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the slave of the high priest, severing his right ear. (The slave’s name was Malchus.) At that Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back in its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?” Luke 22:51: Then he touched the ear and healed the man.

Christ tells us: Matthew 5:43-45
“You have heard the commandment, ‘You shall love your countryman but hate your enemy.’ My command to you is: love your enemies, pray for your persecutors. This will prove that you are sons of your heavenly father, for his sun rises on the bad and the good, he rains on the just and the unjust."

Fr. John Bartunek, L.C. tells us (speaking on the movie The Passion of the Christ): When Jesus is apprehended, the violence and betrayal and brutality exit Gethsemane, yet the film offers a curious final image in the Garden. Malchus, a member of the arresting mob, is sitting on the ground, touching his ear, utterly stunned. Only minutes before he had been the ringleader of the cruel and ruthless Temple guards. Now he is simply incapable of following them back into the city. His experience in the Garden has yanked him into another world. That man, Jesus, that rabble-rousing rabbi whom they had been sent to arrest, had miraculously restored the bloody and painful mess of his severed ear. Malchus was the recipient of a miracle; a supernatural gift bestowed by this Jesus on an enemy, on a man sworn to apprehend Him unjustly in the middle of the night. This was no ordinary rabbi, this was no ordinary Garden; this was no ordinary night. Not for Malchus. The film emphasized that small miracle because it is so eloquent. It shows what Jesus was really about. He was on a different level. He was God, and He let Himself be taken by ignoble men. He even healed one of them. It’s a moment that all sinners who have experienced God’s forgiveness appreciate deeply. In the midst of chaos and indifference and injustice, Jesus displays gentle mercy for His enemy. The contrast is not only emotionally moving but theologically significant and instructive. The film had to show an icon of composure and equilibrium and goodness in a maelstrom of passion and cutting and slashing, because Christians want to be able to live it. It’s part of the story, a particularly expressive part. It is said that Malchus became a Christian and joined the early Church in Jerusalem. Changing from a servant of violence and injustice to a defender of truth and peace is maybe more miraculous than replacing a severed ear; the film shows that Christ’s passion has the power for both. That’s another reason why this movie is about hope (Inside the Passion, Ascension Press, 2005).

Prayer: Micah 7: 7-8
As for me, I will look to the Lord, I will put my trust in God my savior; my God will hear me! Rejoice not over me, O my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will arise; though I sit in darkness, the Lord is my light.

My thoughts: I love the image of a sinner like myself sitting stunned in the Garden as Christ walks off, having forgiven me of my sins. The feeling from being cleansed of a burden after confessing the sin is the same. Our hasty and improper actions sometimes cause us to suffer bodily harm and spiritual disgrace. Yet Jesus mercifully restores us to our proper selves through His mercy and love. Did Malchus deserve such a miracle? Do we? Do the people with whom we deal on a daily basis? Let us remember the entire lesson we have gained from our time in the Garden and our experience of Christ with rather unusual people: mercy and love must always be our response to those who seek to hurt or desert us. It is what we ask of God in confession; it is what we must give to others.

Our prayer to God: A great practice for Lent is to take the movie, “The Passion of the Christ” and watch a segment a week, maybe following the Sorrowful Mysteries. This week would be “The Agony in the Garden”.  You could watch it every day, slowly allowing yourself to enter into Christ’s passion with Him, following Him on His journey. Then pray this beautiful old prayer:

Learning Christ

Teach me, my Lord, to be sweet and gentle in all the events of life: in disappointments, in the thoughtlessness of others, in the insincerity of those I trusted, in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied. Let me put myself aside, to think of the happiness of others, to hide my little pains and heartaches, so that I may be the only one to suffer from them. Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path. Let me so use it that it may mellow me, not harden or embitter me; that it may make me patient, not irritable; that it may make me broad in my forgiveness, not narrow, haughty, and overbearing. May no one be less good for having come within my influence, no one less pure, less true, less kind, less noble for having been a fellow-traveler in our journey towards eternal life. As I go my rounds from one distraction to another, let me whisper from time to time a word of love to Thee. May my life be lived in the supernatural, full of power for good, and strong in its purpose of sanctity. Amen.
(The Prayer Book, edited by Rev. John P. O’Connell, M.A., S.T.D., and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, 1958)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Devotion for today: running just as fast as I can

Last week we spent time in Gethsemane with Jesus. We now watch ourselves leave in a most unflattering way.

Scriptures for meditation: 1 Peter 4:12-13
 Beloved, do not be startled at the trial by fire that is taking place among you to prove you, as if something strange were happening to you, but rejoice, insofar as you share in the sufferings of Christ, that you may also rejoice with exultation in the revelation of his glory.

Jesus tells us: Mark 14:51-52
But a certain young man was following him, having only a linen cloth wrapped around his naked body, and throwing it off he fled from them naked.

Rev. Robert Barron in “Word on Fire” tells us: Scholars suggest that, like a Renaissance painter who places contemporary figures anachronistically into a depiction of a biblical scene, Mark is symbolically situating all of us in the Garden of Gethsemane in the figure of a man running off into the night. The principal clue to his symbolic identity is in the simple description “follower of Jesus,” which makes him evocative of all disciples of the Lord from that day to the present. Another clue is his manner of dress. The Greek term here is sindona, which designates the kind of garment worn in the early church by the newly baptized. The point is this: following Jesus, being a baptized member of his church, is a dangerous business. Participating in Jesus’ kingdom puts you, necessarily in harm’s way, for Jesus’ way of ordering things is massively opposed to the world’s way of doing so. The shame of this young man – running away from the Lord at the moment of crisis – is the shame of all of us fearful disciples of Jesus who, more often than not, leave behind, in the hands of our enemies, our baptismal identity. The naked young man, escaping into the night, therefore poses a question: what do we do at the moment of truth?
This mysterious figure makes a comeback before the Gospel of Mark closes, and in his return all of us sinners can find hope.  On the morning of the resurrection, the Marys come to the tomb, carrying their spices and fretting about the massive stone covering the mouth of the grave. They find the stone rolled away and, upon entering the sepulcher, they see a “young man dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side.” The words used for “young man” and “white robe” are the same that Mark used to describe the disciple in the Gethsemane scene. This confident figure announces the resurrection to the startled women. “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here.” Exegetes suggests that this angelic presence in the empty tomb of Jesus is evocative of all of us disciples of Jesus at our best. Wearing once again our white baptismal garments, which we had abandoned during times of persecution, we announce to the world the good news that the crucified one is alive. Having recovered our courage, our voice, and our identity, we function as angels (the word angelos simply means messenger) of the resurrection. (Crossroad Publishing Co., 2011)

Prayer: Divine Mercy Chaplet Closing Prayer:
Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless, and the treasure of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair, nor become despondent, but with great confidence, submit ourselves to your holy will, which is love and mercy itself.

My thoughts: I have never viewed the young man in the “fleeing the garden” passage as actually applying to me. Reading Fr. Barron’s explanation, however, makes it crystal clear. Here we are in the garden, not one of the twelve apostles, but brave enough to be there nonetheless. We have been spending these last few hours with Christ, professing our love for Him and comforting Him. Times get tough, and we run away, abandoning Our Lord. The world does this to us. We can feel so brave and “on fire” in the safety of our prayer life, yet operating in the real world causes us to falter, and at times, to flee from our intention of always staying close to Christ. Fr. Barron reminds us, however, that there is a happy ending to our embarrassing situation. Throughout our lives, if we keep up our efforts to be courageous in times of persecution, we will become “angels of the resurrection”. Now that is a challenge worth running after!

Our Prayer to God:    Lent is not a time for us to get stuck in guilt over our sinfulness, but rather a time to face our sins, confess them, and move on to the joy which waits for us on Easter Sunday. Since we have fled the garden today, let us resolve to come back, fully clothed this time in the grace of God, to continue our walk with Christ through His passion. “Jesus, forgive me, for I am a coward, but I desire to be a brave soul. Help me to remain with you throughout these forty days, and bless me with the strength and grace to become more like you. Amen.”

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Devotion for today: sealed with a kiss

For the past week we have spent time in Gethsemane with Jesus. It is time to leave the Garden.

Scriptures for meditation: Matthew 26:49-50
 He went ahead of them and came to Jesus to kiss him. And when he had come, he went right up to him and said, “Rabbi, hail Rabbi” and he kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?”

St. Thomas More tells us: (Christ) receives (Judas’) advances, listens to his greetings, does not refuse his kiss; and though aware of his abominable treachery, He nevertheless acted for a while as if He were completely ignorant of everything. Why did He do this? Was it to teach us to feign and dissemble and with polite cunning to turn the deception back upon the deceiver? Hardly, but rather to teach us to bear patiently and gently all injuries and snares treacherously set for us; not to smolder with anger, not to seek revenge, not to give vent to our feelings by hurling back insults, not to find an empty pleasure in tripping up an enemy through some clever trick, but rather to set ourselves against deceitful injury with genuine courage, to conquer evil with good.

Psalm 86: I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners
The proud have risen against me; ruthless men seek my life: to you they pay no heed. But you, God of mercy and compassion, slow to anger, O Lord, abounding in love and truth, turn and take pity on me.

My thoughts: St. Thomas More points out so clearly that every act of Jesus’ life is directed as a life lesson to us. Here we find Him betrayed by a friend, someone who had spent three years with Him, watching Him cure the sick, heal the brokenhearted, and feed the multitudes. Yet for power and money, Judas sells His friend out. Most of us would say that Jesus would be justified in smoldering with anger; yet His reaction is anything but that. He looks lovingly at Judas, and gives him time to realize what he is about to do. In our lives as well, the high road is the one we must take, as Christ did, to conquer evil with good, and to make every effort to help our enemies correct their ways. St. Thomas More is right. We must spend time this Lenten Season curbing our tongues and opening our hearts.

Our Prayer to God: Today, let us begin to watch how many times we have the urge to top people with the last word, the smartest comeback or the embarrassing remark. If we are not pleased with what we find during this inventory session, then it is time to study St. Thomas More’s remarks, and adopt them as our life lesson for this week of Lent.

Devotion for today: Stabat Mater

Pietro Perugino's depiction of Stabat Mater (art), 1482.

Stabat Mater

Stabat Mater is a thirteenth century Roman Catholic sequence variously attributed to Innocent III and Jacopone da Todi. Its title is an abbreviation of the first line, Stabat mater dolorosa ("The sorrowful mother stood"). This hymn is a meditation on the suffering of Mary, Jesus Christ's mother, during His crucifixion. Traditionally, it is sung at the end of each Station of the Cross.

At the cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful Mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.

Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
All His bitter anguish bearing,
Now at length the sword had pass'd.

Oh, how sad and sore distress'd
Was that Mother highly blest
Of the sole-begotten One!

Christ above in torment hangs;
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying glorious Son.

Is there one who would not weep,
Whelm'd in miseries so deep
Christ's dear Mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain,
In that Mother's pain untold?

Bruis'd, derided, curs'd, defil'd,
She beheld her tender child
All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of His own nation,
Saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.

O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above;
Make my heart with thine accord.

Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ our Lord.

Holy Mother! pierce me through;
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Saviour crucified.

Let me share with thee His pain,
Who for all my sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.

Let me mingle tears with thee,
Mourning Him who mourn'd for me,
All the days that I may live.

By the cross with thee to stay,
There with thee to weep and pray,
Is all I ask of thee to give.

Virgin of all virgins best,
Listen to my fond request
Let me share thy grief divine.

Let me, to my latest breath,
In my body bear the death
Of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with His every wound,
Steep my soul till it hath swoon'd
In His very blood away.

Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Lest in flames I burn and die,
In His awful Judgment day.

Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
Be Thy Mother my defence,
Be Thy cross my victory.

While my body here decays,
May my soul Thy goodness praise,
Safe in Paradise with Thee.