Tag Archives: Blessed Guerric of Igny

Palm Sunday: Keep your eyes on the Lord

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In the procession the people meet Jesus with palm branches, in the passion they slap him in the face and strike his head with a rod. In the one they extol him with praises, in the other they heap insults upon him. In the one they compete to lay their clothes in his path, in the other he is stripped of his own clothes. In the one he is welcomed to Jerusalem as just king and savior, in the other he is thrown out of the city as a criminal…If, then, we want to follow our leader without stumbling through prosperity and through adversity, let us keep our eyes upon him, honored in the procession, undergoing ignominy and suffering in the passion, yet unshakably steadfast in all such changes of fortune.

Blessed Guerric of Igny

Knowing Christ not according to flesh alone, but in spirit

This is the day which the Lord has made, let us exult and rejoice in it. Let us exult in the hope it brings, that we may see and rejoice in its light. Abraham exults that he might see the day of Christ and by this token he saw and rejoiced.

You too, if you keep watch daily at the doors of wisdom, steadfast at its threshold, if you stay awake through the night with Magdalen at the entrance of his tomb, if I am not mistaken you will experience with Mary how true are the words we read of the Wisdom which is Christ:

She is easily seen by those who love her and she is found by those who seek her. She anticipates those who desire her and shows herself to them first. He who, as soon as it is light keeps watch for her will not have to toil, for he will find her seated at his doors. (Wis. 6:13ff)

So did Christ, Wisdom himself, promise in the words: I love those who love me, and they who from early morning keep watch for me will find me. (Prov. 8:17) Mary found Jesus in the flesh. For this she was keeping watch. Over his tomb she had come to mount guard while it was still dark.

You, who no longer ought to know Jesus according to the flesh but according to the spirit, will be able to find him spiritually if you seek him with a like desire, if he finds you likewise vigilant in prayer.

Guerric of Igny
Liturgical Sermons
Third sermon for Easter

Keeping our eyes upon Christ in His Passion

In his Sermon on Palm Sunday Blessed Guerric of Igny (d. ca. 1157), tells us:

When Jesus entered Jerusalem like a triumphant conqueror, many were astonished at the majesty of his bearing; but when a short while afterward he entered upon his passion, his appearance was ignoble, an object of derision. If today’s procession and passion are considered together, in the one Jesus appears as sublime and glorious, in the other as lowly and suffering. The procession makes us think of the honor reserved for a king, whereas the passion shows us the punishment due a thief. 


palm sunday2.jpgIn the one Jesus is surrounded by glory and honor, in the other “he has neither dignity nor beauty.” In the one his is the joy of men and women and the glory of the people, in the other “the butt of men and the laughing stock of the people.” In the one he receives the acclamation: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes as the king of Israel”; in the other there are shouts that he is guilty of death and he is reviled for having set himself up as king of Israel.

 

In the procession the people meet Jesus with palm branches, in the passion people slap him in the face and strike his head with a rod. In the one they extol him with praises, in the other they heap insults upon him. In the one the people compete to lay their clothes in his path, in the other he is stripped of his own clothes. In the one he is welcomed to Jerusalem as a just king and savior, in the other he is thrown out of the city as criminal, condemned as an imposter. In the one he is mounted on an ass and accorded every mark of honor, in the other he hangs on the wood of the cross, torn by whips, pierced with wounds and abandoned by his own. If, then, we want to follow our leader without stumbling through prosperity and through adversity, let us keep our eyes upon him, honored in the procession, undergoing ignominy and suffering in the passion, yet unshakeably steadfast in all such changes of fortune.

 

Lord Jesus, you are the joy and salvation of the whole world; whether we see you seated on an ass or hanging on the cross, let each one of us bless and praise you, so that when we see you reigning on high we may praise you forever and ever, for to you belong praise and honor through all ages. Amen.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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