Tag Archives: lent

Of That Branch in Ancient Garden

Of that branch in ancient garden,

branch cross crown.jpgdid thy Father make thy tree,

on that tree with thee uplifted,

let us triumph, Lord, with thee.

On that tree with thee uplifted,

let us triumph, Lord, with thee.


By thy words on road to passion,

Words that set thy children free,

Thou the Vine and we the branches,

let us triumph, Lord, with thee.

Thou the Vine and we the branches,

let us triumph, Lord, with thee.


To thy Father be all glory,

Equal glory, Lord, to thee,

By Spirit’s equal glory,

let us triumph, Lord, with thee.

By Spirit’s equal glory

let us triumph, Lord, with thee.

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.

All glory, laud, and honor

All glory, laud, and honor
Passion Sunday.JPGto thee, Redeemer, King!
to whom the lips of children
made sweet hosannas ring

Thou art the King of Israel,
thou David’s royal Son,
who in the Lord’s Name comest,
the King and Blessed One.

The company of angels

are praising thee on high;
and mortal men and all things
created make reply.

The people of the Hebrews
with palms before thee went;
our praise and prayer and anthems
before thee we present.

To thee before thy passion
they sang their hymns of praise;
to thee, now high exalted,
our melody we raise.

Thou didst accept their praises;
accept the prayers we bring,
who in all good delightest,
thou good and gracious King.


(Theodulph of Orleans (ca. 750-821), ca. 820; Trans. John Mason Neale (1818-1866), 1854)

The Observance of Lent in the Rule of Saint Benedict

Although the life of a monk ought to have about it at all times the character of a Lenten observance, yet since few have the virtue for that, we therefore urge that during the actual days of Lent the brethren keep their lives most pure and at the same time wash away during these holy days all the negligences of other times.

And this will be worthily done
Monk3.JPGif we restrain ourselves from all vices and give ourselves up to prayer with tears, to reading, to compunction of heart and to abstinence.


During these days, therefore, let us increase somewhat the usual burden of our service, as by private prayers and by abstinence in food and drink. Thus everyone of his own will may offer God “with joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess. 1:6)
something above the measure required of him.

From his body, that is he may withhold some food, drink, sleep, talking and jesting; and with the joy of spiritual desire he may look forward to holy Easter. Let each one, however, suggest to his Abbot what it is that he wants to offer, and let it be done with his blessing and approval.

For anything done without the permission of the spiritual father will be imputed to presumption and vainglory and will merit no reward.

Therefore let everything be done with the Abbot’s approval.


Rule of Saint Benedict, Chapter 49

O sacred head, surrounded

O sacred head, surrounded
Crucified Lord Meister Francke.jpgby crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding head, so wounded,
reviled and put to scorn!
Our sins have marred the glory
of thy most holy face,
yet angel hosts adore thee
and tremble as they gaze

I see thy strength and vigor
all fading in the strife,
and death with cruel rigor,
bereaving thee of life;
O agony and dying!
O love to sinners free!
Jesus, all grace supplying,
O turn thy face on me.

In this thy bitter passion,
Good Shepherd, think of me
with thy most sweet compassion,
unworthy though I be:
beneath thy cross abiding
for ever would I rest,
in thy dear love confiding,
and with thy presence blest.


(asc. to Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, 1091-1153)

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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