Tuesday, April 24, 2007


One of the devotional manuals, I use in my private prayers is the Benedictine Daily Prayer:A Short Breviary. It is a useful volume that preserves the older scheme of various hours, rather than the condensation of the BCP into Morning, Noon, Evening and Compline. I also like the fact that theBDP offers some of the writings from the early Church into the readings for Vigils (a time of prayer that originally occurred during the night as a watch). During the First Octave of Easter, the second reading for Vigils is from the Mystagogical Catecheses of St. Cyril of Jerusalem. Cyril became the Bishop of Jerusalem in 349, and developed his 5 Mystagogical Catecheses for the use of the Church in Jerusalem.

In a nutshell, the Mystagogical Chatacheses are the teaching of the mysteries of the faith. These lessons were not part of the pre-baptismal instruction of converts in the early Church. The teaching of the mystery of the sacraments took place after baptism at the Easter Vigil and the days following.

This pattern speaks to us here in the Great Fifty Days. It is the "Way" of the apostolic Church. We become followers. We seek to understand, and embody what we believe. Yet, on the resurrection side of Easter, we must admit that the Risen Lord is simply beyond our ability to fully grasp. It is on this side of resurrection that we with the Prophets, Apostles and Martyrs live the mystery of new life from death.

"You have been brought to the holy fount of baptism, as Christ was carried from the cross to the tomb. Each of you was asked if you believed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. You uttered the saving profession of faith and were three times immersed in the water; three times you came forth. In image and sign you thus symbolized Christ's three-day burial. When you were submerged in the water, you dwelt in the unseeing night; when you came forth, you entered the light of day. Thus you were dead and reborn, and the water was both your tomb and your mother."-Cat.20, Myst. 2

Alleluia, He is Risen....and so are we.

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