A joyfully Franciscan view of Catholic life, inspired by St. Clare (Santa Chiara) of Assisi!

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Chiara Offreduccio (St. Clare) was born in 1194. It is said that when her mother had Chiara in her womb, an angel appeared to her and said, "your child will be a light that will illuminate the world!" Hence, her mother named the child Chiara, which means "light. As G.K. Chesterton put it, St. Clare was a romantic figure just like Juliet was. However, instead of running away from her family in order to be with an earthly man, Clare gave up everything and ran away from her family for the love of her Savior!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Powerful Passion Hymns

As a member of the Notre Dame Liturgical Choir, I've really been brought closer to Christ through four years of singing very powerful hymns. The hyms relating to Our Lord's Passion have been particularly moving....even moving me to tears. I've reproduced the lyrics of some of them below:

O Sacred Head Surrounded

O sacred head, surroundedby crown of piercing thorn!
O bleeding head, so wounded,reviled and put to scorn!
Our sins have marred the gloryof 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 abidingfor ever would I rest,
in thy dear love confiding,and with thy presence blest.

"Ah, Holy Jesus, How Has Thou Offended"

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended, that man to judge thee hath in hate pretended? By foes derided, by thine own rejected, O most afflicted.

Who was the guilty who brought this upon thee? Alas, my treason, Jesus, hast undone thee. 'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee; I crucified thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered; the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered; for man's atonement, while he nothing heedeth, God intercedeth.

For me, kind Jesus, was thine incarnation, thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation; thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion, for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee, I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee, think on thy pity and thy love unswerving, not my deserving.

"Psalm 102"

"O Lord, listen to my prayer and let my cry for help reach you. Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress. Turn you ear towards me and answer me quickly when I call. For my days are vanishing like smoke, my bones burn away like a fire. My heart is withered like the grass. I forget to eat my bread. I cry with all my strength and my skin clings to my bones. I have become like a pelican in the wilderness, like an owl in desolate places. I lie awake and I moan like some lonely bird on a roof. All day long my foes revile me; those who hate me use my name as a curse. The bread I eat is ashes; my drink is mingled with tears. In your anger, Lord, and your fury you have lifted me up and thrown me down. My days are like a passing shadow and I wither away like the grass.

"But you, O Lord, will endure for ever and your name from age to age. You will arise and have mercy on Zion: for this is the time to have mercy; yes, the time appointed has come for your servants love her very stones, are moved with pity even for her dust . . . Let this be written for ages to come that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord; for the Lord leaned down from his sanctuary on high. He looked down from heaven to the earth that he might hear the groans of the prisoners and free those condemned to die. "

it's not a hymn, but I decided to include this passage of Isaiah anyway....


Behold, My servant will prosper, he will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted. Just as many were astonished at you, My people, so his appearance was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men. Thus He will sprinkle many nations, kings will shut their mouths on account of Him; for what they had not been told them they will see, and what they had not heard they will understand.

Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.


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