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April 14, 2009

“My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with Me!” (Mt 26:28)

Dear Friends and Members of the Opus Angelorum,

Peace and greetings in Our risen Lord! The Redemption accomplished through Jesus’ suffering, death and Resurrection lies at the center of our Catholic faith. As you already know, this mystery is commemorated every Thursday and Friday in the Work of the Holy Angels in the celebration of the Passio Domini, where we watch and compassionate Our Lord in His redeeming suffering.

With the support of Fr. Perrone, pastor of Assumption Grotto Parish, we will begin on April 30, 2009 to dedicate a Holy Hour following the 7:00 pm Holy Mass to the celebration of the Passio Domini presided by a priest of the Order of the Holy Cross. Immediately following the 7:00 pm Mass, the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for silent adoration until 8:00 pm. Then we will meditate and recite prayers to console Jesus in His Passion (texts will be provided), and conclude with Benediction at 8:50 pm. (The parking lot will be guarded.)

This devotion is especially timely, not only for members of Opus Angelorum, but also given the current situation in the Church, our country and the world. There is a great need to support our priests and Bishops, that they have the courage and strength to speak out and bear witness to basic Christian morals in our degenerating culture. We wish to give them spiritual support that they may bear the burden of leading both the Church and the world in the ways of God, building up the culture of life as good shepherds after the Heart of Christ.

The angel was sent to Jesus in His agony to strengthen Him as He bore the weight of the world’s sins, while the three Apostles slept. Jesus asks them sadly, “Could you not watch one hour with Me?” Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II), commenting on the carelessness of the three Apostles, says that these words of Jesus are

…a reproach of concern to every disciple of Christ. In one way the Church still hears these same words: the reproach addressed to the three Apostles is accepted by the Church as if it were addressed to herself, and she tries to fill the gap left by that lost hour when Jesus remained completely alone in Gethsemane. …And now the Church still seeks to recover that hour in Gethsemane—the hour lost by Peter, James and John—so as to compensate for the Master’s lack of companionship which increased His soul’s suffering. (Sign of Contradiction, p. 151).

Jesus was strengthened not only by the angel, but also by all those generous souls foreseen by Him who, moved by His sorrowful complaint, have kept and continue to keep Him company in the Garden of Olives, watching and sharing His bitterness and mortal anguish. Pope Pius XI writes in his encyclical letter, Miserentissimus Redemptor,

If, because of our sins also which were as yet in the future, but were foreseen, the soul of Christ became sorrowful unto death, it cannot be doubted that then, too, already He derived somewhat of a solace from our reparation, which was likewise foreseen, when “there appeared to Him an angel from heaven” (Lk 22:43), in order that His Heart, oppressed with weariness and anguish, might find consolation. And so even now, in a wondrous yet true manner, we can and ought to console that Most Sacred Heart which is continually wounded by the sins of thankless men, since - as we also read in the sacred liturgy - Christ Himself, by the mouth of the Psalmist complains that He is forsaken by His friends: “My Heart hath expected reproach and misery, and I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none” (Psalm 118:21). (Miserentissimus Redemptor, 13)

St. Padre Pio, meditating on Our Lord’s agony, also prayed:

O Jesus, how many generous souls wounded by this complaint have kept You company in the Garden, sharing Your bitterness and Your mortal anguish.... How many hearts in the course of the centuries have responded generously to Your invitation ... May this multitude of souls, then, in this supreme hour be a comfort to You, who, better than the disciples, share with You the distress of Your Heart, and cooperate with You for their own salvation and that of others. And grant that I also may be of their number, that I also may offer You some relief. (The Agony of Jesus, p. 22)

Encouraged by these words of both Popes and Saints, let us also lovingly share in Our Lord’s Passion through prayer, compassion and sacrifice, thus offering Him some relief and cooperating with Him towards our own salvation and the salvation of others.

We therefore would like to invite you to this communal celebration of the Passio Domini every Thursday at Assumption Grotto Parish in Detroit. The hours of the Passion are times of special grace and intercessory power. If you cannot make it every week, you might strive for once a month or every first Thursday of the month. Those who are members of the Confraternity of the Holy Guardian Angels are committed to commemorating the Passion every week on Thursdays and Fridays in some way, either at home or in a Church.

Celebrating in community has many advantages: it strengthens each of us in our commitment, increases the efficaciousness of our prayer and builds up a greater communion with one another. Further, the Holy Mass and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament are the most efficacious means we have of obtaining graces both for ourselves and for others.

We want to share this essential dimension of Opus Angelorum spirituality with all who wish to dedicate themselves to consoling the Heart of Christ in a special way, and to making reparation for our own sins and the sins of others. The Passion of Christ is at the center of every spirituality. Though this devotion demands sacrifice, it is one of the most important things we can do for our Church and country in these times. Jesus needs generous souls, who by God’s grace can accomplish great things through the little way of prayer and sacrifice.

Please come and join us as often as possible and spread the word! May God bless you and His holy angels lead you to the Heart of Christ and His holy Mother.

Schedule at Assumption Grotto
6:40 pm Confessions
7:00 pm Holy Mass
followed by celebration of the Passio Domini with
Adoration, Meditations, Prayers
8:50 pm Benediction