By Andel Früh (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (, via Wikimedia Commons

“For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”

2 Cor. 2:15

At this year’s Easter Vigil I was struck by the scent of the freshly blessed Chrism oil that we used for Confirmation.  I tried to recall Newman’s prayer on the fragrance of Christ but I couldn’t remember it.  Well, here it is:

Dear Jesus help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go.  Flood our souls with your spirit and life.  Penetrate and possess our whole being, so utterly, that our lives may be only a radiance of yours.  Shine through us.  And be so in us, that every soul we come in contact with may feel your presence in our soul.  Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus!  Stay with us, and then we shall begin to shine as you shine; so to shine as to be a light to others; the light, O Jesus, will be all from you; none of it will be ours; it will be you, shining on others through us.  Let us thus praise you in the way you love best by shining on those around us. Let us preach you without preaching, not by words but by our example,  by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what we do, the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you.  Amen.

– John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890)

Newman’s Prayer on the Fragrance of Christ

Deacon Lincoln’s Log 4-13-14


By Pietro lorenzetti [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“The crowds preceding him and those following kept crying out and saying:  ‘Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest.’”  (Mt. 21:9)

“[Pilate asked the crowd] ‘Then what shall I do with Jesus called Christ?’  They all said, ‘Let him be crucified!””  (Mt. 27:22)

This Sunday we celebrate the beginning of Holy Week.  The technical name for this day is:  Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord.  This name hints at the dual dimension of today’s feast.

The first dimension is pointed out by our entrance procession.  Instead of gathering in the church as usual, we gather elsewhere and hear the proclamation of the Gospel recounting Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem.  We hear of the crowd singing “Hosanna” (which means “Save!” or “Give salvation!”) and rejoicing.  They welcome Jesus as a king who has come to set his people free.  There is a spirit of excitement and anticipation as they wait for Jesus to free his people from Roman domination.  We join the crowd in this song as we enter the church.

But it is not long before we encounter the second dimension of this day.  It is one of two days a year that we hear the proclamation of the Passion.  On Good Friday, we hear St. John’s account of the passion; today we hear Matthew’s.  Moments after joining the crowds cries of “Hosanna” and welcoming Jesus as a king who will save us by his power, we join the crowd in crying out for Jesus’ crucifixion when he does not meet our expectations.

The dual nature of today’s liturgy points out the weakness of our hearts to surrender to the power of God revealed in love and mercy.  It points us firmly toward the full celebration of the Paschal Mystery through the celebrations of the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter).  Through the celebration of these sacred days this week, may our hearts be strengthened to surrender to the love and mercy of our God.


Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood


Deacon Lincoln’s Log 4-6-14

grave with sunlight and angel

“Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’”

Jn. 11:21

“Although the Resurrection [of Jesus] was an historical event that could be verified by the sign of the empty tomb and by the reality of the apostles’ encounters with the risen Christ, still it remains at the very heart of the mystery of faith as something that trancends and surpasses history.”

CCC 647 (emphasis added)

Martha was Jesus’ friend.  When her brother Lazarus was sick, she called Jesus to come and to heal him.  She knew that Jesus was a miracle worker and had the power to heal people who were ill.  She trusted that Jesus would come and deliver her brother from his illness.

Jesus didn’t come, and Lazarus died.

It didn’t make sense.  Jesus could heal.  Why didn’t he heal Lazarus?

When Jesus finally arrived he wept.  Lazarus illness and death are not what Jesus wanted for him.  Jesus is firmly on the side of life.  His delay is a mystery.  Illness does not make sense.

But he does promise Martha something.  “Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die” (Jn. 11:26).”  He promises eternal life.  This eternal life is not just life free of illness or pain; it is beyond human experience.

As a sign that Jesus has power over death itself, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, freeing him from the bonds of death.  Illness and death are not the final word.  Life is!

The sign of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead is a foreshadowing of Jesus’ resurrection.  In his resurrection, Jesus invites us to a life that is beyond our experience.  It is not simply life as we know it; eternal life is something more.  Eternal life begins now, in the midst of our suffering and illness.  Lazarus is a sign for us of the life that never ends.


Dcn. Lincoln A. Wood

photo credit: Key To The Kingdom by Mike is licensed by CC BY-NC-ND 2.0