Monday, April 06, 2009

Palm Sunday - Got your palms?

The palms are fresh and ready for
distribution to the faithful.

The Gospel, taken from St. Matthew, 16: 1-9, describes the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem when the populace cut boughs from the trees and strewed them as He passed, crying, Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Then follow an oration, a preface, the Sanctus, and Benedictus. In the five prayers which are said the priest asks God to bless the branches of palm or olive, that they may be a protection to all places into which they may be brought, that the right hand of God may expell all adversity, bless and protect all who dwell in them, who have been redeemed by our Lord Jesus Christ. The prayers make reference to the dove bringing back the olive branch to Noah's ark and to the multitude greeting Our Lord; they say that the branches of palms signify victory over the prince of death and the olive the advent of spiritual unction through Christ.
The blessing of the palms
Palm branches have been used by all nations as an emblem of joy and victory over enemies; in Christianity as a sign of victory over the flesh and the world according to Psalm 91:13, "Justus ut palma florebit"; hence especially associated with the memory of the martyrs. The palms blessed on Palm Sunday were used in the procession of the day, then taken home by the faithful and used as a sacramental. They were preserved in prominent places in the house, in the barns, and in the fields, and thrown into the fire during storms...
You can read much more historical, biblical and referenced detailing HERE...

Our children love to kneel and receive their very own palms every Palm Sunday. They are so fresh and pliable, it's easy to see why the faithful used them for historical purposes, including waving them around during Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Making our crosses from the fresh palms

Let's face it though, they dry up all too soon, become quite brittle, and tear easily. Instead of facing long brittle palms which also tend to brown slightly in color if left to dry if left as is over time. In recent years while they are all still fresh, we have always attempted to make formed crosses and using them for display around our home.

Since all of the palms vary in size, thickness and shape, each cross is unique to their very own palm, so one never knows how well they will turn out until they are complete.

Reminders everywhere of the glorious
days ahead with the passion of Christ
soon to be behind us.

This year I decided to try something new and placed them into an thick telephone book soon after we made our crosses. After allowing them to sit overnight, today I am tickled to find they turned out really lovely!

Our St. Nicholas Icon even gets one, a visual focal point in our kitchen, a gift from a good friend on the Westcoast whom I always think about and pray for whenever I view it. :-) Hugs Karen!

Prayers were lifted today for our daughter's shoulder surgery healing, and for our nephew's wife Angela with a new babe on the way, hoping her forced bedrest will heal the tear in her placenta. Keep your feet up Angela! Ladies, thinking of you both over here. Love you. xx