Tag Archives: Good Friday

Good Friday for the Orthodox Christians

Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily, Italy. 12th-13th cenToday our Orthodox Christian brothers and sisters are observing their Paschal Triduum according to the Julian calendar. The beauty of our Church is the ability to allow different and venerable traditions to co-exist.

We can do nothing apart from the Paschal Mystery of Christ. Hence, it is key to keep in mind that the Cross and Resurrection is central to our Hope in communion with God. In this Mystery we come to know the transformative nature of Love. Regrettably, too many Catholics and dare I say, Orthodox, have forgotten the centrality of the Mystery.

Let us pray for our Orthodox brethren during these days.

“Today he who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon a Tree,
He who is King of the Angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns.
He who wraps the heaven in clouds is wrapped in mocking purple.
He who freed Adam in the Jordan receives a blow on the face.
The Bridegroom of the Church is transfixed with nails.
The Son of the Virgin is pierced by a lance,.
We worship your Sufferings, O Christ,
We worship your Sufferings, O Christ,
We worship your Sufferings, O Christ,
Show us also your glorious Resurrection.”
~Antiphon XV, Holy Friday Matins

Splinters of the Cross

A friend of mine wrote this poem three years ago and recently shared it with me. “Splinters of the Cross” makes for a good meditation today, Good Friday.

Splinters of the Cross

Bolek Kabala

May 15, 2013

36_nailiLike men hounded, harried

we pressed on, pelted by the rain

The hulk of the shipwreck behind us, obscured by the tempest

What demon had driven us to capsize here?

Our clothes were tattered

blood flowing from the pricks of brambles and thorns

the gleam of a wolf’s eye in the darkness

the chant of a crazed medicine man in the void

Lightning tore the sky asunder

And we started up the hills, the rock, the crag

Barren

Desolate

Crying for mercy, we struggled on

But wrath was upon us

It drove us onwards, and upwards

Until we could find a way forward only on our knees

Lord, will you not intercede on behalf of a sinner?

De Profundis

Then the sky was stilled

The sulfurous acridity of insomnia lifted

And lo, we beheld it

The Cross

The Cross atop the Rock of our madness and despair

A shaft of light broke through the clouds

It was a cross – there could no longer be any doubt

Its splinters beckoned

A creeping vine burst forth, and I exhaled

Yes, maybe green would grow here again

Good Friday

Christ of Saint John of the Cross - Salvador DalìI know a priest who tells me that Good Friday is a day for us who to gaze upon the crucifixion as an attraction to self-consummation. Moreover, it is a day of panic at the threat of annihilation. The Cross of Jesus is a most power reality. It is not a decoration.
“Now it is Holy Week. On Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter, in these four days if you go inside without simply looking Christ in the face, but rather preoccupied about your sins or about perfection or about things to meditate on, you come out tired and pick up where you left off. Looking Christ in the face, instead, you change. But to change, you must truly look Him in the face, with the desire for good, the desire for truth:  ‘I am capable of all things, Lord, if I am with you who are my strength.’ It is a You that dominates, not things to respect.”

(Fr. Giussani Is It Possible to Live This Way? Vol 2, Hope)

 

 

 

The Crucified Savior of Humanity

Eric Gill Crucifixion 1915.jpg

Eric Gill, Crucifixion and host 1915.

In that crucified Man, … the Son of God, even death itself takes on new meaning and purpose: it is redeemed

the Cross of Christ.jpg

Once more in meditation, prayer and song, we have recalled Jesus’s journey along the way of the cross: a journey seemingly hopeless, yet one that changed human life and history, and opened the way to “new heavens and a new earth” (cf. Rev 21:1).  Especially today, Good Friday, the Church commemorates with deep spiritual union the death of the Son of God on the cross; in his cross she sees the tree of life, which blossoms in new hope.

The experience of suffering and of the cross touches all mankind; it touches the family too.  How often does the journey become wearisome and difficult!  Misunderstandings, conflicts, worry for the future of our children, sickness and problems of every kind.  These days too, the situation of many families is made worse by the threat of unemployment and other negative effects of the economic crisis.  The Way of the Cross which we have spiritually retraced this evening invites all of us, and families in particular, to contemplate Christ crucified in order to have the force to overcome difficulties.  The cross of Christ is the supreme sign of God’s love for every man and woman, the superabundant response to every person’s need for love.  At times of trouble, when our families have to face pain and adversity, let us look to Christ’s cross.  There we can find the courage and strength to press on; there we can repeat with firm hope the words of Saint Paul: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom 8:35, 37).

In times of trial and tribulation, we are not alone; the family is not alone.  Jesus is present with his love, he sustains them by his grace and grants the strength needed to carry on, to make sacrifices and to overcome every obstacle.  And it is to this love of Christ that we must turn when human turmoil and difficulties threaten the unity of our lives and our families.  The mystery of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection inspires us to go on in hope: times of trouble and testing, when endured with Christ, with faith in him, already contain the light of the resurrection, the new life of a world reborn, the passover of all those who believe in his word.

In that crucified Man who is the Son of God, even death itself takes on new meaning and purpose: it is redeemed and overcome, it becomes a passage to new life.  “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn 12:24).  Let us entrust ourselves to the Mother of Christ.  May Mary, who accompanied her Son along his way of sorrows, who stood beneath the cross at the hour of his death, and who inspired the Church at its birth to live in God’s presence, lead our hearts and the hearts of every family through the vast mysterium passionis towards the mysterium paschale, towards that light which breaks forth from Christ’s resurrection and reveals the definitive victory of love, joy and life over evil, suffering and death.  Amen.


Pope Benedict XVI

Address following the Via Crucis

Good Friday

6 April 2012

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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