All posts tagged: Good Friday

Meditations for Good Friday, 2016

Editorial Note: The following piece was written when the feast of the Annunciation and Good Friday fell on March 25, 2016. Since this will not happen again until 2157 (when the Internet will be replaced by telepathy) we’re publishing it this year since the themes of the essay are essential to Passiontide.  Today is Good Friday, March 25, 2016. It is also the feast of the Annunciation, the Conception of Our Lord Jesus Christ—celebrated on 25 March because that date is precisely nine months before the Feast of the Nativity on December 25. Good Friday also fell on March 25th four hundred and eight years ago, in the year 1608. Not surprisingly, John Donne wrote a poem to commemorate the paradox of the day’s liturgical significance. And thanks to my friends Kirsten Stirling and Greg Kneidel of the John Donne Society, who reminded the rest of us via email, I was not allowed to forget! Here is Donne’s poem: Vppon the Annunciation, when Good-friday fell vppon the same daye [1608] Tamely fraile body, abstaine to …

“Standing by the Cross of Jesus was His Mother” (Jn 19:25)

The crucifix pictured above uniquely interprets the last recorded encounter of the Blessed Mother and her Son, Jesus. Its Brazilian artist, Fr. Angel Vincente, created this crucifix in 1960 and gifted it to the Schoenstatt Shrine in Santiago, Chile. Due to the close union between Christ and Mary depicted on the image it received the name Unity Cross. The inseparable bond between Christ and his Mother is archetypical for the Church and hence for the relationship of each Christian to Christ. Both persons are placed within the confines of the Cross: Jesus, nailed through his hands and feet, and Mary with the cup in her hand, standing a little lower but still fully enveloped by the Cross’ outline. Mary’s gaze and arm are directed upwards. Mother and Son, the first redeemed and the Redeemer, look at each other. She loyally abides at his side in this cruel hour, and it appears as if the dying Jesus has elevated his Mother to the most possible intimate union with him. From crib to Cross, Mary is gradually …

Music of Holy Week: Good Friday

On this Good Friday, as we recall the Passion and Death of Jesus, we gaze upon the Cross. On the one hand, we recoil from the Cross in horror as the instrument of torture and execution, the gibbet on which the Savior of the world hung in agony and breathed his last. On the other hand, we rejoice in the Cross as the means by which Jesus Christ accomplished our salvation and the salvation of the whole world. During the Good Friday liturgy, we proclaim the Passion narrative and mourn for Christ as we recall his agony and death, and yet, moments later, we adore and venerate the Cross, acknowledging that it is “our only hope.” Today’s musical pieces allow us to gaze at the Cross in anguish and in awe. The text from the first piece, Eli, Eli (1928) by Hungarian-born composer György Deak-Bárdos (1905–1991), comes from the Passion according to St. Matthew: And about three o’clocl Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabacthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why …

Fiat et Consummatum est

Tomorrow we enter into the celebration of the Sacred Paschal Triduum, the climax of the liturgical year, commemorating the Last Supper, the Passion and Death, and the Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. This year, Good Friday falls on March 25, thereby superceding the Solemnity of the Incarnation (the Annunciation), which is normally celebrated on that day, marking exactly nine months before Christmas.[1] There exists, however, a custom that can be traced at least as far as Tertullian (c. 155 – c. 240 AD), to make the Lord’s life on earth an exact number of years, even down to the day. Accordingly, March 25 became also the date of the Crucifixion. This tradition entered ancient martyrologies and was supported by homilists of the day. Subsequently, other customs developed. Calendars in the Middle Ages, for example, listed for March 25 the following events: The Creation of the World The Fall of Adam and Eve The Sacrifice of Isaac The Exodus of the Jews from Egypt The Incarnation The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus Christ The Last …