All posts tagged: Good Friday

Stations of the Cross 11-12: His Final Breath Breathes and Bears Us

Throughout this Holy Week, we are going to be sharing a series of poetic meditations on the Stations of the Cross by Malcom Guite. An Anglican priest-poet currently serving as Chaplain of Girton College at the University of Cambridge, Guite has published eight books of his poetry, with two more forthcoming. His collection Sounding the Seasons comprises sonnets composed for various feasts and seasons throughout the liturgical year, including this series. We are grateful for Guite’s kind permission to share these sonnets on Church Life Journal. At the moment of Jesus’ Death during the proclamation of the Passion, the Church bids us kneel, silent in the face of so great a mystery. With silent hearts, then, we ponder the Light that darkness cannot overcome, the Love that gives unto the end, the Death by which death dies. “We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you, because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.” XI. Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross See, as they strip the robe from off his back And spread …

Good Friday: Creation Always Exists in Darkness

The predominant Christological concept governing William Congdon’s 1960 painting “Crucifix no. 2” is that of kenosis. The painting conveys a sense of abject abandonment, leaving no doubt that Christ’s self-sacrificial act of obedience, “to the point of death—even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8), is indeed an ultimate form of self-emptying, and especially so, not in spite of, because of his being the God-Man. Beyond this immediate kenotic impression conveyed by the work, the Christological insights of Hans Urs von Balthasar can flesh out further the significance of this particular representation of Christ. How we understand Christ’s relationship to his mission and the significance of this relationship in Congdon’s image will be our focus. Then we will consider what it means to involve ourselves in the viewing of Christ’s mission–as Congdon’s representation does—especially in light of the fact that Christ is the ultimate form of revelation, the image that in fact structures all revelation. We shall ultimately see that theological reflection and artistic representation inform and draw out the deepest meanings of one another so …

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 …