Friday, April 06, 2007



Alone with God
By Father J. Heyrman, S.J.

Good Friday

1. Today’s liturgical colour is black; yet during the adoration of the cross the Church sings, “By this wood has joy come to the whole world.” While with the entire congregation we pay homage to the cross, we meditate with wonder and gratitude on “the mystery of the cross”.

2. Petition: We pray for the grace to draw light, strength and confidence from the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I. The Mystery of the Cross

This mystery has “the breadth and length, and height, and depth of the charity of Christ which surpasseth all knowledge” (Eph 3: 18, 19). There is superabundant matter for meditation, wonder and grateful praise in the thought that here Good conquered evil through love.

Thy mystery of the cross is a mystery of weakness, of impotence, of consummate failure: Jesus is betrayed, denied, condemned as a blasphemer and sedition-monger, mocked as a fool.

A mystery of God’s power: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself” (John 12:32). By His death on the cross He overcomes powers which till then had ruled supreme: the prince of the world, sin and death.

A mystery of foolishness: To the Gentiles, who search for wisdom, a crucified God is foolishness; more so His resurrection, which is sheer absurdity.

A mystery of divine Wisdom: “It is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; and the prudence of the prudent I will reject” (1 Cor. 1:19). The wisdom of the Greeks has only scorn for Christian wisdom; yet the day comes when the latter will illumine the former.

A mystery of wickedness: Was it possible that men could treat so ignominiously Him, who not only was absolutely guiltless, but also infinitely good? How could they prefer Barabbas to Him? These were not the deeds of human beings, but the works of the prince of darkness, of Satan himself.

A mystery of righteousness: Man, who had rebelled against God, owed his Creator a debt, which he could not pay. Jesus assumed the burden and paid our debt on the cross. “He blotted out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, which was contrary to us. And he hath taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross” (Col. 2:14).

It is a mystery of deadly hatred and of life-giving love.

II. Until the End of Time

Still in our own days the cross is to the world a stumbling block, and utter foolishness (1 Cor. 1:24). To worldlings Christ and His Cross are the enemies of life, the destroyers of earthly enjoyment. Even in many a Christian land the Crucifix is ordered to be removed from schools, judgement halls and hospital wards. In his epistle to the Philippians St. Paul mourned over those Christians who behaved “as enemies of the cross of Christ … whose god is their belly” (Phil. 2:18, 19).

On Good Friday the solemn adoration of the cross is held in all the churches: the whole congregation, the entire family, offer public homage to the cross, which has been just unveiled by the celebrant and is displayed for the veneration of all.

During this moving ceremony we should ponder over the place we give to the cross in our personal life: how eagerly we embrace it, when in the shape of trials, it is offered to us, how patiently we carry it, whether we truly tread the “Royal Road of the Holy Cross”, of which The Imitation of Christ speaks with such unction.

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9: 23). “He has gone before you, carrying His cross, and died for you upon the cross, that you too might have strength to carry your cross, and be willing to die upon the cross … In the cross is salvation, in the cross is life, in the cross is sure protection from enemies, in the cross is an abundance of heavenly delight, in the cross is courage, in the cross is gladness of heart, in the cross is height of virtue, in the cross is perfection of sanctity.” (Imitation of Christ 12:2).

The cross is the symbol of love, of suffering and salvation: “Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven … Then shall all the tribes of the earth see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty” (Mt. 24:30). In what measure “the tribes of the earth” and each individual human being shall have paid homage to, or rejected, Christ and His cross, in that measure they will, on that day and throughout eternity, rejoice or lament.

“The cross stands; the world moves on.” Such is the trustful and triumphal motto of the Carthusian Order.

Prayer: Hail, Cross, our hope, on thee we call, Who keep this mournful festival. Grant to the just increase of grace, And every sinner’s crimes efface. Blest Trinity! We praises sing To Thee, from whom all graces spring; Celestial crowns on those bestow, Who conquer by the Cross below. (Vexilla Regis).

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Blogger Francis said...

“Try to continue maintaining yourself in the exercise of Christian confidence in God, as one who is in service to him who essentially is love itself. Encouraged by this trust in divine goodness, we generously move forward with great strides along the path of virtue and wisdom, in holy fashion, rejoice in the silence of our hearts. Let our gardens of delight be the most sacred wounds of Jesus, the source of grace, the mine of the purest gold of love. Let them be our comfort, our consolation; and therein, let us set up our spiritual mansion during the brief days of this life.” -St. Gaspar del Bufalo

8:24 AM, April 07, 2007  
Blogger rachelanne said...

Hello Francis,

Thank you for the excerpt by St. Gaspar. Very beautiful!

"Let our gardens of delight be the most sacred wounds of Jesus, the source of grace, the mine of the purest gold of love. Let them be our comfort, our consolation; and therein, let us set up our spiritual mansion during the brief days of this life.”

=)God Bless!

6:14 PM, April 07, 2007  

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