Tag Archives: Good Friday

Good Friday and the Cross

March 31, 2018

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This year I am trying to write about my Triduum experience in comparison from  when I wrote about it five years ago.

Each year the Triduum is the same but we experience it differently.

I have started the habit of  slowly meditated the stations of the cross using ‘A Walk of Mercy – The Divine Mercy Stations of the Cross.’  Saying the stations slowly has become a yearly tradition for me since discovering this version a few years ago. Each year, it seems a different station affects me. Initially it was the station where Jesus meets the women, this year it is the second station where Jesus takes up His cross.  The meditation that accompanies this station is from St. Ignatius.

Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty,

my memory, my understanding and my whole will.

All that I am and all that I possess you have given me:

I surrender it all to you

to be disposed of according to your will.

Give me only your love and your grace;

with these I will be rich enough,

And will desire nothing more.

I can’t seem to pray that prayer and really mean it.  Take my memory and my whole will?  Yikes!  Nope,  I can’t really mean that one.  How does taking up my cross mean I need to surrender.  I am Minnesota tough and I thought I need to tough things out to carry my cross.  I thought to “offer it up” meant to  be quiet and quit complaining.

This year as I celebrated the Passion Service I was struck by the immensity of the cross that was carried in for veneration. Five big adult men (and one was a retired professional football player) struggled to carry the huge cross into the church. Not one of these men could have handled the cross alone.

I watched as people I knew came forward to venerate the cross. Families who had lost their children at too young of an age, cancer survivors,  a couple struggling with infertility, a widower, a divorcee, a woman who placed her child for adoption, those struggling with aging parents and those with outward frailties with walkers and canes, each stepped up to embrace this huge cross.  Not a one of them could have budged the huge thing alone, yet alone carry it. I thought about my own crosses I have had to carry in my life; the loss of a son and sister as well as parents and in-laws, various work difficulties and financial setbacks, betrayals and deep misunderstandings as well as the healing in parts of myself that I continue to struggle with.

As I reflected on these struggles I realized that I was only able to truly heal when I quit carrying my cross alone.  It was when I allowed others to help me and ultimately when I surrendered the cross to Christ that I experienced healing.

I surrender it all to you…

I still have a long way to go in surrendering but Jesus, I trust in you may need to be my mantra for a very long time.

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Reflections on the Triduum ~ Good Friday

March 29, 2013

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Good Friday always confused me.  Like many people, Catholic and non-

On The Cross Licensed under Creative Commons - Archer10

On The Cross
Licensed under Creative Commons – Archer10

Catholic alike, the question is “Why do we call it good?”

In years past one part of the liturgy has always stood out to me.  The veneration of the cross. I would sit there in awe as I watched members of our parish walk up to kiss the wood of the cross.  One woman struggled with her walker as she made her way to the cross and knelt before it.  Another woman, widowed recently , venerated the cross and wiped a tear away as she returned to her seat.  Yet another person I saw was a man suffering from Cancer and wouldn’t probably see another Good Friday.  I’ve seen these scenes over the years…. And yet we call it “Good.”

Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Lk. 14:27)

“Embrace the cross!” the priest said from the pulpit, but it wasn’t his words that struck a cord with me, it was his actions.

As the priest enters into this liturgy – he lays down, prostrate on the ground in front of the altar.  It is a humbling action.  As I watched this action a phrase rung in my head.
“Bring us God!”

I pondered as to why this was my reaction to this gesture by the priest. Was it that empty tabernacle again? Or was their something more I was to understand?  I had just read Pope Frances homily from the Chrism Mass so it gave me a little insight as to why this action invoked such a strong  and strange response.  In his homily, Pope Frances instructs his priests to go out.  To go out to the people where they are suffering and to also go out of themselves.  And when they go to the outskirts:

“they [the people] feel that the fragrance of the Anointed One, of Christ, has come to them through us, they feel encouraged to entrust to us everything they want to bring before the Lord: “Pray for me, Father, because I have this problem”, “Bless me Father”, “Pray for me”

Bring us God through the Eucharist, bring us God through reconciliation, bring us God through the word because without God we couldn’t survive the crosses of our lives.

So that is why we call it “Good.”  With this one gesture of Christ dying on the cross for us He gives to us himself so we never have to carry our cross alone.

In fact it would be impossible to.

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Looking for Something Spiritual to do on Good Friday? Attend the Vigil Outside of Planned Parenthood

March 30, 2012

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GOOD FRIDAY PRAYER VIGIL (Organized by Pro-Life Action Ministries)

Photo courtesy of the Pro-Life Action Ministries website

 April 6, 2012

 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 New Planned Parenthood Mega-Abortion Facility (near University Ave. & Vandalia St., Saint Paul, MN)

On Good Friday join us in prayer next to Minnesota’s highest volume abortuary at it’s new location. Fifteen area pastors will lead in scripture and prayer each half hour throughout the day. A life-sized cross will be our sign as we carry the cross of abortion. An area will be cordoned off for a family-safe day of prayer. More than 2,000 Christians joined in prayer throughout the day at each of the last three Good Friday Vigils at the old location. Help us double those numbers on April 6!

We are encouraging groups to arrange a bus of their own. All buses must be registered with our office to find out the logistics of the day. We have another off-site parking lot for these group buses. For more information or to register a bus, contact Stephanie at 651-771-1500 or stephanie@plam.org.

Basic Things to Know:

  • Remember, more than any other event we organize, the Good Friday Vigil is a day of prayer. Pro-Life Action Ministries will only bring one sign, a life-sized cross. And the only signs you need to bring are yourselves!
  • We will have portable restrooms at the Vigil site. The street where we will be is closed to all traffic and our area will be surrounded by the police “bicycle” barricades. This will be as safe as ever for families.
  • Bring sun screen and all you need for your children, including water, etc.
  • Come ready to pray and be deeply moved by God.

Parking Information: (READ!)

  • There will be no parking available anywhere near the Mega-Planned Parenthood on Good Friday. Please do not even drive into the area.
  • We have arranged for parking at the University of St. Thomas at the St. Paul Seminary parking lots. You enter from Cretin Ave. at Grand Ave. Please follow the signs or the directions by our volunteers.
  • Buses will shuttle everyone to and from the Good Friday Prayer Vigil site. These buses will run the entire day from 8:00 am until our closing at 4:00 pm. There will be room for light strollers and everyone attending. If you are planning on being on site for the Opening Prayer, try to arrive as close to 8:00 am as possible. Also remember that the Vigil lasts all day and coming later in the Vigil has great advantages with parking and shuttles.
  • For a map to parking and more information: http://www.plam.org/brochures/GFVIGIL2012.pdf

Schedule:

  • Opening Prayer–Most Reverend John Nienstedt, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
  • 9:30–Reverend Roger Barcus, Pastor of St. Paul Apostolic Temple, St. Paul
  • 10:00–Most Reverend Lee Pichè, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
  • 10:30–Reverend Kenneth Krause, Outreach Pastor of Bethany Church, Bloomington
  • 11:00–Reverend Robert Grabner, Associate Pastor of St. Augustine/Holy Trinity, South Saint Paul
  • 11:30–Reverend David Johnson, Pastor of Elk River Evangelical Free Church, Elk River
  • 12:00–Reverend Michael Becker, Rector of St. John Vianney Seminary, St. Paul
  • 12:30–Reverend Randal Kasel, Pastor of the Churches of St. Paul and St. Michael, Zumbrota and Pine Island
  • 1:00–Reverand Larry Trawick, Associate Pastor Evangelist Crusaders Church, Minneapolis
  • 1:30–Reverend Humberto Palimino, Pastor Church of Saint Mark, St. Paul
  • 2:00–Reverend Leo Reck, Pastor of Word of Grace Baptist Church, Minneapolis
  • 2:30–Reverend Billy Russell, Pastor of Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Minneapolis
  • 3:00–Reverend Scott Carl, Associate Professor of Theology at Saint Paul Seminary, Saint Paul
  • 3:30–Reverend Fred Thoni, Pastor of Elmwood Evangelical Free Church, St. Anthony Village
  • 3:45–Reverend Brian Lother, Pastor of Hope Community Church, Corcoran
(Thank you Brian Gibson and the staff and volunteers of Pro-Life Action Ministries for their leadership in planning this vigil!)

 

 

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What is the Sacred Paschal Triduum?

March 29, 2012

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The Sacred Paschal Triduum is the three most solemn days of the liturgical year; Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil.  These most holy days celebrate the Paschal Mystery, first, the passion, suffering, and death of the Lord Jesus, followed by his resurrection, the triumph of the holy cross, and Christ’s decisive victory over sin and death.

The Triduum is a single feast, the Paschal Mystery, celebrated over three days, and they are the three holiest days of the entire liturgical year.  It is ironic, however, that feasts like the Assumption on August 15, All Saints Day on November 1, and the Immaculate Conception on December 8, are holy days of obligation while the three days of the Triduum are not.  There is no Church law that requires attendance for the Triduum, but good laws only make compulsory what should be done anyway.

For example, God gave the Third Commandment, “Keep holy the Sabbath day” (Ex 20:8), which serves as the basis for the Sunday Mass obligation.  We should want to go to Mass every Sunday.  It is only right to give thanks for the many blessings that we receive over the course of the week, and if we do not nourish our faith regularly, minimally at least once a week, with God’s holy Word and Holy Communion, it is likely that we will become spiritually malnourished and weaker in our faith.  If there was no law, a devout disciple of Jesus would want to go to Mass every Sunday anyway because it is the right thing to do, but because so many are lax with their faith and fail to do what should be presumed, a law was established to make mandatory what Christians should eagerly and gladly do on their own.

If there were ever three days that Christians should want to go to church to pray, it would be the Triduum.  These days rank at the head of the liturgical calendar.  They celebrate the most sacred mysteries of our faith, and they ought to be celebrated with the community at liturgy.  The Jews have three high holy days, three pilgrimage feasts, Passover, Pentecost, and Booths, and those who lived outside of Jerusalem made pilgrimage to the Temple to celebrate these solemn occasions.  The three days of the Triduum are our “high holy days,” our “pilgrimage feast,” and we ought to make pilgrimage from our homes to church to commemorate and honor how the Lord Jesus laid down his life for us, his friends, for our salvation.

Please make it a top priority to go to church to celebrate the Triduum this year.  Reserve the time.  Rearrange your schedule if necessary.  Take some personal time off from work.  Suspend errands or jobs around the house.  Drop everything.  Plan to attend the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday, the Passion of the Lord on Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday.  These days may be optional, but none are more important.  Enter into the mystery.

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Why fasting is a good idea

October 14, 2011

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fasting illustration

CNS photo illustration/Nancy Wiechec

I don’t imagine many people enjoy fasting. I’ll bet you don’t wake up on Ash Wednesday and say, ” How great that I get to eat a lot less food today!”

Although fasting isn’t easy, its spiritual benefits are available to Catholics all year, not just when it’s required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Even though Ash Wednesday is months away, I’m bringing this up now because earlier this month Jews fasted from food and drink for 25 hours in observance of Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement, the most important day in the Jewish liturgical year. This fast, which is noted in the Bible is the climax of 10 days of penitence starting with Rosh Hashanah. In biblical days, Jews also weren’t supposed to wash or wear shoes during this fast.

Fasting from wearing shoes?

Shoes don’t enter into the Catholic definition of fasting, which is the “complete or partial abstention from food.”  Another root of the word means to hold, to keep, to observe or to restrain one’s self. The Latin root word is of an animal intestine which is always empty.

Fasting has been practiced since ancient times for a variety of reasons, including deliverance from calamity and mourning.

The Church considers fasting, along with prayer and almsgiving, as one of the acts of religion through which Catholics express interior penance. (CCC 1434, 1969) Fasting is part of the Fourth Precept of the Church: “You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.” (CCC 2043)

The Church’s fasting rules are pretty clear: Catholics from their 18th birthday to their 59th birthday (the beginning of their 60th year) are to reduce the amount of food eaten from normal. The Church defines this as one meal a day, and two smaller meals which if added together would not exceed the main meal in quantity. This fasting is required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. The fast  is broken by eating between meals and by drinks which could be considered food (milkshakes, but not milk).  Alcoholic beverages technically don’t break the fast but they don’t quite fit with the spirit of doing penance.

(Catholics also fast from food and drink, except water and medicine, for at least the period of one hour before receiving Holy Communion. (Canon 919)

In her wisdom, the Church gives us a good reason to fast: to make us stronger. Natural law shows us we need to fast to overcome our concupiscence.  Or as the Catechism puts it, the required fasts are times of  “ascesis and penance which prepare us for liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.” (CCC 2043)

Fasting makes sense all year long. Not that we have to do it year round but the Church encourages us to do some kind of penance. It could be fasting or giving up something else we enjoy to grow in holiness, for a special intention or in thanksgiving.

Other benefits of fasting

As the early Church writer Tertullian put it, there are even more advantages to any weight loss resulting from fasting:

“More easily, it may be, through the strait gate of salvation will slenderer flesh enter; more speedily will lighter flesh rise; longer in the sepulcher will drier flesh retain its firmness.”

He gave the early Christians another good reason to fast:

“…an over-fed Christian will be more necessary to bears and lions perchance, than to God; only that, even to encounter beasts, it will be his duty to practice emaciation.”

I’m not sure that’s what Jesus meant when he said we should try not to look like we’re  fasting. (Matt. 6:16-18)  He does say we will be rewarded if we fast the right way: “Your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

 

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