[ Listening to? ] John Stainer’s The Cruficixion (NAXOS 8.777624)
Hope that you my readers are having a blessed Good Friday. It’s now past 1pm as I write this and as I do, the heavens are starting to cry with rain (however minimal), echoing the sentiments of my heart (and others) as those who celebrate the Good Friday liturgy in the afternoon remember Christ’s crucifixion.
We had our service this morning and apart from having Holy Communion (personally I prefer having it the night before on Maundy Thursday given that I’ve re-discovered the place of fasting on solemnities like Ash Wednesday and Good Friday), we re-enacted the crucifixion (with Ah Seh taking the role of Jesus). I was talking to Rev. Fitzsimmons afterwards and he was relating to me that he had a slight revelation from God to his heart at how desolate the disciples must have felt seeing their Lord and their Master being nailed to that cross. Not only them, but I too felt like that as well deep down in my heart.
The hymn for Terce, Sext & None on Good Friday (Pange, lingua, gloriosi)
Lord, we sing the glorious triumph of the Cross on which you died:
There you gave your life for sinners and for them did life provide.
Pierced by lance, your side was opened; streams of grace came from within
In the form of blood and water, blotting out our stains of sin.
On the Cross with arms extended, you now beg the world to hear:
Come all nations and all people, to your King and Lord draw near.
To the Father, Son, and Spirit, equal praise be given now,
As we call to mind Christ’s Passion, and in deep repentance bow. Amen.
Vigils (otherwise known as Matins, Orthros or the Office of Readings) this morning was a wonderful period of silent reflection. The first reading in the breviary was taken from Lamentations 2:8-15; 3:1-9 – thoroughly appropriate for Good Friday (reminded me of those words Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani). The second reading was from St. John Chrysostom’s Catecheses which ties in with Hebrews 9:11-28 and where Chrysostom exposits on the power of Christ’s blood through the foreshadowings of Christ that were recorded in the Old Testament.
From Benedictine Daily Prayer (2005: Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN):
Do you want to know the power of Christ’s blood? Return with me, then, to the foreshadowings of Christ which the earlier Scriptures record.
“Slaughter a one-year-old lamb and smear your doorposts with its blood,” said Moses. Was the blood of an animal to rescue humanity, the image of God? Yes – not because it was an animal’s blood, but because it foreshadowed the Blood of the Lord. If today Satan sees, not doorposts smeared with lamb’s bood, but the mouths of the faithful glistening with the Blood of the true Lamb, will he not pass by far more switfly than the destroying angel of old?
Would you like to discern another property of that Blood? Look to its source. It flowed from the Lord’s side when, after his death, a soldier pierced his breast and water and blood flowed out. The water is a symbol of baptism, the blood is a symbol of the Eucharist.
But let us not hurry over this great mystery. I said that water and blood are symbols of baptism and other sacred actions. For the Church is founded upon rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit in baptism, and was born of Christ’s side as Eve was from Adam’s. See, then, what a spouse Christ unites to himself and with what food he nourishes us. Of his Blood we are born, with his Blood we are fed. As a mother feeds the child of her blood and of her love with her milk, so Christ regenerates and nourishes us with his Blood.
– St. John Chrysostom, Cat. 3:13-19
I’m hoping tomorrow night I’ll be able to participate along with the whole catholic (i.e. universal) Church in the Easter Vigil. I may not get to a church to do so, but rest assured that the readings from the lectionary will be on my mind.
Write more on Pascha Day.
Pax en Christo +,