Grounded In Good Friday
Why Good Friday is "Groundhog Day" for True Catholics
Deja vu all over again every year: That is the wisdom of holy Mother Church in repeating the liturgy, prayers and doctrines that sustained souls for two millenniums. None of that would have been possible without Christ's ultimate sacrifice for us. We should always seek to find shelter in the shadow of the cross and find our strength there in the Infallible Supreme Being and eschew once and for all the prognostications of finite beings.
"Whether we like it or not, Good Friday is a day of spiritual, moral, practical and eternal reckoning. On this day when we recall just how much Christ loved and sacrificed for us, we are jolted into meditating upon just how much we have shown, or failed to show, that we love and sacrifice for Him. Do we see the shadow of our sinfulness, arrogance, weakness, cowardice, pride, hypocrisy, lack of forgiveness, insolence, defiance and disloyalty? Do we then scurry back into our hole to hide from those shadows, announcing six more weeks, months, years or decades of sin?"
According to "Punxsutawney Phil", spring was supposed to be here for he did not see his shadow back on Groundhog Day, which for true Catholics was really the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sadly, those who are influenced by silly superstitions such as an oversized, wooly woodchuck forecasting the weather, wouldn't understand the significance of that feast...nor could they explain the inaccuracies of such secular omens in light of the terrible snow storm that hit last week on the east coast.
But there's another storm much, much worse if we are not prepared and, no, Al "I am the source of all knowledge" Gore, I am not talking about "global warming" but "mortal warming" as in hotter than hell, if you get my drift as to the destiny of too many souls. How does this all tie in? Think about it. For as we approach Holy Week, it has become very apparent that Good Friday is the real Groundhog Day for anyone who claims to be a true, loyal Catholic.
Two Groundhog Themes
First of all, as I noted, most people know that Groundhog Day is the day when some groundhog goes out of its home and looks for its shadow. If it sees said shadow, it will be frightened and scurry back into its home predicting six more weeks of winter. If, however, it fails to see its shadow, then that means that winter will soon end. Beyond the details of this secular folklore tradition, we can draw out the theme that Groundhog Day is supposedly a day when we get a glimpse of where we are going in terms of the environment, with a sense of the intensity and duration of upcoming bad weather.
Secondly, a movie called Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray was about a recurring day which continually tormented the main character. At first he did not realize what was happening and, when he came to see what was transpiring, he could not seem to stem or alter the repetitious and predictable events, leading to much frustration. Beyond the details of this secular film, we can also draw out the second theme that sometimes events or special days seem to repeat familiar cycles, perhaps mocking our ability to alter or revise their appointed impact.
Good Friday as a Day of Reckoning
Whether we like it or not, Good Friday is a day of spiritual, moral, practical and eternal reckoning. On this day when we recall just how much Christ loved and sacrificed for us, we are jolted into meditating upon just how much we have shown, or failed to show, that we love and sacrifice for Him. Do we see the shadow of our sinfulness, arrogance, weakness, cowardice, pride, hypocrisy, lack of forgiveness, insolence, defiance and disloyalty? Do we then scurry back into our hole to hide from those shadows, announcing six more weeks, months, years or decades of sin?
On the other hand, do we not see such shadows because we have tried our best to be loyal and dedicated to our God? The proof is in the results and the fruits or lack thereof are most obvious on Good Friday in how we approach, honor and utilize that day.
Good Friday as a Recurring Theme
Just as the Murray film told of a repetitive journey with recurring themes, Good Friday has been that and more for centuries. Obviously, we recall the events of Holy Week over and over each year, including Holy Thursday and the institution of The Holy Eucharist. We also go over The Stations of The Cross and the Via Dolorosa each year and make a point to pray the Way of the Cross often during Lent. However, there is a new, more recent recurring theme coming forth each year during this time.
Increasingly, the forces of evil have sought Lent, Good Friday and Easter as targets to spit, mock and blaspheme our Dear Savior Jesus Christ over and over as they did long ago. Unsatisfied with his fifteen minutes of sway during Christ's Passion, the devil has increasingly sought ways to continue the assault all year round and especially, it seems, during Lent, Holy Week and specifically Good Friday and Easter. Of course, we recognize that this temporary sway is simply that allowed by The Almighty for His purposes and by His permitting Will, rather than His ordaining Will.
His ordaining Will is that all would hear His words and respond for He is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Alas, His permitting Will is that many are called, few are chosen. Because of hardened hearts, we are in no short supply of blasphemy and sacrilege in these dark times. Everything from the vile DaVinci Code to The Last Temptation of Christ to the recent Lost Tomb of Jesus drips with such detestable hatred and disrespect for Our Lord that total rejection and determination to speak out against such vulgar offense is practically a litmus test for true Catholicism. Simply put, anyone who condones, excuses, rationalizes or sheepishly and meekly allows such vile insult against Our Lord, Our Blessed Mother and our Faith cannot in any seriousness represent him or herself as a true Catholic.
Good Friday as An Equal Opportunity Employer
One of the most popular statements among Catholics is the notion that "I would have done something if I was there" on the streets of Jerusalem that Good Friday. We all love to imagine ourselves braver than Veronica, more helpful than Simeon and the savior of our Savior on that path of suffering, sacrifice and salvation. The truth is, all of our bravado is just that, smoke in the wind and useless in practical terms, unless we choose to use Good Friday as the tool that it lends itself out to us each year.
Like it or not, there is a very real Via Dolorosa for our Faith right now. Christ and His Blessed Mother are being assailed from all sides and from the most insidious of forces.
Being a Christian is nearing the level of hatred that Nero fanned. The societal pastime is indeed mocking Christ and everything He stands for.
Saying we are His followers is just smoke in the wind unless we are willing to put our mouth, our soul, our mind, our sweat and our blood on the line for Him. We must not merely be willing to absorb ridicule and criticism in His Name. We must actually seek that reprobation as a loving opportunity to unite ourselves with Him Who has loved us so much. Every day increasingly provides us with these opportunities, but Good Friday is among the best of possibilities.
For once, let us stop boasting of being a cross between Veronica and Simon and simply carry the cross which is our only key to earning the precious title of true follower of Our Dear Lord.
The whole theme of Groundhog Day was repetition of the same thing with different results. The whole theme of Good Friday is repetition of our commitment to Christ and all He taught and handed down through His One True Church, outside of which there is no salvation. For if we are not rooted in repetition by continually making a sincere examination of conscience, daily prayer, the Rosary, and conditioning both our soul and body to the discipline of being His disciples, then when the wind and storms come we will flee at the slightest disturbance as so many did on that first dark Friday when divine Revelation tells us that only His Own Mother, His beloved disciple John, a sinner (The Magdalen), two rich men - Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus - remained with Him to the bitter end. That's literally a handful of friends. The rest all scattered even though thousands upon thousands, including His Own Apostles and man He appointed the first pope, had seen first hand the miracles and wonders. Yet, they all fled.
Why? Because their faith was weak. "O ye of little faith!". Their faith was weak because they took for granted that the groundhog would show up and solve all their problems. They assumed and you know what that means! By assuming, they did not heed Christ's words to "watch for you know not the time nor the hour." He warned constantly against the snares of the devil, and yet they panicked when it counted because they had failed to subscribe to the repetition of prayer, penance and sacrifice to strengthen themselves against the world, the flesh and the devil. Most were looking for temporal rewards and signs from Him as so many today gear their weather plans on a rodent! Like rats, so many will follow the false prophets to the abyss and only those who
depend on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will escape from the shadow of original sin and be eligible for everlasting life. That is what it means to go whole-hog for Christ in being grounded in the Faith.
While the world watches the hole for the wooly rat to appear, true Catholics realize the hole dug for the wood of the Cross is where the true prognostication of our spiritual welfare matters for if we do not see the shadow of the cross then we are blind to the grace He gives to all who choose to accept His greatest gift to us. As we approach Holy Week pray over and over and over for those who put their faith in a groundhog and then rue the same rut they have burrowed into. Only the light of faith and the grace shed from that Cross will dig them out of their morose, malaise, and madness.
Yet, speaking of repetition, God forgives the sinner over and over and over if the latter has true and sincere contrition. No wonder, to true Catholics, that the secular day of groundhog day is overshadowed by the Purification. We know this from the feast we celebrate tomorrow when the New Covenant began in fulfillment of the Old: The Annunciation!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Heaven is once again under attack by those who would seek to ignore and overthrow God's majesty and authority. Gabriel Garnica, educator and attorney, submits regular insights and commentaries to remind and help guide readers toward a deeper and more assertive faith. Touching on topics and issues ranging from personal faith, doctrine, education, scripture, the media, family life, morality, and values, Gabriel's notes are music to traditional ears but unpleasant tones to those who have bought into the misguided notions so prevalent and spreading in today's Catholic world.