March 21, 2008
vol 19, no. 81

The Crux of the Season
Abbe Dom Prosper Gueranger

    We have reached the crux of the entire penitential season of Lent on the Second Day of the Easter Triduum. This day is necessary for there are no shortcuts to salvation; there can be no glory, no resurrection without the passion and pain of the cross. We, His friends for He has called us such, ought to compassionate our Savior by spending this day with Him in His agony to make reparation for our sins which scourged and nailed Him to the cross. Let us follow Him and walk with Him to the very last step of Calvary, fearing no rebuke from man, but realizing when push comes to shove, we had better be ready to stand with His Blessed Mother, His beloved disciple John, Mary Magdalene, and the few dear women who are the mother of the apostles John and James.

      Editor's Note: Because of the spiritual importance of the entire Liturgical Season of Lent, we are bringing you excerpts for this penitential season focusing today on Good Friday on the second day of the Easter Triduum with excerpts below taken from Volume 6, pages 450-515. We have thus turned to the most traditional and practical Catholic source available, none other than the inspired and motivating words of the esteemed Abbot of Solesmes Dom Prosper Louis Pascal Gueranger, renowned for his masterful work The Liturgical Year, which is often considered the Summa for the Church's Liturgy in History, Mystery and Practice. It is in those areas that we feel it is important to address in order to help readers live as better Catholics in knowing, living, and applying their Faith to the fullest and giving to Christ and His Blessed Mother all that they can. Few capture the essence as this humble but brilliant abbot who is known simply as "the Gardener of the Canticles of Eternity."

    "Here, the Christian prostrates himself before his Savior, and says to Him with a heart full of compassion and veneration: 'Yes! My Jesus! Thou art King of the Jews! Thou art the Son of David, and therefore our Messias and Redeemer! Israel, that hath so lately proclaimed Thee King, now unkings Thee; the Gentiles scoff at Thy royalty, making it a subject for keener insult; but reign Thou must, and over both Jews and Gentiles: over the Jews, by Thy justice, for they are soon to feel the scepter of Thy revenge; over the Gentiles, by Thy mercy, for Thine apostles are soon to lead them to Thy feet. Receive, dearest King! our homage and submission! Reign now and for ever over our hearts, yea, over our whole being.'"

Good Friday Morning

    The sun has risen upon Jerusalem. But the priests and scribes have not waited all this time without venting their rage upon Jesus. Annas, who was the first to receive the divine Captive, has had Him taken to his son-in-law Caiphas, the high priest. Here He is put through a series of insulting questions, which disdaining to answer, He receives a blow from one of the high priest's servants. False witnesses had already been prepared: they now come forward, and depose their lies against Him Who is the very Truth: but their testimony is contradictory. Then Caiphas, seeing that this plan for convicting Jesus of blasphemy is only serving to expose his accomplices, turns to another. He asks Him a question, which will oblige our Lord to make an answer; and in this answer he, Caiphas, will discover blasphemy, and blasphemy will bring Jesus under the power of the Synagogue. This is the question: 'I adjure Thee, by the living God, that Thou tell us, if Thou e the Christ the Son of God! (1)- {St. Matt. xxvi. 63} Our Savior, in order to teach us that we should show respect to those who are in authority, breaks the silence He has hitherto observed, and answers: 'Thou hast said it: I am: and hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of Heaven.(2)-{St, Matt. xxvi. 65,66} Hereupon, the impious pontiff rises, rends his garments, and exclaims: 'He hath blasphemed! What further need have we of witnesses? Behold! Now ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye?' The whole place resounds with the cry: 'He is guilty of death!'(3_--{Ibid. 64-St. Mark xiv. 62}...

    But there is something far more trying than all this to the heart of Jesus, and it is happening at this very time. Peter has made his way as far as the court of the high priest's palace. The apostle trembles for his life; he denies his Master, and affirms with an oath that he does not even know Him. What a sad example is here of the punishment of presumption! But Jesus has mercy on His apostle. Jesus casts upon him a look of reproach and pardon; Peter immediately goes forth, and weeps bitterly. From this hour forward he can do nothing but lament his sin; and it is only on Easter morning, when Jesus shall appear to him after His Resurrection, that he will admit any consolation to his afflicted heart. Let us make him our model, now that we are spending these hours, with our holy mother the Church, in contemplating the Passion of Jesus. Peter withdraws, because he fears his own weakness; let us remain to the end, for what have we to fear? May our Jesus give us one of those looks, which can change the hardest and worst of hearts! (pages 450-452)

    The rumor of Jesus' having been seized during the night, and that He is on the point of being led before the Roman governor, rapidly spreads through the city, and reaches Judas' ears. This wretched man had a passion for money, but there was nothing to make him desire the death of his divine Master. He knew Jesus' supernatural power. He perhaps flattered himself that He, Who could command nature and the elements, would easily escape from the hands of His enemies. But now when he sees that He does not escape from His enemies, and that He is to be condemned to death, he runs to the temple, and gives back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests. Is it that he is converted, and is about to ask his Master to pardon him? Alas, no! Despair has possession of him, and he puts an end to his existence. The recollection of all the merciful solicitations made to him, yesterday, by Jesus, both during the last Supper, and in the garden, gives him no confidence; it only serves to increase his despair. Surely, he well knew what a merciful Savior he had to deal with! And yet, he despairs, and this at the very time, when the Blood, which washes away the sins of the world, is about to be shed! He is lost, because he despaired. (page 453)

    ...Herod, the tetrarch of Galilee, happens to be in Jerusalem at this time. Jesus is his subject He must be sent to him. Thus Pilate will get rid of a troublesome case, and this act of courteous deference will re-establish a good understanding between himself and Herod... (page 455)

    ...Herod, the murderer of John the Baptist, insults Him, and ordering Him to be clothed in a white garment, as a fool, he sends Him back to Pilate...Another plan for ridding himself of this troublesome case now strikes the Roman governor. At the feast of the Pasch, he had the power of granting pardon to any one criminal the people may select. They are assembled together at the court-gates. He feels sure that their choice will fall upon Jesus, for it is but a few days ago tat they led Him in triumph through the city: besides, he intends to make the alternative one who is an object of execration to the whole people; he is a murderer, and his name Barabbas... (page 455)

    ...Pilate's cowardly subterfuge has failed, and left him in a more difficult position than he was before. His putting the innocent on a level with a murderer was in itself a gross injustice; and yet, he has not gone far enough for a people that is blind with passion. Neither does his promise to chastise Jesus satisfy them: they want more than His Blood; they insist on His death...(page 456)

    Jesus is made over to the soldiers to be scourged. They rudely strip Him of His garments, and tie Him to the pillar which is kept for this kind of torture. Fiercely do they strike Him; the Blood flows down His sacred Body. Let us adore this the second bloodshedding of our Jesus, whereby He expiates the sins we and the whole world have committed by the flesh. This scourging is by the hands of Gentiles: the Jews delivered Him up to be punished, and the Romans were the executioners; thus have we all had our share in the awful deicide.

    At last the soldiers are tired; they loose their Victim; but it is not out of anything like pity. Their cruelty is going to rest, and their rest is derision. Jesus has been called King of the Jews; a king, say they, must have a crown! Accordingly, they make one for the Son of David! It is of thorns. They press it violently upon His head, and this is the third bloodshedding of our Redeemer...

    Here, the Christian prostrates himself before his Savior, and says to Him with a heart full of compassion and veneration: 'Yes! My Jesus! Thou art King of the Jews! Thou art the Son of David, and therefore our Messias and Redeemer! Israel, that hath so lately proclaimed Thee King, now unkings Thee; the Gentiles scoff at Thy royalty, making it a subject for keener insult; but reign Thou must, and over both Jews and Gentiles: over the Jews, by Thy justice, for they are soon to feel the scepter of Thy revenge; over the Gentiles, by Thy mercy, for Thine apostles are soon to lead them to Thy feet. Receive, dearest King! our homage and submission! Reign now and for ever over our hearts, yea, over our whole being.' (page 457)

    ...To teach us that the flesh must be brought into subjection to the spirit, Jesus' Flesh was torn by the scourges; to teach us that pride must give way to humility, the only crown that Jesus wears is made of thorns. 'Behold the Man!' the triumph of the spirit over the flesh, the triumph of humility over pride. (page 458)

    ...But the people vociferate a threat which alarms him: (Pilate) 'If thou release this Man, thou art not Caesar's friend; for whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar.' ...Pilate says to them: 'Shall I crucify your King?' This time the chief priests answer: 'We have no king but Caesar.'(2)-{St. John xix} When the very ministers of God can talk thus, religion is at an end. No king but Caesar! Then, the scepter is taken from Juda, and Jerusalem is cast off, and the Messias is come! (pages 459-460)

    Having thus defiled his soul with the most heinous of crimes, Pilate washes his hands before the people, and says to them: 'I am innocent of the Blood of this just Man; look ye to it!' They answer him with this terrible self-imprecation: 'His Blood be upon us and upon our children!(2)-{St. Matt. xxvii. 24, 35} The mark of patricide here fastens on this ungrateful and sacrilegious people; Cain-like, they shall wander fugitives on the earth. Eighteen hundred years have passed since then; slaver, misery, and contempt, have bee their portion; but he mark is still upon them. Let us Gentiles - upon whom the Blood of Jesus has fallen as the dew of Heaven's mercy - return fervent thanks to the goodness of our heavenly Father, who hath so loved the world, as to give it His only-begotten Son.(3)-{St. John iii 16} (page 460)

    Here commences 'the way of the cross': the house of Pilate, where our Jesus receives the sentence of death, is the first station. Our Redeemer is consigned, by the governor's order, into the hands of the Jews. The soldiers seize Him, and drag Him from the court. They strip Him of the scarlet cloak and bid Him clothe Himself with His own garments as before the scourging. The cross is ready and they put it on His wounded shoulders. The place where the new Isaac loads Himself with the wood of His sacrifice, is the second station. To Calvary! - this is the word of command, and it is obeyed : soldiers, executioners, priests, scribes, people - these form the procession. Jesus moves slowly on; but after a few paces, exhausted by the loss of Blood and by His sufferings, He falls under the weight of His cross. It is the first fall, and marks the third station.

    He falls, not so much by the weight of His cross, as by that of our sins! The soldiers roughly lay their hands on Him, and force Him up again. Scarcely has he resumed His steps, then He is met by His afflicted Mother. The 'valiant woman', whose love is stronger than death, was not to be absent at such an hour as this. She must see her Son, follow Him, keep close to Him, even to His last breath. No tongue can tell the poignancy of her grief. The anxiety she has endured during the last few days has exhausted her strength. All the sufferings of Jesus have been made known to her by a divine revelation; she has shared each one of them with Him. But now she cannot endure to be absent, and makes her way through the crowd. The sacrifice is nigh its consummation; no human power could keep such a Mother from her Jesus. The faithful Magdalene is by her side, bathed in tears; John, Mary the mother of James the Less, and Salome the mother of John, are also with her: they weep for their divine Master, she for her Son. Jesus sees her,cannot comfort her, for all this is but the beginning of what He is to endure. Oh! what an additional suffering was this for His loving Heart, to see His Mother agonizing with sorrow! The executioners observe the Mother of their Victim, but it would be too much mercy in them to allow her to speak to Him; she may follow, if she please, with the crowd; it is more than she could have expected, to be allowed this meeting, which we venerate as the fourth station of the way of the cross.

    But from this to the last there is a long distance, for there is a law that all criminals are to be executed outside the city walls. The Jews are afraid of Jesus' expiring before reaching the place of sacrilege. Just at this time, they behold a man coming from the country, by name Simon of Cyrene; they order him to help Jesus to carry His cross. It is out of a motive of cruelty to our Lord, but it gives Simon the honor of sharing with Him the fatigue of bearing the instrument of the world's salvation. The spot where this happens is the fifth station.

    A little farther on, an incident occurs which strikes the executioners themselves with astonishment. A woman makes her way through the crowd, and setting the soldiers at defiance, comes close up to Jesus, with blood, sweat, and spittle. She loves Jesus, and cares not what may happen to her, so she can offer Him this slight comfort. Her love receives its reward: she finds her veil miraculously impressed with the likeness of Jesus' Face. This courageous act of Veronica marks the sixth station of the way of the cross.

    Jesus grows weaker at each step: He falls a second time: it is the seventh station. Again do the soldiers violently raise Him up, and push Him along the road. It is easy to follow in His footsteps, for a streak of Blood shows where He has passed. A group of women is following close behind the soldiers; they heed not the insults heaped upon them; their compassion makes them brave. But the last brutal passion makes them brave. But the last brutal treatment shown to Jesus is more than they can bear in silence; they utter a cry of pitiful lamentation. Our Savior is pleased with these women, who, in spite of the weakness of their sex, are showing more courage than all the men of Jerusalem put together. He affectionately turns towards them, and tells them what a terrible chastisement is to follow the crime they are now witnessing. The chief priests and scribes recognize the dignity of the Prophet that had so often spoken to them: they listen with indignation; and at this the eighth station of the great way, they hear these words, "Daughters of Jerusalem! weep not over Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold the days shall come, wherein they will say: Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the paps that have not given suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us! And to the hills: Cover us!" (1) {St. Luke xxiii. 28-30}

    At last, they reach the foot of the hill. Calvary is steep; but it is the place of Jesus' Sacrifice. He begins the ascent, but falls a third time: the hallowed spot is counted as the ninth station. A third time the soldiers force Jesus to rise and continue His painful journey to the summit of the hill, which is to serve as the altar for the holocaust that is to surpass all others in holiness and power. The executioners seize the cross and lay it upon the ground, preparatory to nailing the divine Victim to it. According to a custom practiced both by the Romans and the Jews, a cup containing wine and myrrh is offered to Jesus. This drink, which had the bitterness of gall, was given as a narcotic, in order to deaden, in some degree, the feeling of the criminal, and lesson his pain. Jesus raises to His lips the cup, which is proffered to Him rather from custom than from any idea of kindness; but He drinks not its contents, for He wishes to feel the full intensity of the suffering He accepts for our sake. Then the executioners, having violently stripped Him of His garments, which had fastened to His wounds, lead Him to the cross. The place where He was thus stripped of His garments, and where the cup of bitter drink was presented to Him, is venerated as the tenth station of the way of the cross. The first nine, from Pilate's hall to the foot of Calvary, are still to be seen in the streets of Jerusalem; but the tenth and the remaining four are in the interior of the church of Holy Sepulchre, whose spacious walls enclose the spot where the last mysteries of the Passion were accomplished.

    But we must here interrupt our hisotry: we have already anticipated the hours of this great Friday and we shall have to return, later on, to the hill of Calvary. It is time to assist at the service of our holy mother the Church, in which she celebrates the Death of her divine Spouse. We must not wait for the usual summons of the bells; they are silent; we must listen to the call of our faith and devotion. Let us, then, repair to the house of God. (pages 460-464)

The Veneration of the Cross

    ...Filled with holy indignation at the humiliations heaped upon her Jesus, she invites us to a solemn act of reparation: it is to consist in venerating that cross which our divine Lord has borne to the summit of Calvary, and to which He is to be fastened with nails. The cross is a stumbling-block to the Jews, and foolishness to the Gentiles ;( 1)-{1 Cor. i. 23} but to us Christians it is the trophy of Jesus' victory and the instrument of the world's redemption. It is worthy of our deepest veneration, because of the honor conferred upon it by the Son of God: He consecrated it by His own Blood, He worked our salvation by its means. No time could be more appropriate than this for honoring it with the humble tribute of our veneration. (pages 486-487)

    ...There is also another teaching embodied in this ceremony of holy Church. By this gradual unveiling of the cross, she would express to us the contrast of the Jewish and the Christian view. The one finds nothing in Christ crucified but shame and ignominy: the other discovers in Him the power and the wisdom of God.(1)-{1 Cor. i. 24} Honor, then, and veneration to His cross, now that the veil is removed by faith! Unveiled let it be upon our altar, for He that died upon it is soon to triumph by a glorious Resurrection! Yes, let every crucifix in our church be unveiled, and every altar beam once more with the vision of the glorious standard!

    But the Church is not satisfied with showing her children the cross that has saved them; she would have them approach, and kiss it. The priest leads the way. He has already taken off his chasuble; he now takes off his shoes also, and then advances towards the place where he has put the crucifix. He makes three genuflections at intervals, and finally kisses the cross. The deacon and subdeacon follow him, then the clergy, and lastly the people. (pages 489-490)

    ...Towards the end of the veneration of the cross, the candles are lighted, and the deacon spreads a corporal upon the altar, for the Blessed Sacrament is to be placed there. As soon as the faithful have finished their adoration, the priest takes the cross and replaces it over the altar. (page 495)

Mass of the Presanctified

    So vividly is the Church impressed with the remembrance of the great Sacrifice offered today on Calvary, that she refrains from renewing on her altars the immolation of the divine Victim; she contents herself with partaking of the sacred mystery by Communion. Formerly the clergy and laity were also permitted to the priest shall receive. After the priest has resumed his chasuble, the clergy go in procession to the altar, where the consecrated Host has been reserved since yesterday's Mass. The deacon takes the chalice which contains it, and places it on the altar. The priest, having offered the homage of his adoration to our Redeemer, takes into his hands the chalice wherein He is inclosed whom heaven and earth cannot contain. The clergy, with lighted tapers in their hands, return to the high altar, and sing, during the procession, the hymn of the cross.

    As soon as the priest has reached the altar, the deacon receives the sacred Host upon a paten, and pours wine and water into the chalice. Let us reverently fix our eyes upon the altar. The priest censes the offerings and the altar, as usual; but, to express the grief which now fills the soul of the Church, he himself is not thurified. (pages 496-497)

    But before receiving the sacred Host in Holy Communion, the priest invites us to adore it. Taking, then, in his right hand, the adorable Body of our Redeemer, he raises it on high, as Jesus was raised up on the cross. The faithful, who are kneeling during this part of the Service, bow down in profound adoration before their crucified Lord.

    The priest then divides the Host into three parts, one of which he puts into the chalice, that thus he may sanctify the wine and water which he is to take after having communicated. The wine is not changed into the Blood of Jesus by contact with the consecrated particle; but it thereby receives a very special benediction, similar to that which attached to the garments worn by our Savior.

    After this, the celebrant recites, in secret, the last of the three prayers which precede the Communion...

    Thus terminates the Mass of the Presanctified. The priest, with the sacred ministers, makes a genuflection at the foot of the altar to the cross, and retires to the sacristy. The choir immediately begins Vespers, which are simply recited.(pages 499-500)

Good Friday Afternoon

    The tree of our salvation, as it falls into the hole prepared for it, strikes against a tomb; it is that of our first parent. The Blood of the Redeemer flows down the cross and falls upon a skull: it is the skull of Adam, whose sin has called for this great expiation. In His mercy, the Son of God wills that the instrument wherewith He has gained pardon for the guilty world should rest amidst the very bones of him that first caused its guilt. Thus is satan confounded: the creation is not, as he has hitherto thought, turned by his artifice to the shame of its Creator. The hill on which is raised the standard of our salvation, is called Calvary, which signifies a skull. Here, according to the tradition of the Jews, was buried our first parent, the first sinner. Among the holy fathers of the early ages, who have handed down this interesting tradition to us, we may cite St. Basil, St. Ambrose, Saint John Chrysostom, St. Epiphanius, St. Jerome. Origen, too, who had such opportunities of knowing the Jewish traditions, mentions this among the number...

    Never had God conferred on His creatures a blessing compared to this; and yet, never did man so boldly insult his God! Let us Christians, who adore Him whom the Jews blaspheme, offer Him, at this moment, the reparation He so infinitely deserves. These impious men cite His own words, and turn them against Him: let us reverently remind our Jesus of an expression He once deigned to use, which should fill us with hope: 'And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself.' (4)-{St. John xii. 32}... (pages 504-505)

    The silence is again broken: Jesus speaks His third word, and it is to His Mother; but He does not call her by that dear name, for it would redouble her pain: 'Woman!' He says, 'behold thy son!' Then looking upon John, He says to him: 'Son! Behold thy Mother!' (2)-{St. John xix 26, 27} What an exchange was here for Mary! But oh! what a blessing it brought upon John, and through him to all mankind: the Mother of God was made our Mother. (page 509)

    The moment has at length come, when Jesus is to yield up His Soul to His Father. He has fulfilled every single prophecy that had been foretold of Him, even that of His receiving vinegar when parched with thirst. He therefore speaks this His sixth with word: 'It is consummated!' (3)-{St. John xix. 28} He has, then, but to die; His death is to put the finishing stroke to our redemption, as the prophet assures us. But He must die as God. This Man, worn out by suffering, exhausted by His three hours' agony, whose few words were scarce audible to them that stood round His cross, now utters a loud cry, which is heard at a great distance, And fills the centurion, who commands the guard, with fear and astonishment: "Father! Into Thy hands I commend My Spirit!' (1)- (St. Luke xxiii 46} This is His seventh and last word; after which He bows down His head and dies

    ...But it is in hell itself that the death of Jesus is most felt. Satan now sees who He is, against whom he has excited all this persecution. He sees that the Blood, which he has caused to be shed, has saved mankind and opened the gates of Heaven. This Jesus, whom he dared to tempt in the desert, he now recognizes as the Son of God, whose precious Blood has purchased for men a redemption that was refused to the rebel angels!

    ...Like those Jews who saw Thee expire and returned to Jerusalem striking their breasts, we, also, confess that our sins have caused Thy death. Thou hast loved us as none but a God could love. Henceforth, we must be Thine, and serve Thee, as creatures redeemed at the infinite price of Thy Blood. Thou art our God; we are Thy people. Accept, we beseech Thee, our most loving thanks for this final proof of Thy goodness towards us. Thy holy Church now silently invites us to celebrate Thy praise. We leave Calvary for a time; but will soon return thither, to assist at Thy holy burial. Mary, Thy Mother, remains immovable at the foot of Thy cross. Magdalene clings to Thy feet. John and the holy women stand around Thee. Once more, dearest Jesus! We adore Thy sacred Body, Thy precious Blood, and Thy holy cross, that have brought us salvation. (pages 509-511)

Good Friday Evening - the Office of Tenebrae

    They [Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus] lose no time in doing so [taking down the Body of Jesus], for the sun is near to setting, and then begins the Sabbath. Within a few yards from where stands the cross, at the foot of the hillock which forms the summit of Calvary, there is a garden, and in this garden a sepulcher cut into the rock. No one has yet been buried in this tomb. It is to be Jesus' sepulcher Hither Joseph and Nicodemus carry the sacred Body: they lay it upon a slab of stone, near to the sepulcher. It is here that Mary receives into her arms the Body of her Jesus: she kisses each wound, and bathes it with her tears. John, Magdalene, and all that are present, compassionate the holy Mother. She resigns it into the hands of the two disciples, for they have but a few moments left. Upon this slab which, even to this day, is called the stone of the anointing, and designates the thirteenth station of the way of the cross, Joseph unfolds a piece of fine linen,(1)-{St. Mark xv. 46} and Nicodemus, whose servants have brought a hundred pound weight of myrrh and aloes,(2)-{St. John xix. 39} makes every arrangement for the embalming. They reverently wash the Body, for it is covered with Blood; they removed the crown of thorns from he Head; and after embalming it with their perfumes, they wrap it in the winding-sheet. Mary gives a last embrace to the remains of her Jesus, who is now hidden under these swathing bands of the tomb. (page 513)

    ...Death, which is the consequence of sin, has extended its dominion over Thee, for Thou didst submit Thyself to the sentence pronounced against Thee, and wouldst become like to us even to the humiliation of the tomb. It was Thy love for us, that led to all this! What return can we make Thee? The holy angels stand around Thy Body, thus lying in its rocky grave. They are lost inn amazement at Thy having loved, to such an excess as this, Thy poor ungrateful creature, man. Thou hadst made them, as well as us, out of nothing, and they loved Thee with all the intensity of their mighty spirits; but the sight of Thy tomb reveals to them a fresh abyss of Thine infinite goodness: Thou hast suffered death, not for their fallen fellow-angels, but for us men, who are so inferior to the angels! Oh! what a bond of love between us and Thee must result from this sacrifice of Thy life for us! Thou hast died, O Jesus, for us: we must, henceforth, live for Thee. We promise it upon this tomb, which alas! Is the handiwork of our sins. We, too, wish to die to sin, and live to grace. For the time to come, we will follow Thy precepts and Thine examples; we will avoid sin, which has made us accomplices in Thy Passion and Death. We will courageously bear, in union with Thine own, the crosses of this life: they are indeed light compared with Thine, but our weakness makes them heavy. And our death, too: when that moment comes for us to undergo that sentence which even Thou didst submit to, we will accept it with resignation. Terrible as that last hour is to nature, our faith tells us that Thy death has merited for it graces rich enough to make it sweet. Thy death, dearest Jesus! Has made our death become but a passing into life; and as we now leave Thy holy sepulcher with the certain hope of speedily seeing Thee glorious in Thy Resurrection; so, when our body descends into the tomb, our soul shall confidently mount up to Thee, and there blissfully await the day of the resurrection of the flesh made pure by the humiliation of the grave.(pages 514-515)

    Editor's Note: Space does not permit the full scope of all that Abbe Gueranger wrote for Good Friday (from pages 413 to 519)and we would hope this would serve as an impetus to also encourage you to invest in The Liturgical Year from St. Bonaventure Publications for your own edification, education and spiritual inspiration year in and year out.

    For past articles of LIVING IN TRADITION, see 2007lit.htm Archives

    March 21, 2008
    vol 19, no. 81