March 21, 2008
volume 19, no. 81

Meditations for Good Friday


         My Jesus, I consecrate myself this day to Your Holy Cross. Just as You took upon Yourself that great cross for the sake of all humanity, so I vow to embrace the crosses in my life. Everything I suffer, I give back to You, my Sweet Jesus, to atone for my sins and those of all the world. I will begin and end each day at the foot of Your Cross, together with our Most Blessed Mother and St. John, our brother. My only pleasure will be to comfort You, my Sweet Savior.

        Following are Meditations on the Final Seven Words spoken by Christ:

      1. "Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing." (St. Luke 23: 34)
      I pray that I, too, might be forgiven; and that I might also forgive all who offend me.

      2. "I assure you: this day you will be with me in paradise." (St. Luke 23:34)
      I pray that my faith, hope and love may encourage me to reahc my true home - Heaven!

      3. "Woman, behold your son." (St. John 19: 26)
      I pray that I might honor Your Holy Mother and seek her aid in every aspect of my life.

      4. "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (St. Matthew 27: 46)
      I pray that I might have the courage to be faithful to You even when I do not feel You near me. That I might understand with what grief the lukewarm souls caused You to suffer such grievous torment.

      5. "I thirst." (St. John 19: 28)
      I pray that I might thirst only for You, and realize the Infinite Love which thirsted for souls.

      6. "It is consummated." (St. John 19: 30)
      I pray that I might come to the end of my earthly life with the peace of having lived and died only for You.

      7. "Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit." (St. Luke 23: 46)
      I pray that I might be obedient until the final moment, entrusting my soul to Your care with perfect confidence and love.

Stabat Mater

    This Hymn captures the essence of the Sorrowful Mother Mary's role as she watched helplessly, but prayerfully and so lamenting the treatment of her Divine Son Jesus as she knew this Passion He had chosen and must fulfill for the sake of us all. She had long pondered these things in her heart ever since Simon had foretold the seven sorrows to her intuitively in the temple (cf. Luke 2: 33-35, 51).

Stabat Mater dolorosa
Iuxta crucem lacrimosa
Dum pendebat Filius

Cuius animam gementem
Contristatem et dolentem
Pertransivit gladius

O quam tristis et afflicta
Fuit illa benedicta
Mater unigeniti!

Quae moerebat et dolebat,
Pia Mater, dum videbat
Nati poenas incliti

Quis est homo qui non fleret,
Matrem Christi si videret
In tanto supplicio?

Quis non posset contristari,
Christi Matrem contemplari
Dolentem cum Filio?

Pro peccatis suae gentis
Vidit Iesum in tormentis,
Et flagellis subditum.

Vidit suum dulcem natum
Moriendo desolatum
Dum emisit spiritum

Eia Mater, fons amoris
Me sentire vim doloris
Fac, ut tecum lugeam

Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
In amando Christum Deum
Ut sibi complaceam

Sancta Mater, istud agas,
Crucifixi fige plagas
Cordi meo valide.

Tui nati vulnerati,
Tam dignati pro me pati,
Poenas mecum divide.

Fac me tecum, pie, flere,
Crucifixo condolere,
Donec ego vixero.

Iuxta crucem tecum stare,
Et me tibi sociare
In planctu desidero

Virgo virginum praeclara,
Mihi iam non sis amara
Fac me tecum plangere

Fac, ut portem Christi mortem
Passionis fac consortem,
Et plagas recolere.

Fac me plagis vulnerari,
Fac me cruce inebriari,
Et cruore Filii

Flammis ne urrar succensus
Per Te, Virgo, sim defensus
In die iudicii

Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
Da per Matrem me venire
Ad palmam victoriae

Quando corpus morietur,
Fac, ut animae donetur
Paradisi gloria. Amen

Mother bowed with grief appalling
must thou watch, with tears slow falling,
on the cross Thy dying son!

Through my heart, thus sorrow riven,
must that cruel sword be driven,
as foretold - O Holy One!

Oh, how mournful and oppressed
was that Mother ever-blessed,
Mother of the Spotless One:

She, whose grieving was perceiving,
contemplating, unabating,
all the anguish of her Son!

Is there any, tears withholding,
Christ's dear Mother thus beholding,
in woe - like no other woe!

Who that would not grief be feeling
for that Holy Mother kneeling
what suffering was ever so?

For the sins of every nation
she beheld His tribulation,
given to scourgers for a prey:

Saw her Jesus foully taken,
languishing, by all forsaken,
when His spirit passed away.

Love's sweet fountain, Mother tender,
haste this hard heart, soft to render,
make me sharer in Thy pain.

Fire me now with zeal so glowing,
love so rich to Jesus, flowing,
that I favor may obtain.

Holy Mother, I implore Thee,
crucify this heart before Thee,
guilty it is verily!

Hate, misprision, scorn, derision,
thirst assailing, failing vision,
railing, ailing, deal to me.

In Thy keeping, watching, weeping,
by the cross may I unsleeping
live and sorrow for His sake.

Close to Jesus, with Thee kneeling,
all Thy dolors with Thee feeling,
oh, grant this - the prayer I make.

Maid Immaculate, excelling,
peerless one, in Heav'n high dwelling,
make me truly mourn with Thee.

Make me sighing hear Him dying,
ever newly vivifying
the anguish He bore for me.

With the same scar lacerated,
by the cross enfired, elated,
wrought by love to ecstasy!

Thus inspired and affected
let me, Virgin, be protected
when sounds forth the call for me!

May His sacred cross defend me,
He Who died there so befriend me,
that His pardon shall suffice.

When this earthly frame is riven,
grant that to my soul is given
all the joys of Paradise!

Pange Lingua

    On this most solemn, saddest, but most necessary of days in the Liturgical Year, we can gain a greater insight of the gift we receive from the ultimate sacrifice of the Immolated Lamb on the wood of the Cross - Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The timeless poem first conceived by Saint Venantius Fortunatus in the sixth century is the one below, whereas the more common Pange Lingua used on the Feast of Corpus Christi comes from the Angelic Doctor Saint Thomas Aquinas. The former is used below for this solemn occasion when we meditate upon His Passion and Death.

PANGE, lingua, gloriosi
proelium certaminis,
et super Crucis trophaeo
dic triumphum nobilem,
qualiter Redemptor orbis
immolatus vicerit.

De parentis protoplasti
fraude Factor condolens,
quando pomi noxalis
morte morsu corruit,
ipse lignum tunc notavit,
damna ligni ut solveret.

Hoc opus nostrae salutis
ordo depoposcerat,
multiformis proditoris
ars ut artem falleret,
et medelam ferret inde,
hostis unde laeserat.

Quando venit ergo sacri
plenitudo temporis,
missus est ab arce Patris
natus, orbis, Conditor,
atque ventre virginali
carne factus prodiit.

Vagit infans inter arcta
conditus praesepia:
membra pannis involuta
Virgo Mater alligat:
et manus pedesque et crura
stricta cingit fascia.

LUSTRA sex qui iam peracta5
tempus implens corporis,
se volente, natus ad hoc,
passioni deditus,
Agnus in crucis levatur
immolandus stipite.

En acetum, fel, arundo,
sputa, clavi, lancea:
mite corpus perforatur,
Sanguis, unda profluit
terra, pontus, astra, mundus,
quo lavantur flumine!

CRUX fidelis, inter omnes
arbor una nobilis;
nulla talem silva profert,
flore, fronde, germine.
Dulce lignum, dulci clavo,
dulce pondus sustinens!

Flecte ramos, arbor alta,
tensa laxa viscera,
et rigor lentescat ille,
quem dedit nativitas,
ut superni membra Regis
miti tendas stipite.

Sola digna tu fuisti
ferre saeculi pretium,
atque portum praeparare
nauta mundo naufrago,
quem sacer cruor perunxit,
fusus Agni corpore.

Aequa Patri Filioque,
inclito Paraclito,
sempiterna sit beatae
Trinitati gloria,
cuius alma nos redemit
atque servat gratia. Amen.

SING, my tongue, the Savior's glory;
tell His triumph far and wide;
tell aloud the famous story
of His body crucified;
how upon the cross a victim,
vanquishing in death, He died.

Eating of the tree forbidden,
man had sunk in Satan's snare,
when our pitying Creator did
this second tree prepare;
destined, many ages later,
that first evil to repair.

Such the order God appointed
when for sin He would atone;
to the serpent thus opposing
schemes yet deeper than his own;
thence the remedy procuring,
whence the fatal wound had come.

So when now at length the fullness
of the sacred time drew nigh,
then the Son, the world's Creator,
left His Father's throne on high;
from a virgin's womb appearing,
clothed in our mortality.

All within a lowly manger,
lo, a tender babe He lies!
see His gentle Virgin Mother
lull to sleep His infant cries!
while the limbs of God incarnate
round with swathing bands she ties.

THUS did Christ to perfect manhood
in our mortal flesh attain:
then of His free choice He goeth
to a death of bitter pain;
and as a lamb, upon the altar
of the cross, for us is slain.

Lo, with gall His thirst He quenches!
see the thorns upon His brow!
nails His tender flesh are rending!
see His side is opened now!
whence, to cleanse the whole creation,
streams of blood and water flow.

FAITHFUL Cross! above all other,
one and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
none in fruit thy peers may be;
sweetest wood and sweetest iron!
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee!

Lofty tree, bend down thy branches,
to embrace thy sacred load;
oh, relax the native tension
of that all too rigid wood;
gently, gently bear the members
of thy dying King and God.

Tree, which solely wast found worthy
the world's Victim to sustain.
harbor from the raging tempest!
ark, that saved the world again!
Tree, with sacred blood anointed
of the Lamb for sinners slain.

Blessing, honor, everlasting,
to the immortal Deity;
to the Father, Son, and Spirit,
equal praises ever be;
glory through the earth and Heaven
to Trinity in Unity. Amen.

From Liturgia Horarum and Latin Hymns by F. A. March, LL.D, 1894.

      Changes made by Pope Urban VIII in 1632 to the Roman Breviary:

      1 Lauream certaminis
      2 In necem morsu ruit:
      3 Carne amictus prodiit.
      4 Et Dei manus pedesque
      5 Lustra sex qui jam peregit,
      6 Sponte libera Redemptor
      7 Felle potus ecce languet:/spina, clavi, lancea/mite corpus perforarunt:/unda manat, et cruor:
      8 Silva talem nulla profert/fronde, flore, germine:/dulce ferrum, dulce lignum,
      9 et superni membra regis/tende miti stipite,
      10 ferre mundi victimam;/atque portum pręparare/arco mundo naufrago,/quam sacer cruor perunxit,
      11 Sempiterna sit beatę/Trinitati gloria,/aequa Patri, Filioque;/par decus Paraclito:/unius Trinique nomen/laudet universitas

Meditation for Good Friday