Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

On Good Friday, the entire Church fixes her gaze on the Cross at Calvary. Each member of the Church tries to understand at what cost Christ has won our redemption. In the sacred ceremonies of Good Friday, in the Adoration of the Cross, in the chanting of the 'Reproaches', in the reading of the Passion, and in receiving the pre-consecrated Host, we unite ourselves to our Savior, and we contemplate our own death to sin in the Death of our Lord.



The Church - stripped of its decorations, the altar bare, and with the door of the empty tabernacle standing open - is as if in mourning.

The liturgical observance of this day; of Christ's suffering, crucifixion and death, evidently has been in existence from the earliest days of the Church. No Mass is celebrated on this day, but the service of Good Friday is called the Mass of the Presanctified because Communion which had already been consecrated on Holy Thursday is given to the faithful.

Traditionally, the organ is silent from Holy Thursday until the Alleluia at the Easter Vigil , as are all other instruments, the only music during this period being unaccompanied chant.

The omission of the prayer of consecration deepens our sense of loss because Mass throughout the year reminds us of the Lord's triumph over death, the source of our joy and blessing. The desolate quality of the rites of this day reminds us of Christ's humiliation and suffering during his Passion.

O Jesus, Who by reason of Thy burning love for us hast willed to be crucified and to shed Thy Most Precious Blood for the redemption and salvation of our souls, look down upon us here gathered together in remembrance of Thy most sorrowful Passion and Death, fully trusting in Thy mercy; cleanse us from sin by Thy grace, sanctify our toil, give unto us and unto all those who are dear to us our daily bread, sweeten our sufferings, bless our families, and to the nations so sorely afflicted, grant Thy peace, which is the only true peace, so that by obeying Thy commandments we may come at last to the glory of heaven. Amen.