We enter the liturgy on Good Friday in silence. We don't need a “gathering rite.” It is as though we have been gathered since the night before. The first act of the liturgy is for the Presider and ministers to lie face down before the cross, in silence. As with all liturgical rituals, that invites us to lie prostrate before the cross as well. That takes some preparation. We can prepare to begin the Good Friday celebration by reflecting upon ourselves lying there - with all the feelings we want to identify and pay attention to. Our feelings may not be consistent or even inspiring. I might feel awe, gratitude, guilt, powerlessness, all at once. In my reflection preparing for Good Friday, I prepare that brief silent moment at the beginning of the service. Perhaps I will want to simply open my hands when the Presider lies face down and say “I know this is all for me; thank you.”
The Solemn Intercessions.
Adoration of the Holy Cross.
To “venerate” is becoming a lost experience to many of our cultures. In our growing “equal-itarianism,” we want and expect everyone to be “equal” (which is a good thing). But, sometimes it is at the expense of reverence. To revere a wise person, an extraordinary role model, or someone who has struggled heroically, is still very important. And part of that is to have reverence for places or objects or symbols which are full of meaning and very special significance for us, because they re-connect us with relationships. Visiting the place where I grew up, holding a newborn baby, treasuring a gift from a loved one, seeing a photograph or piece of art that stirs my spirit, and a thousand other places and things, all can become “religious” and objects of veneration.
We revere and venerate the wood of the cross, because our Savior was nailed there, and gave his life for us there. Preparing for this special veneration on Good Friday is very important. We may want to pray by making the Stations of the Cross, in our church, or in the privacy of our home, or with the Online version to the right. We want to be prepared to touch, kiss, embrace the cross with the greatest devotion we can express. We want our gesture to be able to ritualize our acceptance for the love, forgiveness and everlasting life that flows from that cross. We want to feel the love of Jesus, to feel it as being “for me,” and to express our grateful response as reverence.
Receiving the Eucharist
from the Holy Thursday
Prayer After Communion.
Departing in Silence, Again.
After the celebration, the altar is stripped but the cross remains with two candles lit.
For the Church ...
Behold the wood
of the cross
on which hung
the Savior of the world.
Come, let us worship!
of the Cross
Stations from the
at the Univ. of
in San Salvador
Dear Lord, as I approach your cross, I am like the disciples who ran.
I love you and I want to be a good servant, but getting close to your cross is difficult.
I'm not sure why. I want to say that it is just a struggle to let you die for me. But there is more. I resist responding gratefully. I resist seeing in your death the mystery of my life.
When I behold you there on the cross I see the meaning of life. You are completely who you are there. Giving your life away you receive it. The grain of wheat falling to the ground and dying.
I see the meaning of my life. To love as I have been loved by you. To be your disciple is to take up my meaning and to follow you. To receive my life only by giving it away is to bear fruit that will last.
As I embrace your cross please give me the grace to place my life in your hands and become day by day a servant of your own mission.