Friday, April 22, 2011

Lent, Day 39 - Good Friday

40 days
Today was a staying close to God day.  The boys and I didn't do very much in the morning.  We talked about Good Friday, and just spent quiet time at home  until it was time for the Liturgical service.  (it isn't a mass, the communion given is presanctified on Holy Thursday, so there is no consecration)

On Good Friday, we have a striking service.  It just begins.  There is no Procession.  There is no organ music, only chant.  There are no candles lit, no flowers or altar adornments.  The tabernacle door is open, and it is empty.   There is a crown of thorns on a scarlet pillow, and a draped cross.

There are some readings, ending with the congregation taking part in the recitation of The Passion according to John's gospel.

The Priest and Deacon say prayers of intercession, and then there is the Veneration of the Cross.

The Veneration of the Cross begins as the draped cross is slowly unveiled and brought forward.   The Priests and Deacons do their adorations first, and then the congregation comes forward to do the same.  We don't actually adore the figure.  We are adoring Christ, himself.   The cross is used because it is such a powerful image and impossible to separate from the sacrifice of Good Friday.   The cross is then placed before the bare altar.

When it is time for communion, the Priest opens a small cloth on the altar, Deacons light and bring two candles forward.  The presanctified communion is brought out and distributed.  The candles are then extinguished and everything is put away.

The service ends without a recessional.

Good Friday is also a Catholic Day of Fasting.   We don't eat more than the equivalent of one meal.  We also take up an offering for the Catholics living in the Holy Lands.  They have a difficult existence.

Taking Jesus down from the cross

John, 19:
40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.
In the evening, I went to the stations of the Cross.