Traditionally, Catholics spend Fridays remembering the Passion and Death of Jesus which, of course, took place on Good Friday. And in this spirit of remembrance, it has also been our practice to abstain from meat on Fridays, as a small way of offering sacrifice in union with the Crucified Christ.
There is immense value in remembering the Crucifixion.
Together with the Resurrection, it is the very heart of our Faith – it is what we profess as Christians. Without the Crucifixion and Resurrection, what do we believe in?
At every Catholic Mass, the Sacrifice of Christ is renewed in an unbloody manner before us and the Church reminds us that the Eucharist, made present at the Mass, is the very Source and Summit of our Christian life.
At the private or personal level, being mindful of the Passion of Christ offers a wealth of meditation – whether on the event in it’s entirety, or in looking at particular details of what took place that day.
Generally, we are reminded of the Sacrifice of the Lord in giving His life for our salvation; it reminds us that our redemption is not an achievement of our own – it is indeed a free gift of the Lord. And this places upon us responsibilities of gratitude and an awareness of our need for salvation – we are human, subject to all the frailties and sinfulness this entails. And so we are reminded of our need for on-going conversion in order to respond properly to that gift, a process which does not really end until death.
At the particular level, the details of the Crucifixion are numerous and each can supply a wealth of subject matter for contemplation and meditation. From the meekness and humiliation of the scourging and the crowning with thorns, to the deepest of all looks – that which passed silently between Mother and Son on the Way of the Cross – to the silence of the world at the moment Christ died upon the Cross.
Much has been written through the centuries on this matter and there is a wealth of material available for those who desire it.
Perhaps a good starting point is simply to remember Christ Crucified in a special way on Fridays and to take at least a moment of the day to consider His Passion and Death, whether generally or in some detail. That moment can be as short as the Prayer Before A Crucifix, or longer, such as making the Stations of the Cross.
This practice will bring it’s own rewards over time.
- Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus,
- while before Thy face I humbly kneel and,
- with burning soul,
- pray and beseech Thee
- to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments
- of faith, hope and charity;
- true contrition for my sins,
- and a firm purpose of amendment.
- While I contemplate,
- with great love and tender pity,
- Thy five most precious Wounds,
- pondering over them within me
- and calling to mind the words which David,
- Thy prophet, said of Thee, my Jesus:
- ‘They have pierced My hands and My feet,
- they have numbered all My bones’.