Holy Week; Good Friday – Four Last Things; Judgement, Death Heaven and hell

We adore Thee oh Christ and we bless Thee,

because by Thy Holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.

Good Friday covers the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, four of the Dolors of the Sorrowful Mother and the Stations of the Cross.

The First Sorrowful Mystery is the Agony in the Garden where Christ prays to be released, but ends with “But Thy will be done.” He is so distressed at what He knows is ahead of Him that He suffers hematidrosis where He shed the first drops of His Precious Blood for us, sweating it out of His Body.

As we reach the First Station where Christ is condemned to death, it must have seemed to those who loved Him, that hell was let loose and heaven was going to loose this battle.

The battle between heaven and hell is truly in full swing as Christ is scourged and crowned with thorns. Dressed up as a mock king, he is our Bridegroom and as such He is presented to us with the words, “Ecce homo.”

But Satan knows he has not won yet and in the mouths of those present he demands the Son of Man be crucified, for hell rejoices in cruelty and murder. And I am not saying those who yelled for cricifixion were not personally responsible for those words. They were, and Christ had said it is what comes out of a man’s mouth that makes him unclean.

But just as when Jesus touched the dead, He did not become unclean as Jewish law would have it, the body was cleansied and raised instead. And just as when Jesus touched the sick or bleeding, He did not become unclean, He cleansed the other, and healed them, so as He accepts the cross, it is transformed from an intrument of death, to the Tree of Life.

As Christ walks the road of His Passion, and Our Blessed Mother walks beside Him, I can’t help wondering if some of those enemies began to question whether they had done the right thing. Judas certainly understood he had done something awful, but he still didn’t understand what he could do about it. As Jesus left a trail of blood along the way, was Satan afraid? Did he realise his defeat yet? How many of those who were touched by His blood on that road, instead of becoming ritually unclean, found they were cleansed instead?

By the end of the Crucifixion when Jesus had consumed the cup to its dreggs (see Scott Hahn on the Fourth Cup) and said “It is finished,” there was hardly a drop of blood left in Him. Finally St. Longinus pierces His Sacred Heart with the spear and out comes Blood and Water.

He is taken down and laid in the arms of His Moher, now our Mother, whose suffering is not over yet. She must hold her battered, dead son in her arms.

Jesus told St. Bridget of Sweden that He received 5,475 wounds for us. I don’t know whether this was all physical or whether He includes the wounds of heart and mind, on our behalf, or whether it is a symbolical number. We meditate on the Five Wounds often, but we must not forget the sweating, the scourging and the crowning with thorns (Sorrowful Mysteries), nor the falls that hurt His knees and shoulders under the weight of the cross. (Stations).

Darkness had come over the land and there had been an earthquake which Josephus tells us broke the lintel above the Holy of Holies in the Temple so the curtain was torn and the empty cube left open for all to see.

Jesus is laid in the tomb. Our Lady told St. Bridget that she did not sew up the shroud around the body of her Son because she knew He would not stain His grave. The battle was stilled for a moment, but in the silence of the Sabbath eve, something was happening.

At the end of Veneration the Eucharist is taken, veiled to the tabernacle in the Lady Chapel. The sanctuary is stripped bare, the altar cloths removed, along with the tabernacle curtain and the tabernacle itself is left empty and open.

Day 1 of the Divine Mercy Novena

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