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Friday, April 2, 2010

The Holy Week: The significance of Good Friday (Pt.3)

Good Friday

“When Jesus took the wine, He said, ‘Now, it is finished.’ Then He bowed His head, and delivered over his spirit.” (John 19:30)

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 solemn 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.

* On Good Friday, there is no Mass anywhere in the world. All churches are made bare the previous night at the conclusion of the Holy Thursday Church service whence the Holy Eucharist and consecrated Hosts are transferred to the Chapel.

The Veneration of the Cross

In Christianity, the "Veneration of the Cross" is a ceremony during which a person pays respect to the cross on which Jesus was crucified. Normally this is done during Good Friday services; either everyone performs the veneration in unison by kneeling in place when the cross is brought into the church or some people perform the veneration of the cross individually by coming forward and, while kneeling, kiss the foot of the cross.

In the seventh century, the Church in Rome adopted the practice of Adoration of the Cross from the Church in Jerusalem, where a fragment of wood believed to be the Lord's cross had been venerated every year on Good Friday since the fourth century. According to tradition, a part of the Holy Cross was discovered by the mother of the emperor Constantine, St. Helen, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 326. A fifth century account describes this service in Jerusalem. A coffer of gold-plated silver containing the wood of the cross was brought forward. The bishop placed the relic on a table in the chapel of the Crucifixion and the faithful approached it, touching brow and eyes and lips to the wood as the priest said (as every priest has done ever since): 'Behold, the Wood of the Cross.'

Adoration or veneration of an image or representation of Christ's cross does not mean that we actually adore the material image, of course, but rather what it represents. In kneeling before the crucifix and kissing it we are paying the highest honor to our Lord's cross as the instrument of our salvation. Because the Cross is inseparable from His sacrifice, in reverencing His Cross we, in effect, adore Christ. Thus we affirm: 'We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee because by Thy Holy Cross Thou has Redeemed the World.'

Stations of the Cross.

In some Churches, the Stations of the Cross is celebrated on Good Friday morning. It is a Catholic custom of Lent that commemorates the passion of Jesus on Good Friday.

The Stations of the Cross, also called The Way of the Cross, is a devotion to the Passion of Christ consisting of prayers and meditations on fourteen occurrences that were experienced by Christ on His way to Mt. Calvary where He was was crucified, and culminating on the fifteenth Station to meditate His glorious resurrection on the third day (Easter Sunday).

It is a popular devotion used by individuals or groups who wish through prayer and reflection to follow Jesus Christ on His way to Calvary. Many Christians practice the devotion, but the Stations hold a special significance among Roman Catholics. It is one of the most important devotions honoring the passion of Jesus.

What matters most in the Stations of the Cross is to follow Jesus Christ in His passion and to see ourselves mirrored in him. To face life's dark side in ourselves and in our world, we need images of hope, and Jesus offers images of hope in His passion. By accompanying Him on the Way of the Cross, we gain His courageous patience and learn to trust in God who delivers us from evil.

The devotion originated in the late 4th century when pilgrims flocked to the Holy Land from all parts of the world to visit the land of Jesus. Heading the list of places they visited was the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which had been built by the Emperor Constantine in 335 AD atop Calvary and the tomb of Jesus

There following are 15 Stations of the Cross

The First Station: Jesus is Condemned to Die

The Second Station: Jesus is Made to Bear His Cross

The Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time

The Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Mother

The Fifth Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry His Cross

The Sixth Station: Veronica Wipes Jesus' Face

The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time

The Eighth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time

The Tenth Station: Jesus is Stripped of His garment

The Eleventh Station: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

The Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

The Fifteenth Station: Jesus is Risen from the dead


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