One of the secrets of the saints is finding ways to grow to love Jesus Christ. Meditation on the word of God is essential. Listen to the words of Psalm 1 “Happy are those who do not follow the counsel of the wicked, Nor go the way of sinners, nor sit in the company of scoffers. Rather, the law of the Lord is their joy; God’s law they study day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2).
However, the meditation of the Passion, suffering and death that Jesus underwent on Good Friday, can produce the most profound impact on our life, especially realizing that He suffered the most bitter pains and agony, not simply to save humanity as a whole, but to save you and me individually! How extraordinary is God’s love!
This being the case, we will offer a wide variety of sources that you can delve into, immersing your mind, imagination, memory and heart into the depths of the Passion of Jesus. With St. Francis of Assisi, who loved Jesus so much that he was willing to accept in his mortal body the wounds of Jesus called the “Stigmata”, let us pray this saint’s famous prayer, a prayer we say when we make the Way of the cross, moving from one station to the next: “We adore you, O Christ and we bless you because by your cross you have redeemed the world.” Prayerfully read through these ways to enter into the Passion of Christ and choose whatever way the Holy Spirit speaks to your heart!
1. Read through the Passion accounts in the Gospels. Get to know the Biblical data; note some of the differences according to the different Gospels. Where to be found? The following chapters: Mt. 26-27, Mk. 14-15, Lk. 22-23, Jn. 18-19.
2. ROSARY. Contemplate the Sorrowful mysteries, but with much greater attention to the details in the passion.
3. WAY OF THE CROSS. Do it as a prayer; there are various ways, collectively, in a group, Friday in the Parish. Can be done privately with a guide/booklet. Finally, can go from one station to the next and contemplate the stain-glass windows. You can offer your own intentions. Jesus encouraged St. Faustina to do the Way of the Cross every day at the mercy hour—3:00 p.m. Both Pope JPII and Ben. 16th did the Way of the cross in the Coliseum on Good Friday.
4. CROSS/JESUS CRUCIFIED. In silence, contemplate this, the greatest symbol of love on earth.
5. The 7 Last words: try to memorize and to meditate on the 7 last words that Jesus uttered on the cross.
6. The 7 Sorrows of Mary. Invite Mary to help you to live out the Passion of her son with fervor and intensity.
7. GIBSON FILM. View it not so much as a Hollywood rendition, but rather as a contemplative prayer. Note the scenes that touched you most and use theme as scenes that can be used in your meditation.
8. THE MOVIE:MIRACLE OF MARCELLINUS. The same! Note the wonderful colloquy between the little boy and Jesus! This should be a model and stimulus for us in our personal prayer life.
9. READINGS: Emmerik: The Dolorous Passion of Jesus. Gibson took many of his ideas in the film from this secondary source. She is “Blessed”. Therefore, it is a very reliable source!
10. VICTIM SOULS: Padre Pio, St. Therese, Little Jacinta, Blessed Alexandrina Acosta. All of us are called to a “limited degree” to unite our sufferings to Christ for the redemption of the world! Sheen defines a priest as, “The victim who offers the “VICTIM”.
11. MASS! Go deeper into your understanding of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as a reliving of the Sacrifice of Calvary!
12. FASTING! Remember the value of “Fasting” and personal penance in Lent, but especially on Good Friday!
13. IGNATIAN REASONS FOR THE PASSION! Call to mind! Remember why Jesus suffered and died on the cross! To show us the gravity of sin, but even more, to show us the greatness of the love of God, and the personal love that God has for every one of us individually! He died for all of humanity, but at the same time, He died for all of us individually!
14. CONFESSION & GOOD FRIDAY. Pope Blessed John Paul II had the habit of going into the confessional and hearing confessions on this day. Why? Sacramental connection—the death of Jesus on the cross and the personal call for all of us to die to sin in our lives. This is one of the primary focuses of living out fully the season of Lent!
15.PASCHAL MYSTERY. The cross(Good Friday) is part of the Paschal Mystery. The fullness of it is that Jesus died, but also that He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday!
16. SIGN OF THE CROSS. Renew fervor when you make the sign of the cross. It teaches us two essential mysteries: The Blessed Trinity and the mystery of the cross as the means Jesus chose to save our souls for all eternity!
17. LITURGY OF GOOD FRIDAY. Enter into this simple but profound Liturgy of Good Friday. There are three separate parts: Reading of the Passion of Christ—very similar to Palm Sunday, but the reading of a different Gospel; then the adoration of the Holy Cross; finally Holy Communion to those who desire to receive!
18. MY/YOUR CROSS! It might be a very fruitful reflection: simply and humbly to look into your own life and see your past crosses and your present crosses. See how have you carried them in the past; then see the present crosses and see how you are carrying them now! Do you try to carry the cross by yourself or do you invite Jesus to come with you and assist you in carrying your own cross?
19. Do you add to the cross of others or do you try to alleviate the crosses of your brothers and sisters? Try to be a Good Samaritan on the Highway of life; or better yet, a “Simon the Cyrene” always willing to help those who carry heavy crosses to be of assistance.
20. IGNATIAN FRUIT: to beg for the grace to suffer with Christ, sorrow, tears, breaking…He went through His passion for me!!!
21.STORIES RELATED TO THE CROSS:
a) The field of crosses= Jesus gives the best cross for you, according to your ability and strength!
b) The Cordoba cross! Jesus’ hand became detached extending forgiveness and absolution to the weak sinner!
c) The footsteps in the sand: In the most difficult moments there was only on footprint in the sand. Why? Because then Jesus was carrying you!
d) Lenten sermon/Good Friday and “Lift up your cross”. A cross can be a human person. Often those who live with us. Love begins at home.
e) Germany and the cross without any arms and legs! The body on the cross fell off during a bombardment in World War II. The creative priest, wrote and posted below the cross: “I need your hands and legs to save the world.”
f) Catechism and the boy that nailed Jesus to the cross. Our sins are responsible for nailing Jesus to the cross.
g) Nails in the wood and pulled out. Our sins, even when forgiven, still leave remnants and vestiges.
In conclusion, use some of these specific means to enter into the greatest manifestation of love the world ever witnessed: the Suffering, Passion and death of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! “No greater love has a man than to lay down his life for those he loves!” This Jesus did for you and for me! Allow the triple question of St. Ignatius to move you to conversion: “What have I done for Jesus? What am I doing for Jesus? What will I do for Jesus?” Now is to the time act!