Summary: God’s Friday is the day when, through the Cross, humanity could be reconciled with God demonstrating God’s triumph that we celebrate today.
GOD’S FRIDAY AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF SUFFERING
This is the fourth God’s Friday we have shared. The little exchange we had yesterday regarding the terminally ill reminded me of one thing all followers of Christ in the Communion of Saints share: suffering.
Standing at the foot of the Cross, being bathed in the tears of the bereaved, or holding the hand of one who is dying allows us entry into a holy place.
It is from that elevated, holy ground we can begin to appreciate the words "bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ." From that vantage point we begin to perceive how a person can "fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ." It was by really entering the fellowship of suffering and bearing the burdens of others that men and women were transformed into saints.
The following is a snippet from John Henry Cardinal Newman’s Anglican Sermons regarding one whose soul was pierced at the foot of the cross. Whatever one’s opinions are regarding Blessed Mary’s role in the Communion of Saints, we can all see deeper into the mystery of our God who bleeds if, as Newman suggests, we look through Mary’s eyes.
May God bless us all during these Holy Days.
Sermon 7. Our Lady in the GospelThird Sunday in Lent, 26th March 1848
(snipped from the conclusion of Newman’s sermon)
Therefore it was that from the beginning of His ministry, He gave up His Mother. At the time He did His first miracle, He proclaimed it. He did that miracle at her bidding, but He implied, or rather declared, that He was then beginning to separate from her. He said, "What is between Me and thee?" And again, "My hour is not yet come," that is, The hour cometh when I shall acknowledge thee again, 0 my Mother. The hour cometh when thou rightly and powerfully wilt intercede with Me. The hour cometh when at thy bidding I will do miracles: it cometh, but it is not yet come. And till it is come "What is between thee and Me? I know thee not. For the time I have forgotten thee."
From that time we have no record of His seeing His Mother till He saw her under His Cross. He parted with her. Once she tried to see Him. A report went about that He was beside Himself. His friends went out to get possession of Him. The Blessed Virgin apparently did not like to be left behind. She went Out too. A message came to Him that they were seeking Him, could not reach Him for the press. Then He said those serious words, "Who is My Mother?" etc., meaning, as it would appear, that He had left all for God’s service, and that, as for our sake He had been born of the Virgin, so for our sake He gave up His Virgin Mother, that He might glorify His heavenly Father and do His work.
Such was His separation from the Blessed Mary, but when on the Cross He said, "It is finished," this time of separation was at an end. And therefore before it His blessed Mother had joined Him, and He seeing her, recognized her again. His hour was come, and He said to her of St. John, "Woman, behold thy son," and to St. John, "Behold thy Mother."
And now, my Brethren, in conclusion I will but say one thing. I do not wish your words to outrun your real feeling. I do not wish you to take up books containing the praises of the Ever Blessed Virgin, and to use them and imitate them rashly without consideration. But be sure of this, that if you cannot enter into the warmth of foreign books of devotion, it is a deficiency in you. To use strong words will not mend the matter; it is a fault within which can only gradually be overcome, but it is a deficiency, for this reason, if for no other.
Depend upon it, the way to enter into the sufferings of the Son, is to enter into the sufferings of the Mother. Place yourselves at the foot of the Cross, see Mary standing there, looking up and pierced with the sword. Imagine her feelings, make them your own. Let her be your great pattern. Feel what she felt and you will worthily mourn over the death and passion of your and her Saviour. Have her simple faith, and you will believe well. Pray to be filled with the grace given to her.
Lament with her, believe with her, and at length you will experience her blessedness of which the text speaks. None indeed can have her special prerogative, and be the Mother of the Highest, but you will have a share in that blessedness of hers which is greater, the blessedness of doing God’s will and keeping His commandments.