Posted by: guinness222 | April 14, 2017

“Good Friday” thoughts.

As a Roman Catholic, with 12 years old Parochial Schooling, four years of Latin, (which in retrospect is a GREAT language for knowledge and a passable reading capability of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, and any of the other “romantic” languages, plus vocabulary understanding and word “roots”).

But today is about the real beginning of Christianity! As a Catholic I believe that Jesus Christ was the Lord and Savior of the World, and as the Centurian said at the foot of the cross, from the movie, “truly this man was the Son of God!”. I believe in all the tenants of Catholicism, the philosophy of Christianity,  as expressed in the New Testament, the Old Testament, and many more things, BUT….

As some probably already picked up I stated that “today is about the real beginning of Christianity”. Some would argue that Easter Sunday is the beginning, others the birth of Christ, still others various points from the Annunciation, where the Angels asked Mary to be the “Mother of God”.

I support “Good Friday” because while everyone states, He , “meaning Jesus Christ” proved he was God on Easter Sunday when he rose from the dead, and was seen by hundreds, spoke to many, and performed many miracles and other supernatural  actions for the forty days after he rose from the dead, BUT…..

When was the last time in your life that another “human” took a bullet for you willingly, pushed you out of the way of the bus, and fell behind you doing it. When you ever have the opportunity to DIRECTLY save another human, (whom you did not even know) as an extraordinary act with absolutely no remorse for giving up your own life,  truly for the strangers life?

As humans we are afflicted with all the temptations, vices, attitudes and weaknesses of being human. Yes we have “good streaks”, where we deliberately can act generously, selflessly, and kindly to anyone, some more so than others. I’m not putting a “quota” or “percentage” on the “good streak”,….but I’m just saying!

Sometimes we can stop to remember, but mostly not because of the hectic pace of life today, and it’s demands. When I was a kid, in the 1950’s and ’60’s we lived near a place in Jamaica Plain Massachusetts called “The Home for Italian Chidren”. I believe it was an orphanage/troubled children’s home run by The Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Boston. They had a small chapel and as we were going to a parochial school always had Good Friday off.

I got in the habit of going there on Good Friday, as my Dad was working, my Mom had  three other children she had to look after, and we only had one car. That was before Vatican II and everything was still in Latin. Good Friday services in Catholicism are usually very short, as there are no Masses from 3pm on Good Friday until (back then) Easter Sunday morning. (Vatican II began what. Is called the Trideum, which allows for a Mass after Sunset on Holy Saturday, but it is a long, slow, uber ceremonial three to five hour session,…not my real cup of tea)

But after the Stations of the Cross, and a very short Communion Service, on Good Friday there was a period of “Adoration” where the Body of Christ was exposed for veneration and prayers by the Priest, and people then sat prayed, thought about the meaning of it all, and the entire mystery of the Catholic faith. I have always been a contemplative person I guess, (But did not really find out until a few years later) and even more so as I age, and found the adoration and “quiet time” for introspective thought very inspirational and calming. It allows me to center myself, my thoughts, my beliefs, and my life.

In 1958, I began at Catholic Memorial High School and in relatively short fashion we were taken on a “Retreat” to a place in Gloucester ,Massachusetts run by the Jesuit order of priests, for a Friday afternoon until Sunday evening session of  prayers and introspective thought. (Sounded interesting as an early teen) We were given sparsely furnished rooms, one person to a room, no radio, no TV, no entertainment at all. We then had sessions where there we some prayers, some discussion, and then sent back to our “room/cell” to sit and think and instructed there was to be no talking, there would be a bell to either come back to the conference room, or go to a meal in the dining hall. At first it was very weird to a 13 year old, but after a while I realized I only had me, myself, and I to work with, during those “periods of thought time”.

By Saturday morning I was really beginning to like it. The “alone” periods were occasionally referred to as “meditation periods”, and I really felt more and more comfortable as each one happened. I learned that this was time to go inward to yourself and “explore” what the few “age old questions about life, God, and ourselves” were all about.

(Recently, I learned this entire procedure and exercise is called “Ignatian Contemplation or meditation”. (About six months ago our Parish had a Jesuit Priest who offer a three evening, one hour each, little “mini-course” in the entire process. It was developed by St. Ignatious Loyola, of Spain who founded and developed the method and it was a real foundation for the Jesuits who followed him since the 1400’s,…..AND IT WORKS!!!)

This is a long way around to the point out that the silence and art of contemplation is phenomenal at the least. And as I said, a centering and guiding set of touchstones for anyone’s life.

Jesuits have always been known as the “thinking order” in the Catholic Church, in fact the current Pope, Francis the First, is a Jesuit. They are a tough hard nosed, totally committed order to theology, thought, and THIKING PROCESS,  education, and evangelization.

But I’ve even expanded my life to do a lot of “contemplative” or “meditaational” thought,….it’s great.

I also practice Transendental Meditation (TM) , a twice a day, minimum 20 minute session, for the past four or five years.

So Good Friday afternoon, between 12 and 3 pm (the time Jesus hung on the Cross dying for us all) , I refrain from alcohol and spend the three hours in contemplation and writing , about this the greatest of Sacrifices, for every human being.

So where are you on Good Friday, and What do you do to remember what he did for all of us, and YOU in particular?


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