08 October 2015

Keeping Friday in Union with Christ

These devotions below come from an older form and translation of the Maronite Catholic Office of Good Friday.  I commend them to you especially for use on Thursday after sunset through sunset on Friday (the Hebrew keeping of the day).  Many of you are too busy to say the Stations of the Cross, but every Friday needs a special recollection, contemplation, and devotion to Our Lord in His Suffering for our sake, our salvation, and the reconciliation of Creation with His Father the Creator of All. 

Very few engage in any act of self-denial on Friday since Vatican II; however, it was easy to understand how simply not eating meat (or eating loads of fish at the parish fish fry) did little to instill a deep devotion and solidarity between us and Our Lord in the memory of His suffering to death upon the Cross.  Something more was needed, but nothing of sufficient form or function came forward -- not surprising given the predilections of those involved in chopping, slicing, and dicing the liturgical and devotional life of the Church after Vatican II.

So .... I offer these Maronite prayers hoping that for some of you they will become a part of your Friday devotions to unite yourself with Our Lord in His suffering by specific recollection as well as self-denial. 

The Head
O Head of my Saviour and my God, dearer and more worshipful art thou to me crowned with thorns than adorned with a royal diadem. O wounds of the sacred Head, I believe and I confess that from you flow all blessing and all grace ; through you the true water of life is outpoured on all mankind. The piercing thorns have dared to tear the head of their Creator, and for the sins of men is he thus hideously used. O loving Saviour, forgive us those sins and grant us thy grace, for the sake of that precious Blood spilled for our salvation. Amen.

The Hands
O mighty Hands of my Saviour, by whose touch sight was given to the blind, Love stretched you on the cross that men should be drawn nearer to the divine heart. But for his will the cruel tormentors of earthly power were too weak to drive the nails. Woe to us, that by our sins we scorn thy love and renew thy bitter pains. Forgive me, O divine Saviour, and grant us for the sake of thy wounded hands the grace of perfect sorrow and strong will to flee all sin and its occasions, that we may keep our hands from wickedness. Amen.

The Feet
O loving Jesus, our Saviour and our God, thy sacred feet have walked only for out salvation, treading the stony paths in search of thy sheep lost and entangled in the thorns of sin. For this wert thou nailed to the cross by wicked men, and we have earned infinity of punishment. But infinite too is the divine mercy and love for men, and thou hast borne their punishment, praying thine Heavenly Father from the cross to forgive them, for they know not what they do. We wash thy feet with tears, as once did Mary Magdalen, that for the sake of their wounds we may hear thee say, 'Thy sins are forgiven thee.' Bind our feet, lest they enter on sinful ways ; guide them by thy grace, that they stumble not on stones and fail not for weakness, but reach thine eternal kingdom, where with thy saints we may praise thee for ever and ever. Amen.

From the older form of the Maronite Office of Good Friday