Good Friday Day“Before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth crucifed.”— Gal. iii. 1, R.V.
Picture: your crucifix.
Resolve: to meditate on my crucifix.
I — The sacred head.
a. The seat of the intelligence. To fix the attention on this part of the crucifix is to remind one’s self that he moved towards his cross with the clear deliberation of purpose, knowing it to be the Father’s will. He waited upon the unfolding events as one who realized that “My times are in thy hand.” Even now he is giving himself to die: he is fulfilling his mission he is not being defeated.
b. Consider that his sacred head had been caressed by a devoted mother in the days of his infancy; now it was crowned with thorns. When he was in his ministry he had not where to lay his head, and now it had been struck in mockery ( S. Mark xv. 19).
c. The head is the ruling part of the body. In the Body corporate he is the Head. Fix the mind on that, and learn there from the lesson of the crucifix. That which the Head has done for the Body, the Body shares with him. All initiation is from the Head, but he works through the Body, and in it by his own power he reproduces the experience of the Head. Am I becoming conformed to his crucifixion? What he does for me, he must do in me.
II — The arms.
a. Stretched out upon the cross. Consider them spread out in prayer to God. The crucifixion is, on his part, an act of obedience and an oblation. Therefore his crucifixion is intercession. It is good that one pray at times with the arms stretched out, to realize the value of prayer in union with his merits. And the spirit of the cross should enter into one’s life of intercession.
b. Next consider the arms outstretched to embrace you and all the world. “All the day long have I stretched out my hands to a gainsaying and disobedient people.” His arms are stretched out east and west, for so far as the east is from the west, so far hath he set our sins front us. In these arms, too, he embraced children. Learn to say Eph. iii. 17, 18 with S. Paul.
c. See those hands, laid upon the sick: with them he wrote upon the ground ( S. John viii. 6-8, 11). He stretched out his hands to bless. S. Thomas spoke rightly ( S. John xx. 25); the blessing of Christ must come from out of his glorious Passion; it must be the benediction of the pardoning blood. These hands have consecrated the Sacred Host; think how he gives to you the broken body with his nail-stricken hand. Say, “The chastisement of our peace was upon him.”
III — The feet.
a. “Beautiful are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings.” Think of the ministry of those feet. S. Paul bids us have our feet shod with the preparedness of the gospel of peace: contrast your own wayward feet with his, and think of the Good Shepherd, leaving us an example that we should walk in his steps, for he has said, “Follow me.”
b. Consider the gradual restraint of his feet as the ministry proceeded, till at last he must not even go to Jerusalem, except when his hour was come. And now his feet are pierced together. And yet we rebel if we cannot do all that we wish to do, or if any constraint is put upon us.
c. Once more consider those feet, kissed with penitent love, which Simon would not wash. But it was he who washed his disciples’ feet. Oh, Minister of humble service, what emperor would not now wash thy feet? Yet do we not obey thy word, to wash one another’s feet. If faith is not strong enough to embrace thee on thy cross, yet may we cling to thy feet, and kiss their wounds with penitential love.