Sunday, 31 March 2013

Good Friday Service

The Good Friday Service is usually the part of the Triduum that I find most emotional, but this year it ran a close second to the Mass of the Lord's Supper the night before.

That said, it was still very touching. The Passion was read by two young people, along with the priest, and they did a very good job. I always find the Passion account of Saint John to be less heartfelt than those of the other Gospels, perhaps due to the scripture references that are included - I know they are there because John's Gospel was written later and for a different purpose, but they do break up the narrative in places.

Even so I was able to focus on the words and consider the Passion deeply as it was being proclaimed. Over the past year I have begun to appreciate the Liturgy of the Word a great deal more than I ever have before; this I think is down to the fact that I actually listen to them and look for the relationships with my own life. Anyone can hear a reading from scripture and not relate to it, even look for the fault in it; but to see its meaning in our own lives requires us to be open to the deeper meaning in what we hear. Again this may be an idea that I explore more fully in a future post.

After the Proclamation of the Passion came the Veneration of the Cross. This is an action that I always saw as quite matter of fact when I was younger, and I am not sure I fully appreciate the significance even now. I have read recently about whether the word 'veneration' or 'adoration' is more appropriate when dealing with the cross (and indeed any cross or crucifix). There are different terms in Greek for worship of God directly, worship of Our Lady and worship of the Saints; these terms translate as adoration (as in ~ of the Blessed Sacrament - as the real presence of Christ) and (high) veneration (of Our Lady and the saints). Given that the cross is not a real presence of God, venerate would seem to be the correct word, but I have seen it listed as 'adoration of the cross' in a number of places. Going up to venerate the cross, there was a nice hymn playing, but it still felt a bit of a functional thing to be doing; it is not that I do not have the highest regard for the Holy Cross, but I would rather spend some time in quiet contemplation (and do, regularly) than queue up to kiss the foot of the cross directly. As I say I think need to consider the significance of the clear, public nature of the veneration of the cross on Good Friday.

Best wishes.

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