Friday, March 21, 2008

The Silence

Today is Good Friday. It is the most solemn day in the Church's calendar. On this day we recall the horrific events leading to the death of our Lord. It is the only day of the year in which no Mass is celebrated anywhere in the world. Instead, we receive the Eucharist from what was consecrated yesterday.

For years I was always a bit uncomfortable with Good Friday. How are we to act? What are we to do? It seemed foolish to me to think of Christ as dead when He is indeed risen. But Paul said we preach Christ crucified. At Mass we proclaim His death daily until He comes. We are called to live crucified; to enter into the dying of our Lord that we may attain the resurrection through Him. So this has a vital part.

Good Friday is observed in silence for the most part. Silence is uncomfortable. We are more at ease with noise, commotion, and celebration. But to enter into the silence can be unnerving. What will we encounter there? What sins will come to light? What wrestling will we need to endure? What things will God speak to us in the silence?

About 3:00 p.m. our Lord cried, "It is finished!" and yielded up His Spirit. From then until the dawn of Easter Sunday, there was silence. By walking with our Lord in this silence, we will learn much about His death and its meaning. We may even learn about death itself and confront our own mortality. Someday we will die. Our voices will be silenced as well. How are we preparing now for that day?

In the silence there is grief. How do we not mourn as we consider the passion of our Lord? He has given so much for us. Nothing speaks louder of His great love for us. Today, of all days, we are called to see what our sins cost Him. We should weep in repentance. We should allow ourselves to die with Him so that He may raise us to newness of life with Him as well.

It is only those who will walk in the dying of Christ that will truly experience the life of Christ. It is only by yielding up our own spirit now that we can be saved in the end.

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