On Good Friday, in these times, we have to do more than fast from food in order to contemplate properly Our Lord’s agonising death. In the internet age, our iPhone might pose the greatest distraction. We can access entertaining YouTube videos and interesting Facebook statuses that remove us from thinking about Our Lord’s death and even make meditating on Calvary seem like something superfluous when we can amuse ourselves so easily.
For most of us, it’s essential to be wary of Twitter, where following the spat du jour can give an adrenaline rush and make us feel that a bitter quarrel is much more worthy of our attention than giving our minds to reflecting on Our Lord’s sufferings – sufferings that were offered on our behalf.
There is a long list of what not to do. Making the day as holy as possible means having the right to-do list, too. One thing that I’ve learned over the years is to say the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary as early in the day as possible. This paints the mind with scenes from Calvary.
While this may sound a bit self-seeking, it can be very motivating to remember the specific blessings that are attached to reciting the rosary, especially those that relate to our own death. Our Lady promised that “whoever shall have a true devotion for the rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church”.
Doing the Stations of the Cross may mean that we gain an indulgence for a loved one who has passed away. Some people find it useful to dress in a sombre way by wearing black clothes, or by dressing in an understated way. For youngsters, who may be outliers in their peer groups, they might be avoiding a night out at the pub, in favour of staying at home and fasting. This is a day of mourning, so bloggers might modify their blog template and turn it black for the day.
One meditation proposed by Padre Pio is quite hard to do, but would certainly mean that we are showing our share of gratitude to Our Lord. Padre Pio suggested: “Imagine Jesus crucified in your arms and on your chest, and say 100 times as you kiss His chest: ‘This is my hope, the living source of my happiness; this is the heart of my soul; nothing will ever separate me from His love.’”