Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday 2016

It is a very special day when the Feast of the Annunciation--when the Archangel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive Jesus--falls on Good Friday--the day when Jesus was crucified.
"This symbolically rich concurrence is relatively rare, occurring only three times in the 20th century (1910, 1921, and 1932), and twice in the 21st century (2005 and 2016). After 2016, it will not occur again for more than a century."
Additionally, March 25 is the Feast of St. Dismas, the Good Thief, who died next to Jesus--so today is a blockbuster day!

I share with you a poem by John Donne (1608).

Upon the Annunciation and 
Passion Falling upon One Day 

Tamely, frail body, abstain today; today
My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.
She sees Him man, so like God made in this,
That of them both a circle emblem is,
Whose first and last concur; this doubtful day
Of feast or fast, Christ came and went away;
She sees Him nothing twice at once, who’s all;
She sees a Cedar plant itself and fall,
Her Maker put to making, and the head
Of life at once not yet alive yet dead;
She sees at once the virgin mother stay
Reclused at home, public at Golgotha;
Sad and rejoiced she’s seen at once, and seen
At almost fifty and at scarce fifteen;
At once a Son is promised her, and gone;
Gabriel gives Christ to her, He her to John;
Not fully a mother, she’s in orbity,
At once receiver and the legacy;
All this, and all between, this day hath shown,
The abridgement of Christ’s story, which makes one
(As in plain maps, the furthest west is east)
Of the Angels’ Ave and Consummatum est.
How well the Church, God’s court of faculties,
Deals in some times and seldom joining these!
As by the self-fixed Pole we never do
Direct our course, but the next star thereto,
Which shows where the other is and which we say
(Because it strays not far) doth never stray,
So God by His Church, nearest to Him, we know
And stand firm, if we by her motion go;
His Spirit, as His fiery pillar doth
Lead, and His Church, as cloud, to one end both.
This Church, by letting these days join, hath shown
Death and conception in mankind is one:
Or ‘twas in Him the same humility
That He would be a man and leave to be:
Or as creation He had made, as God,
With the last judgment but one period,
His imitating Spouse would join in one
Manhood’s extremes: He shall come, He is gone:
Or as though the least of His pains, deeds, or words,
Would busy a life, she all this day affords;
This treasure then, in gross, my soul uplay, 
And in my life retail it every day.

Early morning walk

We started our day taking a lovely, two-mile spring walk in 60-degree weather, even before eating breakfast.

Early morning walk

I am aware of a common occurrence in larger families in which the first batch of children get a more directed catechesis than the second batch of children, when Mama is simply so busy. By five years old, my first born essentially knew all the children's Bible stories and had much Scripture memorized, while the current 5-year-old has had cursory exposure to the actual Bible.

It's not a fair direct comparison, though, because the later-born children grow up immersed in more living of the Catholic faith: being surrounded by babies that keep coming, attending all the liturgical events, growing up with the rosary prayed around them, and much dinner table conversation about the faith.

Nonetheless, I am these days intentionally trying to catechize the 3-and 5-year-old children!

I bought, as I have many years in the past, "The Story of Easter," a sticker book by Aquinas Kids. Chris cleared out the bigger children and I gave focused time to reading through the Passion to the children, as they vied for placing the stickers. (Later, I used this sticker book during Stations of the Cross at church, which scene the children couldn't see or absorb anyway.)

After attending Stations of the Cross and the Sacrament of Confession . . .

Heading into Stations of the Cross

We went home and did some Good Friday housecleaning in preparation for Easter. The younger children watched Hanna Barbera's "The Easter Story" while the two olders watched "The Greatest Story Ever Told."

Supplies to make 1,200 cards

As in years past, I organized my supplies to lead dozens of children in making 1,200 Easter cards tomorrow at church!

Then Chris took the older children to the Tenebrae service--which all of us still fondly call "the boom boom Mass" (aptly named by Mary when she was a tiny tot)--while I took Thomas on his first swinging in our back yard, which he loved!

Thomas' first swinging (8 months old)


  1. Oh what a special Good Friday it was and so rich in meaning! Thanks for posting the John Donne poem.