The Order of Preachers — the Dominicans — help here. If you are looking for a way into the Passion today, this video beautifully illustrates the prayer of this day:
The text comes from Catherine di Ricci, a 16th-century Dominican saint from Italy, reflecting on Christ’s words on the Cross and our response. What He has done and what are we doing?! That’s why we have today and tomorrow, which is beautiful and haunting. We are called to rest in these days, in the Passion, in what He has done and what we are meant to do, if we truly believe this.
I am shut up and I cannot come forth * mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction and my sweat became like drops of blood * falling down on the ground For dogs have compassed me * the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me
And we say, we pray:
The Mercy of the Lord * I will sing for ever
Surely he hath borne our griefs * and carried our sorrows
He was wounded for our transgressions * he was bruised for our iniquities
All we like sheep gave gone astray …
Awake, why do you sleep, O Lord? * arise, and do not cast us off for ever
Behold, God is my Savior * I will trust, and not be afraid
Let us pray. In gratitude and for one another. That Catherine’s prayer is ours.
What God did for us is stunning. St. Frances de Sales stops us in our tracks with this:
He could have redeemed us in a thousand other ways than that of His Son’s death. But He did not will to do so, for what may have been sufficient for our salvation was not sufficient for His love; and to show us how much He loved us, this divine Son died the cruelest and most ignominious of deaths, that of the Cross.
The implication in all this is clear: since He died of love for us, we also should die of love for Him; or, if we cannot die of love, at least we should live for Him alone. [2 Cor. 5:14-15] If we do not love Him and live for Him, we shall be the most disloyal, unfaithful and wretched creatures imaginable. Such disloyalty is what the great St. Augustine complained about. “O Lord,” he said, “is it possible for man to know that You died for him and for him not to live for You?” And that great lover, St. Francis, sobbed, “Ah! You have died of love and no one loves You!”
He died, then. But although He died for us and was lifted up on the Cross, those who refuse to look upon Him will surely die, for there is no other redemption but in this Cross. O God, how spiritually beneficial and profitable is a consideration of your Cross and Passion!
It’s life or death. That’s what Good Friday is. A chance to reflect on the choice of our lives.
It’s a choice we make every day, with every person that we meet, every reflection on our words and thoughts and actions. The choice is whether or not to surrender to Divine Mercy or insist that we are our god.
We need a Savior. We have one! Let’s go to Him. Let’s return to Him. Let’s stay with Him. Let’s help one another know Him and be loved by Him.
Do you honestly know another way?