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The Passion and Death of Jesus: The Minor Players

by Theresa Cavicchio

The final days of Lent call us to reflect more deeply on the Sorrowful Mysteries – key scenes in the climax of Jesus’ earthly life from Holy Thursday night through the Friday we call Good. As Pope Saint John Paul II writes, “the Rosary selects certain moments from the Passion, inviting the faithful to contemplate them in their hearts and to relive them” (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 22).

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At the foot of the cross

Good Friday
O Mother dear, didst thou but hear
My plaint of desolation,
Thy tender heart would burst apart
With grief of separation!
I am not stone, yet all alone
I hush My soul’s outcrying, --
Alone to tread the wine-press red,
To bear the pain of dying.
My lips are dumb, the night has come;
Ah! Solace I might borrow
Had I but thee to bide with Me
In this wild waste of sorrow.
“Gentle moon and start of midnight,
Golden apples born of sunshine,
Precious pearls and jewels rare, --
All things glorious, all things shining,”
Thus the sorrowing Mother spake;
“E’en ye bright, transfigured faces,
Mourn with me for Jesus’ sake.
“Sparkle, gleam, and glow no longer:
Only moan and mourn for Him.
Shine not, shine not, weep forever,
Till your thousand eyes are dim;
For the mighty One has fallen,
And my Beautiful is slain;
In the dense wood pierced, my Shepherd, --
Weep ye, weep ye for my pain!
O most oppressed of all oppressed,
Heart of my heart, my all, my Son!
Grief’s keenest sword doth pierce my breast:
I die with Thee, my only one!
Alas! the pain is all too great,
Since, living, still I share Thy fate.
“Yes, mine Thou wert to bear and rear
Through life and light, and pain and loss;
And now, ten thousand times more dear,
I yield Thee to the cruel cross!”
-“Dialogue at the Cross,” Frederick Spee, S. J. (1591-1635)
translated from the German by Mary E. Mannix

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Stationed at the Cross: With Our Lady on Calvary

                    Painting by Evgraf Semenovich Sorokin (Wikicommons)

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala (Jn 19:25)

On this Good Friday, I choose to be there, I want to be there, standing with Our Lady. I know she can rely on the other women and Saint John, but perhaps another loving presence will be a source of added comfort for her.

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Church's Good Friday Prayer Sparks Controversy with Italian Jewish Leaders

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer Italian Jewish leaders have decided not to participate in the annual day of Catholic-Jewish dialogue ceremonies with the Vatican this January in protest of a recently restored prayer in the Tridentine version of the Church’s Good Friday service that calls for the conversion of the Jews.

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