This is the crucifix I have hanging in my kitchen. I bought it many years ago after moving into my own apartment. I saw it at St Vinnie's & it reminded me of the one in my childhood home. (That one was a bit fancier.) There was 1 small flaw. If you look close, the nail in Jesus' left hand is obviously different. That is because the original was missing. So when I got home, I found the smallest nail I had & pounded it in. Obviously it didn't match, nor could I pound it in all the way.
As I was pounding the nail, i couldn't help but be reminded that it was my sins that were responsible for Jesus' crucifixion in the 1st place. So whenever I look at it, I have a visible reminder of how personal what Jesus did was. He did it for me.
Which leads me to today's Good Friday liturgy. On Good Friday, as well as Palm Sunday, the Passion Gospel is read with the congregation reading the part of the crowd. So we say things like "We have no king but Caesar" & especially "Crucify Him!" Again, that serves as a reminder for each of us there that it was our sins that put Him there, not just the crowd yelling. Each time we sin, as Father Parker pointed out in the homily, we again say "Crucify Him!"
But we must also remember that it is because of God's mercy that He was there to pay the price of those sins. Justice demands that a price be paid for even the smallest of our sins, either by us or someone who could pay the full price that we never could pay in full.
Eternity is not long enough for any of us, on our own, to pay the price of even 1 small sin against an infinite God. So God became man & died for our sins.
Our response is to repent & seek God's mercy. We do that especially through the sacrament/mystery of Confession. In confessing our sins, mortal &/or venial, the price is paid. But we still have an additional responsibility, we must repair the damage. For instance, when you steal, if possible you must return what was stolen. This is where purgatory & indulgences come in. Note, this is not a "get out of hell free" card. They are there to clean us up so that none of our sin nature will be there when we stand before the throne. C. S. Lewis saw it that way & said so. " Of course I pray for the dead. The action is so spontaneous, so all but inevitable, that only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter me. And I hardly know how the rest of my prayers would survive if those for the dead were forbidden. At our age, the majority of those we love best are dead. What sort of intercourse with God could I have if what I love best were unmentionable to him?I believe in Purgatory.
. . . . . Our souls demand Purgatory, don't they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, 'It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy'? Should we not reply, 'With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I'd rather be cleaned first.' 'It may hurt, you know' - 'Even so, sir.'
I assume that the process of purification will normally involve suffering. Partly from tradition; partly because most real good that has been done me in this life has involved it. But I don't think the suffering is the purpose of the purgation. I can well believe that people neither much worse nor much better than I will suffer less than I or more. . . . The treatment given will be the one required, whether it hurts little or much."C.S. Lewis, Letters To Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, chapter 20
The devotion to the Divine Mercy revealed to Sr. Faustina is another tool to help us in cleaning up as well as helping those in Purgatory. Today starts 1 of the ways we can tap into that Mercy. I am referring to the Divine Mercy Novena
. While it can be prayed any time of year, Jesus asked that it especially be prayed beginning on Good Friday. It ends on the Saturday after Easter, the day before the Church celebrates the Feast of Divine Mercy
All the graces we receive from these devotions flows from what happened today, Jesus' death on the Cross.
Jesus told Sr. Faustina, the greater the sinner, the more he has the right to ask for my mercy. But great or small, we all need it.
So, if you haven't, repent, turn to Jesu & receive forgiveness. additionally, start praying the novena & participate in celebrating the Feast, receiving all that God did through Jesus, nothing less than the salvation of the world, salvation & forgiveness for all who will receive it.
As we proclaimed at one point in the liturgy today "Behold the wood of the Cross on which has hung the salvation of the world."
Come let us adore.
St. Mary's Catholic Church, E DBQ, after the Good Friday Liturgy
29 March 2013