Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

Arising late, I took the opportunity to read Matins and Lauds together this Good Friday morn, over the last forty minutes considering Our Lord's Passion, as a late Tenebræ.  Now I have before me an icon of the Cross; Our Lady weeps, comforted by the holy women; St John the Beloved beats his breast in sorrow; the centurion confesses the Lord; and between and above them all hangs Christ on His Cross, triumphant in death.

A book with prayers dear to me is E. Milner-White's A Procession of Passion Prayers, first published 1951, when the author was the Anglican Dean of York: the prayers are devout and catholic, and I cannot do better but quote now the last of them (cf. Rom. vi, 8; viii, 17; Eph. ii, 5-6; Col. ii, 12-13; II Tim. ii, 11):

The Tree of Life

ALMIGHTY everlasting God, who hast reared from earth unto heaven a mighty Tree, standing for ever, whereon before the face of men hangeth a Man, stretched and nailed, rejected, dying and alone: O thou that art true and shewest only truth, grant us to fear not to suffer with him, die with him and be buried with him, that we may also be made alive with him and glorified together in the heavenly places; where now he reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one GOD, world without end.

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