As I wrote earlier, I was again struck by the truth that I, as a sinful man, yet redeemed by Christ's Passion, am Barabbas, set free while the Holy One is made the scapegoat, our atonement and our lasting peace. Last night (after finishing work, thanks be) I went off to hear Mass for Holy Thursday at Carmel; I felt quite unworthy to communicate, and was mindful of the fate of Judas, into whom the devil entered, so sacrilegious a communion that traitor-apostle made!
After Mass, while yet so low, I had perforce a second appointment to keep, at 9pm – to help out with the singing of Compline at St Francis, Riverside, as a conclusion to their period of adoration at the altar of repose.
To-day, Good Friday, marks not only the Lord's Passion, but (I know it sounds bad to say) the start of a most welcome holiday from work. Thanks be indeed! I hope I don't scandalize my readers by saying that I marked this morning by sleeping in: one can only do what one can do. There is no Tenebræ in these parts, and I had no inclination to attend Stations mid-morning; rather, after a walk, I went off to Carmel again for the Solemn Liturgy at 3pm.
The good nuns have a Dominican friar over to celebrate the Triduum for them, which meant we had a good sermon at Mass yester-day, and another to-day: Fr remarked at the outset that our atheistic age is frightened of death and despises its mystery and meaning, preferring to wallow in emotion at best, or to commit abortion and euthanasia at worst. That woke up the congregation!
Being a good Thomist, our preacher then went on to carefully distinguish between the real and true suffering that Our Lord underwent in His Sacred Humanity, and the deep truth that in His Divine Nature, as God, remains transcendent and beyond all suffering – hence He both knows our woes and has undergone all for us, while being also Almighty to save. If God in His Godhead suffered, He would no longer be all-perfect, being rather "hopelessly enmeshed in the world" and unable to save us out of our mess. I do like anti-Modernist homilies.
When I went up to kiss the crucifix, I was consoled by the thought that there are two rituals in which all may partake: receiving the ashes at the start of Lent, and venerating the Cross at the end of it.
It greatly calmed me when Father announced he would hear confessions after the Liturgy: so having heard the readings and above all St John's Passion (in which we read the Crowd parts together with the nuns: "Not this Man, but Barabbas"...), said Amen to the Solemn Prayers, crept to the Cross, and then prayed while Communion was given, I had the consolation of making my humble confession, being reconciled on this most holy day, indeed being laved in Christ's Blood. A decade of the Rosary before the Crucifix followed.
I can't wait now for Easter!