Friday after Ash Wednesday
Every Friday is a “little Good Friday,” a day to honor Jesus’ sacrifice.
That’s why we make some sort of sacrifice, in union with His, on all Fridays
(and specifically abstaining from meat on Fridays during Lent).
It’s also why the following prayer has special significance for the Fridays of Lent
Praying this before a crucifix on a Lenten Friday
(with the usual conditions of Holy Communion the same day,
Sacramental Confession within a week before or after,
prayers for the pope’s intentions–at least an “Our Father” and “Hail Mary”–
and no attachment to sin), makes one eligible for a plenary indulgence
(i.e., to have the Church open Her treasury of graces
to pay all the moral (not monetary!) debts you’ve incurred,
that you would otherwise pay in Purgatory):
Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus,
while before Your Face I humbly kneel;
and with burning soul, pray and beseech You to fix deep in my heart
lively sentiments of Faith, Hope and Charity,
true contrition for all my sins and a firm purpose of amendment;
while I contemplate with great love and tender pity Your five wounds,
calling to mind the words which David, Your prophet, said of You, my Jesus:
“They have pierced My hands and My feet, they have numbered all My bones!”
The Lord heard and had mercy on me;
the Lord became my helper
Show gracious favor, O Lord, we pray,
to the works of penance we have begun,
that we may have strength to accomplish with sincerity
the bodily observances we undertake.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Isaiah 58:1-9 (fasting is supposed to make us holy)
Psalm 51: 3-19 “A broken, humbled heart, O God, You will not scorn”
+Matthew 9:14-15 (there is a time to fast)
The penances that please the Lord
are ones of which we’re least aware.
The ones we choose
too often stoke our pride
and make things worse.
God doesn’t want to tear us down,
but build us up!
The fast from rough impatience,
from insisting on “my way,”
from turning a blind eye
from those in need–
these are penances with purpose,
in daily ways.
They take us out of our small world,
to share God’s heart,
to meet a need,
to make us part of something bigger
That’s what God wants!
That, He can bless.
What opportunities for self-sacrifice, for giving of yourself (or restraining your natural inclinations) for the benefit of others, do you experience as a normal part of your daily life?
Are you taking advantage of them?