Dear friends and supporters of the St. Bonifatius Institute,
today is Good Friday, the day on which the Church commemorates the crucifixion of Christ. Soon the altars and churches that are now standing empty will shine in full Easter splendour again.
To prepare for this Easter joy, we must make special use of today and tomorrow to be close to the Lord in prayer and meditation. We must not leave Him alone at this difficult time. Since most of us will not, unfortunately, have the opportunity to attend a Good Friday liturgy due to the current situation, I will provide a brief overview of the customs that have been given to us as laypeople.
The introduction to the Good Friday liturgy in Schott’s missal (the German version of the folk missals available in all languages) reads as follows:
“The three biblical readings, together with the two intermediate chants and the subsequent general intercession, form the oldest part of today’s morning service of the Roman liturgy and represent a form of worship customary in the earliest times, when Christians gathered for prayers without celebrating the Eucharist.”
As believers, we are therefore asked to read today’s texts very attentively and to bring our intercessory prayers before God as fervently as possible, so that He may hear and answer them soon.
At this time, there is a great temptation for us, all cooped up in our own houses, to “replace” the priest and to celebrate a kind of private “liturgy”. However, this is wrong and nobody should do this. As laypeople, we cannot replace the priest, especially not in these holy days. So what prayers and devotions can be considered suitable for us?
1. The rosary
Right now we should really make every effort to pray the rosary daily. In the last hours before the resurrection at Easter, we should focus on the sorrowful mysteries.
2. The Way of the Cross
The way of the cross is a very powerful prayer that will help us, particularly on Good Friday, to achieve a better understanding of the sufferings of Christ and of our own sins and shortcomings. Yes, Christ died on the cross for us and our sins. So let us all pray the Way of the Cross today. At the twelfth station, we should kneel down and contemplate again the moment of Christ’s death on the cross, to renew our determination not to abandon him, not to leave His side, but to remain faithful to Him always.
3. Religious readings
Many saints, but also many other good priests and religious, have left us wonderful devotions and readings for today.
Here are a few examples:
Thomas à Kempis: The Imitation of Christ
St. Bonaventure: The Life of Christ
St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort: The Golden Book
This list could be extended indefinitely and any good priest will certainly be able to advise to the believer who asks him for further recommendations.
Let us focus and meditate on the suffering and death of our Lord and Saviour today and prepare ourselves for his resurrection in this way.
Since many of you will unfortunately also be deprived of the opportunity to go to Easter confession, I have attached a text here that a very pious and good priest sent me and which we should all contemplate and take very seriously.
Let us not forget: our ultimate goal must always be to get to heaven. Whatever may happen on Earth is dust and ashes; not one piece of gold, not one brick of our house, not a single one of our possessions will we be able to take to heaven. We should use this time to renounce all our earthly cares and ambitions as completely as possible, each of us in accordance with our possibilities.
All of us here at the St. Boniface Institute wish you a blessed Easter. Hopefully you can celebrate it with your family and hopefully you will have the opportunity to receive Holy Communion. We have included all of you in a special prayer with this intention.
Yours in Christ, always
PS: I want to add that I really don’t know how to thank you all for your storm of prayer for my recovery. The virus was harder to beat than expected, but thanks to your prayers and the graces I received as a result, I am now healthy again and have recovered my full strength. Please continue to pray for the sick and offer up all your sufferings for them. There are many who have not recovered from this disease. They urgently need our prayers. Many thanks!
For those who will have no chance to go to confession this Easter:
If you have sinned – strive for complete repentance
What should you do if you have committed a grave sin, if you are about to die and can no longer confess?
Above all, don’t despair, but trust and repent! Nobody can sink so deep that he is no longer redeemable by God’s grace and by the blood of Jesus Christ. Trust in the infinite divine mercy that died, shedding its blood for you, on the cross. Remember that the wounds of the crucified Saviour are the most poignant expression of infinite love and kindness, and then out of love for God repent of all your sins by praying with holy earnestness:
“My Lord and my God! I repent of all my sins because I have offended You, the eternal, infinite love and goodness. I am determined to live and die according to Your holy will.
I love You, oh God, with my whole heart, and it is the greatest pain for me that I have offended You, my highest Good; o wash me clean in Your blood.”
Or, briefly: My Jesus, have mercy.
At the moment of greatest danger, just the thought “Jesus” will suffice.
Imbued with this attitude, you can be reconciled to God at any moment and become a child of God again. Love destroys sin and brings us back into grace. This loving repentance must include the determination to confess at least your grave sins at your next confession. But even if you have no opportunity to confess any more, you will still be saved.
From: Rev. Alfons Maria Weigl, “Gebetsschatz” (Treasure Chest of Prayer) (printed and published with ecclesiastical permission)