We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee
Because by Thy Holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
If you’re like me, you probably like to meditate on Christ’s Passion on Good Friday. One of the ways that I find helps is to think about the Shroud of Turin, and one of the best resources for that is shroud.com, the official website for the Shroud. This website is run by Barrie Schwortz, who was one of the original researchers on the Shroud of Turin Research Project in 1978. By his own testimony, Schwortz originally believed the Shroud was some sort of painting. But the more the team studied it, the more they found that defied explanation. Although he is Jewish, he strongly believes the Shroud is the real deal: “The only reason I am still involved with the Shroud of Turin is because knowing the unbiased facts continues to convince me of its authenticity.”
All in all, it’s a fascinating website and especially timely for today.
We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee because by Thy Holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world.
The human race was redeemed today, but that redemption came at a high cost, a cost that we must never forget. To that end, this is an article that details some of the relics associated with the Passion–things like a piece of the True Cross, the sign that hung over Jesus’s head, and the tunic He wore. It also lists the cup that tradition holds is the Holy Grail–so we’ve known where it was the entire time, and Indiana Jones’s quest was for nothing.
In all seriousness, though, there are some fascinating images included here.
Today is Good Friday, the day on which Christ was crucified for our sins, and if you know anything about Tolkien, you probably know that it is also the anniversary of the day when Frodo and Sam made it to Mount Doom and destroyed the Ring. It was never a coincidence that Tolkien chose March 25 for this important date in Middle-Earth history (just as it was no coincidence that he chose December 25 as the date the Fellowship set out from Rivendell).
You see, there is a very old tradition that states that the original Good Friday took place on March 25. I’ve heard conflicting reports on whether or not that tradition is accurate, but the important point is that there is a good chance Tolkien had heard of it, him being Catholic and all. Making the day when the power of the Ring is forever broken the same day as when Christ broke the power of sin and death would have been an extremely powerful parallel for a story already rich with Catholic symbols and parallels (there’s a brief mention of Original Sin–“It was fitting that Isildur’s heir should labor to repair Isildur’s fault”–lembas means “life-bread” or “bread of life”, which is a common title for the Eucharist, etc.).
Of course, March 25 is also the Feast of the Annunciation, which is more commonly known, so it’s also possible that Tolkien chose that date for the Ring’s destruction to honor the Annunciation, in which case I have officially lost my mind. But even if I am wrong about why he used March 25, it is still a fascinating parallel to ponder.
Behold the wood of the Cross on which hung the Savior of the World.
On this Good Friday, let us never forget that Christ died for our sins. We are just as guilty as those who cried out for His Crucifixion and those who nailed Him to the Cross. It’s so easy to point to the sins of others and say, “Christ had to die to atone for such a horrible sin!” But all sin is horrible; all sin separates us from God. We all nailed Him to the Cross today.
The good news is that He forgives us and loves us anyway, and that should motivate us to change the way we live our lives. He died for us, and the best way to thank Him is to live our lives so that they please Him.
The tabernacle’s empty! And because the tabernacle’s empty, the entire church feels empty, and it’s depressing. Yes, yes, I know; it’s Good Friday; we’re supposed to be depressed today, but to see the door just standing open with nothing and no One inside…it’s tough. It makes you crabby, and it makes you want to cry, and all you do is sit in the back of the church and depressingly mull over the fact that Jesus isn’t in there like He’s supposed to be. Yes, God is everwhere, so technically Jesus is still in the church, but it’s not the same thing at all.
It’s a good thing that Good Friday comes only once a year. I don’t think I could handle an empty tabernacle more times.