Friday of the Fifth Week of Lent
FRIDAY OF SORROWS-FIRST FRIDAY
Isaiah, Chapter 41, Verse 10
Do not FEAR: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
Those that fear the Lord have a great love for Him. “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (Jn. 14:15)
Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way. But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all. (Col. 3:5-11)
Friday of the Fifth Week of LentFriday in Passion Week
Prayer. MERCIFULLY infuse Thy grace into our hearts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that, by doing voluntary penance for our sins, we may be punished here, rather than be condemned to punishment for eternity.
EPISTLE. Jerem. xvii. 13-18.
In those days Jeremias said: O Lord, the hope of Israel: all that forsake Thee shall be confounded: they that depart from Thee, shall be written in the earth: because they have forsaken the Lord the vein of living waters: heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed: save me, and I shall be saved: for Thou art my praise. Behold they say to me: Where is the word of the Lord? let it come. And I am not troubled, following Thee for my pastor: and I have not desired the day of man, Thou knowest it. That which went out of my lips, hath been right in Thy sight. Be not Thou a terror unto me, thou art my hope in the day of affliction. Let them be confounded that persecute me, and let not me be confounded: let them be afraid, and let not me be afraid: bring upon them the day of affliction, and with a double destruction, destroy them, O Lord our God.
GOSPEL. John xi. 47-54.
At that time: The chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said: What do we, for this man doth many miracles?
If we let Him alone so, all will believe in Him, and the Romans will come, and take away our place and nation. But one of them named Caiphas, being the high priest that year, said to them: You know nothing. Neither do you consider that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this he spoke not of himself: but being the high priest of that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation. And not only for the nation, but to gather together in one the children of God, that were dispersed. From that day, therefore, they devised to put Him to death. Wherefore Jesus walked no more openly among the Jews, but He went into a country near the desert, unto a city that is called Ephrem, and there He abode with His disciples.
Read: “Wherefore, we ask, urgently and prayerfully, that we, as people of God, make of the entire Lenten Season a period of special penitential observance. Following the instructions of the Holy See, we declare that the obligation both to fast and to abstain from meat, an obligation observed under a stricter formality by our fathers in the faith, still binds on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. No Catholic Christian will lightly excuse himself from so hallowed an obligation on the Wednesday which solemnly opens the Lenten season and, on that Friday, called ‘Good’ because on that day Christ suffered in the flesh and died for our sins. . .. Gratefully remembering this, Catholic peoples from time immemorial have set apart Friday for special penitential observance by which they gladly suffer with Christ that they may one day be glorified with Him. This is the heart of the tradition of abstinence from meat on Friday where that tradition has been observed in the holy Catholic Church.”
(1966 USCCB Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence, no. 12 and no. 18)
Reflect: "If you have fasted two or three days, do not think yourself better than others who do not fast. You fast and are angry; another eats and wears a smiling face."
—St. Jerome, Letters, 22.37
—St. Jerome, Letters, 22.37
Pray: Pray that abstinence from some of your favorite things this Lenten season will help bring you closer to God long after the season is over.
Act: Take note of the meatless meals you have enjoyed this Lent. Add your favorites to your family’s regular meal rotation once Lent is over.
The Friday of Sorrows is
a solemn pious remembrance of the sorrowful Blessed Virgin Mary on the Friday
before Palm Sunday held in the fifth week of Lent (formerly called
"Passion Week"). In Divine
Worship: The Missal
it is called Saint Mary in Passiontide and sometimes it is traditionally
known as Our Lady in Passiontide.
Friday of Sorrows
In certain Catholic countries, especially in Mexico, Guatemala, Italy, Peru, Brazil, Spain, Malta, Nicaragua and the Philippines, it is seen as the beginning of the Holy Week celebrations and termed as Viernes de Dolores (Friday of Sorrows). It takes place exactly one week before Good Friday, and concentrates on the emotional pain that the Passion of Jesus Christ caused to his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is venerated under the title Our Lady of Sorrows. In certain Spanish-speaking countries, the day is also referred to as Council Friday, because of the choice of John 11:47-54 as the Gospel passage read in the Tridentine Mass on that day (which is now read in slightly expanded form on Saturday of the fifth week of Lent), which recounts the conciliar meeting of the Sanhedrin priests to discuss what to do with Jesus. Like all Fridays in Lent, this Friday is a day of abstinence from meat, unless the national episcopal conference has indicated alternative forms of penance. A similar commemoration in sympathy with the Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Solitude is held on Black Saturday.
In this exhortation, Pope Francis is very clear – he is doing his duty as the Vicar of Christ, by strongly urging each and every Christian to freely, and without any qualifications, acknowledge and be open to what God wants them to be – that is 'to be holy, as He is holy' (1 Pet 1:15). The mission entrusted to each of us in the waters of baptism was simple – by God's grace and power, we are called to become saints. 'Do not be afraid of holiness (no. 32).' In a way, each one of us has a fear of striving for holiness – a fear that we would be mocked, ignored, or even hated by others because we would stand out. Yet that is what the Lord has called each and every person to! Pope Francis calls us out: A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness, for 'this is the will of God, your sanctification (I Thess 4:3) (no. 19).' Holiness comes through the daily struggles each of us face. In the ordinary course of each day, the Pope reminds us, 'We need to recognize and combat our aggressive and selfish inclinations, and not let them take root' (no. 114). Yet, he says, this 'battle is sweet, for it allows us to rejoice each time the Lord triumphs in our lives' (no. 158). We need to have civility in all our interactions, especially in the media. 'Christians too,' the Holy Father writes, 'can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication.' This can be true even in Catholic media (no. 115). Even in our heated disagreements with one another, we always need to remember that it is God who judges, not man (James 4:12).' In the light of Easter joy, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, I encourage every Christian to rekindle their baptismal call to be holy by reading this wonderful exhortation by Pope Francis, especially the beautiful section on the Beatitudes. Through an exploration of the Beatitudes, and by offering examples of how to live out our call to holiness in everyday life, the Holy Father has given us a wonderful tool for renewing our love for God and for each other."
Prayers for the Dead
Relationships never end and neither should our prayers for the dead. In addition to prayers we should also offer up Masses for them and offer indulgences for their benefit. The dead cannot pray for themselves but they can pray for us and we in turn should pray for them.
First Friday and the Sacred Heart of Jesus
ALTHOUGH many pious souls had been accustomed, in the silence of their secluded lives, to venerate the sacred Heart of Jesus with great devotion, still our divine Savior desired that the boundless love of His Heart might be known by all men, and that a new fire of love should thereby be kindled in the cold hearts of Christians. For this purpose, He made use of a frail and little-known instrument in the person of Margaret Mary Alacoque, a nun of the Order of the Visitation, at Parayle-Monial, France. One day, when, according to her custom during the octave of Corpus Christi, she was deeply engaged in devotions before the Blessed Sacrament, the divine Savior appeared to her, showed her His Heart burning with love, and said: “Behold this Heart, which has so loved men that it has spared nothing, even to exhausting and consuming itself, in order to testify its love. In return I receive from the greater part only ingratitude, by their irreverence and sacrilege, and by the coldness and contempt they have for Me in this sacrament of love. And what is most painful to Me is that they are hearts consecrated to Me. It is for this reason I ask thee that the first Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi be appropriated to a special feast to honor My Heart by communicating on that day and making reparation for the indignity that it has received. And I promise that My Heart shall dilate to pour out abundantly the influences of its love on all that will render it this honor or procure its being rendered. Margaret obeyed, but met everywhere the greatest opposition, until finally, when she became mistress of novices, she succeeded, by the help of her divine Spouse, in animating her young charges to venerate the sacred Heart of Jesus. But this was not sufficient for her zeal. She persevered until she softened the opposition of the nuns and kindled in all an equal devotion towards the most sacred Heart. Thence the devotion spread to the adjoining dioceses, where confraternities in honor of the most sacred Heart of Jesus soon sprung up. Pope Clement XIII., after having instituted a most rigorous examination of the whole affair, commanded that the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus should be solemnly celebrated throughout the whole Catholic Church every year, on the first Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi.
The Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
1. Object of this Devotion.
In the divine Heart of Our Savior we must not imagine an inanimate heart, separated from the person of Christ, but the living heart of the God-Man, the center of all His affections, the fountain of all His virtues, the most touching emblem of His infinite love to man. The Church venerates the cross, the blood, and the wounds of the divine Savior, by feasts which have their proper masses and lessons, in order, by meditation upon these objects, to awaken in us a more fervent devotion to the Redeemer. How much more worthy, then, of our devotion is the sacred Heart of Our Savior, since all its thoughts, movements, and affections aim at our salvation, and it is always ready to receive truly penitent sinners, to pardon them, to restore them again to God s favor, and make them partakers of eternal happiness!
2. Excellence of this Devotion.
It is, writes the venerable P. Simon Gourdan:
a. A holy devotion, for therein men venerate in Christ those affections and motions of His Heart by which He sanctified the Church, glorified His Heavenly Father, and showed Himself to men as a perfect example of the most sublime holiness.
b. An ancient devotion of the Catholic Church, which, instructed by St. Paul, the great apostle, has at all times acknowledged the great beneficence of the divine and sacred Heart of Jesus.
c. An approved devotion, for the Holy Scriptures everywhere admonish us to renew the heart, by changing our lives; to penetrate it with true sorrow, to inflame it with divine love, and to adorn it by the practice of all virtues. When, therefore, a new heart is promised us, by which to direct our lives, that can be no other than the Heart of Jesus, which is to us the pattern of all excellence, and which we must follow if we would be saved.
d. A perfect devotion, as being the origin of all other devotions. For the Heart of Jesus is the inexhaustible treasury from which the blessed Mother of God, and all other saints have derived their graces, their virtues, their life, their spiritual goods. Filled first with treasures from this source, different servants of God have instituted and established other devotions.
e. A profitable devotion, for thereby we have brought before our eyes the very fountain of life and grace, and can draw directly from it, increasing in ourselves all virtues, by adoring this divine Heart, meditating on its holy affections, and endeavoring to imitate them.
f. A devotion pleasing to God, for thus we adore God, as Christ requires, in spirit and in truth, serving Him inwardly in our hearts, and endeavoring to please Him. Finally it is:
g. A useful devotion, since its whole object is to unite us most intimately with Christ as members of Him, her head, to make us live by and according to His spirit, to have one heart and soul with Him, and through grace finally to become one with Him, which is and must be the object of all devotions.
As this devotion is, then, so excellent, we cannot sufficiently recommend it to all who are anxious for their salvation. While everyone can practice this devotion, and adore the sacred Heart of Jesus, by himself, there is a greater blessing when pious souls unite and form a confraternity for practicing the devotion. Hesitate not, Christian soul, to engage in this devotion, and to join in the adoration of that sacred Heart of Jesus in which all men find propitiation, the pious, confidence; sinners, hope; the afflicted, consolation; the sick, support; the dying, refuge ; the elect, joy and delight.
An Offering to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
Whoever says the following prayer before the image of the most sacred Heart of Jesus, with sincere sorrow for his sins, gains each time an indulgence of one hundred days; and by saying it daily for a month, he can on any one day gain a plenary indulgence, if he makes his confession, receives communion, and prays according to the intention of the Church:
“My loving Jesus, I (N.N.) give Thee my heart; and I consecrate myself wholly to Thee, out of the grateful love I bear Thee, and as reparation for all my unfaithfulness; and with Thy aid I purpose never to sin again.”
Aids in Battle Empty consolations of the Devil
Some people, when they reflect on the goodness of God and the passion of Christ, are powerfully moved to sighs, tears, prayers, and other devout actions, so that you might suppose their hearts were seized with a very fervent devotion. But when they are tested, we find that they are like the passing rains of a hot summer, which may fall heavily on the earth, but do not penetrate it, and bring forth only mushrooms. In the same way, these tears and emotions in a corrupt heart do not penetrate it and are altogether fruitless. For these unhappy people would not give up a penny of their unjustly acquired wealth or renounce one of their perverse affections, nor would they endure the slightest suffering in the service of that Savior over whom they have wept. Their good impulses are like spiritual mushrooms. Not only are they a false devotion, but too often they are actually the deep wiles of Satan. While he amuses souls with such empty consolations, he induces them to remain satisfied with them instead of seeking true and solid devotion, which consists in a constant, resolute, prompt, and active will to carry out what we know to be pleasing to God. ST. FRANCIS DE SALES
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896
 Hahn, Scott, Signs of Life; 40 Catholic Customs and their biblical roots. Chap. 40. Prayers for the Dead.
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
 Thigpen, Paul. Manual for Spiritual Warfare. TAN Books.