Posted by: Paul | 04/02/2010

Making Good Friday Good

Good Friday — a good day, indeed, to say the rosary.

I would also recommend a terrific book I discovered a year or so ago, “The Sadness of Christ” by St. Thomas More. Written while he awaited execution in the Tower of London, it’s filled with his saintly reflections on Christ’s Agony in the Garden. Even if you’re familiar with the story of our Lord’s suffering, More may surprise you with his tremendous depth of understanding.

One small example: More quotes the Gospel verse, “Across the stream Cedron to the outlying estate named Gethsemane.” He notes that in Hebrew “Cedron” means “sadness” and “Gethsemane” means “most fertile valley.” By no accident does the Gospel note these names, the good saint says. These names are there to remind us:

“We must … cross over the valley and stream of Cedron, a valley of tears and a stream of sadness whose waves can wash away the blackness and filth of our sins. But if we get so weary of pain and grief that we perversely attempt to change this world, this place of labor and penance, into a joyful haven of rest, if we seek heaven on earth, we cut ourselves off forever from true happiness and will drown ourselves in penance when it is too late to do any good and in unbearable, unending tribulations as well.”

If More can pull that from a couple of place names, imagine what he’s able to draw from the Agony itself. Better yet, don’t imagine — get the book for yourself.

St. Thomas More, pray for us.

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