So I broke my rules for this.. I wrote it a few weeks ago, so it has not sat for six months. I hope it's not terrible.
Of all the Catholic holidays, it’s Good Friday I miss the most. Sometimes I wonder what it says about me? Perhaps I have intersected the dark, solemnity of the day With spring, with the beginning of thunderstorm season, With the end of religious education, or just being very close To the eternal masses of Holy Week ending, (a suffering all young Catholic children endure yearly).
On Good Friday you call from across country, Typically, past your usual calling time Because you have been in mass all afternoon. You’ve just had your restrictive meal of fish, which I used to hate, but now I sort of crave a Friday Fish Fry.
I know you have prayed for me. I know you do daily. You, who lives in fear of cancer returning daily, Prays for her restless, depressed, son of no satiation. At times, I want to beg you Don’t waste prayers on me.
As it is my biggest fear you will go to your grave feeling unsettled That I, your only son, has never settled or found peace. All I can think about all day is my old faith. Faith, once taught, goes into DNA, into marrow. You can run, refuse, but you will forever be a refugee.
The earth is dry this time of the year, a sad sponge, Absorbing everything, constantly in a state of dry mouth. Perhaps it is this pattern that allows the imagery of Good Friday To evoke so much memory. Even when you dip the first three fingers of the right hand into the bénetier to make the Sign of the Cross and enter the church, you find sand.
Statues, crosses, things of beauty covered In white linens, in attempt to shield parishoners from beauty In order to heighten their anticipation for Easter Sunday, When the water would return and bring back Christ To an alter of exuberant spring flowers.
Still Good Friday brought something magical In the darkened church, the organ grieving, The beautiful figures, statues, stained glass too colorful, now ghosted A remembrance, a truth to the fact we acknowledge the grief, the love, all that is born and slain in this world, With hope there will be a resurrection. Most days
Faith feels like this. Being young, I remember the reading of The Passion Of Christ. In the text, it states somewhere around 3 PM, the whole world grew dark. I remember riding my popsicle blue bike waiting For the world to grow dark, and it felt like it did.
As I was taken into the large church, darkened, With ghosted statues and a weeping organ. The Passion might be the church’s most breathtaking literature. Politics, assassinations, and the women, barely mentioned, Who open and close the biblical stories.
The Magdaline enters as one of the most prominent biblical women, With perhaps the shortest part, given her importance. mportance. Veronica wipes spit and mud from Jesus’ faith out of empathy, The woman at Bethany anointing Jesus with oil using her hair, And the moment when Jesus’ heart was pierced so a ‘sword,’ pierced the heart of his very own mother. As he died on the cross, It was the women who stayed.
I use to hear Alice Cooper singing, “Only Women Bleed,’ in my teenage years during that mass. When my mother calls yearly on this day, it is clear One cannot know how a woman wants. My faith, a pale thing, Yet she continues to believe, nursing me with her patience, Hoping someday I’ll return to lapsed beliefs, where
I might be released from my tears and returned from loneliness To the comfort of old words, that make me kneel again. I feel sad she believes all my Gods have fallen away. She has no idea how I still wait for the world to fall dark On this Friday afternoon, how I relate to a day not celebrated for miracles, But kept sacred out of grief and loss. Easters, with their spring colors
And celebrations of resurrections, feel glossy, feel like miracles. Good Friday feels like humanity, politics, loss, grief, And moments of kindness, mothers enduring their son’s Pain they wish they could take from them. It feels real. Nails through the flesh.
And yes, hope that there is such a thing as resurrection, That our sins can be forgiven, that we can evolve and rise up Through our pain and suffering; however, that is hope and faith. That is what I hear when my mother tells me she prays for me nightly. Hope that my life will become an Easter instead of a Good Friday.
When she says it, I know what Jesus felt staring down at his mother. Suffering above her, the thing no child ever wants their mother to feel. During Christ's last few hours on the cross, when darkness fell over land. Before His death, Jesus uttered the words, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” It is perhaps a prayer I’ve shared with God more than any other.
It why Good Friday stays with me more than any other Catholic holiday. It is what I ask most. It is what I ask when my mother tells me She prays for my soul to be at peace. For no son, Wants his mother to feel he is hanging on a cross And no son wants to leave his mother uncertain...
If only the son can find The God in himself to find resurrection From a cross he has so strongly carried To the crucifixion of his own mortal body,
Which is strong enough to know There is life after each death There is resurrection to come For all he has been persecuted for he will endure as long as he clings tightly to faith in himself.