How I would love to go and sit in a church or other place of sanctuary and meditation today and work my prayer beads. Good Friday has always been one of my favorite days in the church calendar. Is that weird? It is such a somber day. I think it is among my favorites because when I was a child New York’s channel 11 used to run some movie – maybe “King of Kings” – every Good Friday and the scene on the cross was so dramatic. Whatever movie it was, I particularly remember the part where when Jesus died, the skies darkened and huge storm clouds rolled in and there was all this thunder and lightning. The drama of it just got me. And I guess I knew about death as a kid – I had lost my great-grandmother and two great-aunts – and I could grasp the idea that Jesus died.
So on this day I usually slip into a church – any denomination will do, as I feel all people of faith are family – and I sit in a pew and look at the cross and think about the day and what it must have been like. I also usually open the Bible and read the section about the crucifixion in one of the Gospels.
But today I am sick. Sick, sick, sick. I have the creeping crud that has hit everyone hard this year and, the doc said, a touch of pneumonia. So I am not going anywhere. Instead, I will say the following prayers, drawn from the Good Friday section of Phyllis Tickle‘s remarkable “The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime” which is just about essential for anyone who wants to practice personal prayer at Eastertide.
Because today is all about the cross and the crucifixion, I will use my Catholic rosary today. If you are using another form, simply pick and choose the prayers below that fit your beads.
On the Cross/Crucifix/Terminal Charm
To you , O Lord, I lift up my soul; my God, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 25:1)
On the Invitatory/First Our Father Bead
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; knit my heart to you that I may fear your Name. (Psalm 86:11)
[On the Three Hail Mary Beads: Catholic Rosary only]
Remember me, Lord, when you come into Your kingdom. (Luke 22:42)
On the Cruciform/Our Father Beads
For God alone my soul in silence waits; from him comes my salvation.
On the Weeks/Decade Beads
1. I am poured out like water . . . my heart within my breast is like melting wax.
2. My mouth is dried out like a potshard . . . and you have laid me in the dust of the grave.
3. Packs of dogs close me in, and gangs of evildoers circle around me . . .
4. They pierce my hands and my feet; I can count all my bones.
5. They divide my garments among them; they cast lots for my clothing.
6. Be not far away, O Lord, you are my strength
7. Save me from the sword, hasten to help me.
8. Save me from the lion’s mouth, my wretched body from the horns of wild bulls. (Psalm 22:14-20)
9. I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born; you were my God when I was still in my mother’s womb.
10. Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help (Psalm 2:10-11)
(Repeat three times around, then say a prayer of your choice on the medal.)
On Returning to the Cross/Crucifix/Terminal Charm
Almighty and everlasting God, who willed that our Savior should take our flesh and suffer death upon the Cross, that all mankind should follow the example of His great humility, mercifully grant that I may both follow the example of His patience and also be made a partaker of His resurrection. Through the same Jesus Christ. Amen.