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I don’t come from a strict Catholic family who observe every rules and regulations of the Catholic Church. I think times have change, every Catholic and Christian family has their own belief in which holy days that are compulsory to observe and which are not necessary.
However, every family has to attend the Sunday mass to listen to the priest preaches and go for confession, do the penance given by the priest before receiving the Holy Communion ( eating the thin piece of bread ). Unlike any normal catholic families, our family’s tradition is a little different from the others. We only observe every Good Fridays, Easter and Christmas Day. Furthermore, we do not pray together as we are not used to holding hands together while praying or singing a hymn. This is because we were taught to pray individually since our childhood days by our Catechism teacher.
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What is Good Friday? When is Good Friday?
We all know that Good Friday is one of the most solemn religious holiday in Catholic calendar. It is observe by Catholics and Christians all over the world , in order to commemorate the crucifixion of Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for the sake of mankind. Man had sinned against the Lord. For those who died, their souls could not enter heaven. Therefore, Lord Jesus Christ death is the only way to open the gates of heaven so that human souls could enter heaven. Therefore, we are reminded that human sins had cause Christ death.
Good Friday is held on the last Friday before Easter Sunday. This year, Good Friday falls on 10th April 2020. All Catholics and Christians observe this day with deep respect, feeling of grievance and humility , in order to remind us of the passion, the suffering that Lord Jesus Christ had endured and his death on the cross.
The name “Good Friday ’ is also known as “Holy Friday ” or “God Friday ” in ancient times. However, why is it called “Good Friday ” when this day is not a joyful day? Good Friday was used by the Roman Church back in the 6th to 7th centuries. According to the gospel, it may have come from the Gallican Church in Gaul where the name “Gate Freitg ” which means “Good or Holy Friday ” in German language.
However, God Friday was not used often as the word “God ” is viewed to be a “Holy ” word which should not be spoken casually or aloud. Hence, it was replaced by “Good Friday ” instead. Furthermore, “Good ” means Catholics and Christians are doing good deeds by fasting, abstinence, mourning and constant prayers which are not done in normal days.
When I was in primary school, my catechism teacher who was a convent nun, taught us not to use the phrase”Oh My God ! or OMG ” casually because we should respect HIM for HE is the creator of human and ruler of the universe. I do agree that a lot of people use this phrase unintentionally when they are in shock or surprise, a habit I would presume.
Hence, she taught us to use the phrase in prayer only like this;
” Oh my God, we are very sorry to have sinned against you because you are so good, I shall not sin again”
Subconsciously, we never use the phrase “OMG” except in prayers.
How to be a good Christian on Good Friday?
- Fasting and abstinence
Most Christian and Catholic families participate in fasting, prayer, performing penance and long hours of meditation to observe this solemn day. Although it is not compulsory to fast in the Christian tradition, majority Christian followers were taught from their early ancestors to fast in order to remember Lord Jesus Christ sacrifice and pain. For generations, Christians fasting behavior have changed over the period of time, from strict fasting and abstinence on all range of meat to no fasting at all.
According to my family common practice, we do not eat chicken or pork meat on every Friday during the Lent period ( 40 days before Easter Sunday ). However, we do consume fish in the first meal and go vegetarian on the second meal of the day, because Lord Jesus Christ fed Five Thousand Men with five loaves and two fishes as stated in the New Testament Bible.
Therefore, fish is not included in meat. Nevertheless, some Christian families that I knew from church members actually really practice strict fasting and abstinence by eating two small meals a day. This means ¼ size of the normal meal and one full meal. In addition, they do not eat any meat products at all, regardless of meat, be it fish, pork or chicken. They truly became vegetarian on every Friday.
It is believed that during strict fasting days, you will feel closer to God and deepen your faith with additional prayers as you can experience Lord Jesus Christ sorrow and pain in this time of mourning. We learn to repent from our sins, ask for forgiveness and become humble to others. This “Holy ” fasting practice differs among different Christian families customs as it is purely individual family decision.
The main focus on fasting is to encourage all Christians to be responsible for their own self control and teaches self reliance as well. We are often tempted when we are weaken spiritually and physically during fasting period. Hence, we have to depend on our confidence, loyalty to God and endurance in order to achieve happiness during times of sorrow.
- Say daily Prayer
During the fasting period, daily prayers and meditation helps to deepen your understanding and enhance closeness to God. Daily prayer is like you are talking to God about your daily activities, thanking HIM for today events, complaining to HIM what or who had irritated you, seeking for HIS forgiveness, hoping that HE will help you to change for a better person, telling HIM your secrets, happiness and woes when you had no one to turn to. Sometimes, I could feel HE is listening to me, answered my prayers in many ways which are not obviously seen.
Our church priest who often preaches on Sunday mass, once said; “When we pray, we ask GOD for something as in the bible stated”Ask, Seek, Knock “ and you will find answer, Seek earnestly with good intention, you will find answer enlighten in your heart and mind.”
I remembered vividly he told us a story of a man who was stranded on top of a roof because there was a big flood in town. He prayed to GOD, asking HIM to save him from the rising flood danger; take him away to somewhere safe. He did prayed earnestly and GOD sent some help. Firstly, a police boat came by to save him, urging the man to jump into the boat but he refused the policeman help. Secondly, a helicopter flew by and lowered down a rope ladder. A rescuer told the man to climb up the ladder. As you may guess, the stupid man rejected the kind offer too. We were all puzzled why did the stranded man refused to be saved by the two rescuers . The answer was simple; the stranded man wanted GOD to come down personally to save him which we all laughed in amusement.
The phrase “Ask, Seek, Knock” literally means we have to help ourselves if we want GOD to help us. On Good Friday, we should pray selflessly, which means we pray for others who are suffering from illness and the people who are grieving in pain for their demise love ones. We seek for GOD’s love to ease their pain, hopefully bring miracle to give them light of hope. We were also taught to pray for the victims of Tsunami, earthquake, landslide and tornadoes which hit our neighbor countries. Think of the bright side, maybe the natural disasters are test from GOD to make the victims become stronger, to be united During havoc, chaos period, console each other by giving words of comfort and extend your helping hand in whatever way you can, be it volunteer work, donate generously in form of money or daily necessities and constant prayers to enlighten their grievance and sadness.
See picture for rosary prayers
- Meditate with the rosary
Meditation is a method where GOD speaks to us through our hearts. Our Catechism teacher taught us how to meditate with the rosary on every Monday in our school chapel. It is a chapel which resembles a small church that consists of the Lord Jesus Christ statue embedded to the centre of the wall, 4 rows of long wooden seats similar to the church and images of 12 Station of the Cross, 6 pieces of the left and another 6 pieces on the right side of the chapel. Each of us was required to bring our own rosary to meditate.
At the first station of the cross, we had to kneel down on the floor and say our prayers; The Apostle Creed, Our Father, 3 Hail Mary’s, Glory Be, Fatima Prayers and announce different mystery at each station. Back then, there were 15 of us, cramped together in a small space as the chapel was small. By miracle, we chant our meditation for six years of our primary school years. That is how we learnt to pray by heart, meditated faithfully for the next five years until we graduated from secondary school.
After a hard day work, allow yourself some quiet moments by spending a few hours on prayers and meditation in your room to cool off your mind. The best time to pray and meditate will be after you had put your kids into bed or after dinner time. You could inform your family members that you need some privacy in order to pray so that they will not disturb you or might as well persuade them to join with you to pray together in the comfort of your living room. After a good prayer and meditation, you will feel refresh, a calmer person and you are able to listen to others easily; not a stubborn person.
- Go to church
On Good Friday, there won’t be any mass or celebration because it is a day of mourning to remember the death of Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, you will notice many worshippers meditating with their rosaries, the whole church scenery will be quiet with murmuring prayers.
Some church may hold somber ceremony with priest dress in black vestment, the alter bare and candles are not lit at all. Alternatively, the priest may include long hours of various prayers for special intentions such as to pray for the sick and dying people, missionaries and many more. Worshippers are allowed to stand or kneel down at the “Station of the Cross” offering prayers and singing hymns when they passed at each images which represented Lord Jesus Christ steps.Some may even come forward to the cross, kneel down while washing Lord Jesus Christ feet with the holy water, dry them before kissing HIS feet.
In different country, their church hold procession of worshippers walk in black robes or carry the black robe statue of Lord Jesus Christ around the church compound to symbolize the Simon of Cyrene who was forced to carry Lord Jesus Christ’s cross, as the bible stated.
Conclusion is every church of different country practice different ceremony to observe Good Friday.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 peachy
peachy (author) from Home Sweet Home on June 27, 2013:
Thanks for reading my hub. God bless you too
Romeos Quill from Lincolnshire, England on June 27, 2013:
An interesting Hub peachpurple.As far as I've been told, nowhere does it say in the New Testament are we to worship Mary.Indeed, she was blessed amongst all women to bear the Saviour of mankind, which is obviously dually based upon fact and faith, respectively.
Regarding special days;I was taught that if you set one day above another, then that is between the believer, and God.If one chooses to treat all days as the same, then that is also between the believer, and God - whatever brings glory to God, with room for the personal freedom of choice.At the end of the day, it seems to be the attitude of the mind and heart which is the most important in His sight, as far as I've been told, which is far more appreciated than the bells and smells of ceremony.
Thank you so much for a fascinating read, and I hope you enjoy a lovely day/evening where you reside.
Peace and Goodwill;