"'Turing toward the Lord' is the translation of a phrase St. Augustine often used when he had finished his sermon and was beginning the Eucharistic liturgy. While reading the Scriptures and preaching, Agustine and the lectors faced the congregation; afterwards he, the assisting ministers, and the faithful turned toward the Lord, all facing in the same direction during" the Liturgy of the Eucharist. -from Fr. U.M Lang's book, "Turning Towards The Lord"
This is a small piece from Fr. Neuhaus' book, Death on a Friday Afternoon. It's wonderful!!!
I hope that in some small way it helps you celebrate Good Friday more deeply.
Every human life, conceived from eternity and destined to eternity, here finds its story truly told. In this killing that some call senseless we are brought to our senses. here we find out who we most truly are, because here is the One who is what we are called to be. The derelict cries, "Come, follow me." Follow him there? We recoil. We close our ears. We hurry on to Easter. But we will not know what to do with Easter's light if we shun the friendship of the darkness that is wisdom's way to light.
[The prodigal son was]...determined to reach for the stars, to seize the light, to shatter the restraints of life, he went to his father and asked for all he could get...And so the prodigal son went off to what we are told was a distant country. There he wasted his money...until he had no more and was no more what he had been. Destitute..."He came to his senses"...
The beginning of wisdom is to come to our senses and know the fearful truth about ourselves, that we have wandered and wasted our days ina distant country far from home...
Stay for a while. Do not hurry by the cross on your way to Easter joy, for we know the risen Lord only through Christ and him crucified...The only joy to be trusted is the joy on the far side of a broken heart; the only life to be trusted is the life on the far side of death. Stay a while, with Christ and him crucified.
We contemplate for a time the meaning of Good Friday, and then return to what is called the real world of work and shopping and commuter trains and homes. As we come out of a movie theater adn shake our heads to clear our minds of another world where we lied for a time in suspended disbelief, as we reoriet ourselves to reality, so we leave our contemplation--we leave the church buildin, we close the book--where for a time another reality seemed possible, believable, even real. But, we tell ourselves, the real world is a world elsewhere. It is the world of deadlines to be met, of appointments to be kept, of taxes to be paid, of children to be educated. From here, from this moment at the cross, it is a distant country. "Father, forgive them, for they have forgotten the way home. They have misplaced the real world" Here, here at the cross, is the real world, here is the axis mundi.
[If the real world is that of deadlines and adgendas...] What then is that other world of worship, prayer and contemplative exploration into the mystery of Christ's presence, a presence ever elusive and disturbingly near?...It is by this world, this world at the cross, that reality is measured and judged. That other world, the world we call real, is a distant country until we with Christ bring it home to the waiting Father.
We are bringing it home, dragging it all behind us: the deadlines and the duties, the fears of failure and hopes for advancement, the loves unreturned, the plans disappointed, the children we lose, the marriage we cannot mend. And so we come loping along with reality's baggage, returning to the real--the real that we left behind when we left for what we mistook as the real world. " I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, 'Father I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'" I am no longer worhty to be called your son. I am no longer worhty to be called your daughter. And Christ our elder brother takes the baggage and hoists it upon his shoulders, adding this to all that on the cross he is bearing and bringing home. "Father, forgive them, for they knew not what they were doing."
"Come to me," he had earlier said, "all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Bring me your baggage.
We have come to believe in God's love: in these words the Christian can express the fundamental decision of his life. Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.
I am a Campus Minister at the St. Mary's University Parish at Central Michigan University. I am in the process of finishing an MA in Biblical Theology from the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.