Good Friday 2009…
On this, the most solemn day in the Christian liturgical calendar, we invite you to pause a while and reflect on the meaning we are invited to take from the injustice connected with the arrest, trial, humiliation, punishment and crucifixion inflicted on the One we worship as the Son and Emissary of the Trinitarian God. To assist in your reflection we have chosen a number of audio visual reflections from YouTube or we invite you to contribute to the active reflection we have been building on the Catholica Forum in recent days. The audio-visual reflections we have found on YouTube follow below and you will find the reflection members of the Catholica Community have been building on our forum HERE.
The image above is from the Stations of the Cross held as part of World Youth Day in Sydney in July 2008. Commemorative photos, including the photograph above, and books are available from The Catholic Weekly.
The first reflection below is from a Lebabese Christian singer, Fairouz, who provides a short but haunting reflection accompanied by images from various sources including Mel Gibson's 'The Passion Of The Christ'.
For those with a stronger constitution the second reflection below is again what looks to be a reflection put together by a younger person by the nic of "jasontremblay". He describes his reflection in these words: "Combining clips from 'The Passion Of The Christ' with the song 'The Lamb' by Low — I made this video to set the tone for a Good Friday service where we focused on the short time between Christ's death and his resurrection. What must those dark hours have been like for his followers until they saw him again alive?". Be warned this video contains graphic scenes.
The third reflection below is for those seeking a reflection accompanied by classical music (and perhaps something a little less brutal than the clip above). The person who posted this to YouTube informs us the clip is from Parsifal's "Du salbtest mir die Füsse" to the peal of bells in the distance before "Mittag". Parsifal, opera, WWV 111, Karfreitagszauber (Good Friday Spell); Kurt Moll (Gurnemanz), Siegfried Jerusalem, and Waltraud Meier — Levine conducts.
"A warm and sunny Good Friday, with its mood of sacred solemnity, once inspired me with the idea of writing Parsifal; since then it has lived within me and prospered, like a child in its mother's womb. With each Good Friday it grows a year older, and I then celebrate the day of its conception, knowing that its birthday will follow one day." [Letter from Richard Wagner to King Ludwig, 14 April 1865]
Barry Millington writes: "In his searching essay, 'The Sorrows and Grandeur of Richard Wagner', Thomas Mann comes closer than most commentators to describing the sublime, monumental effect of Wagner's music. It is marked by 'pessimistic heaviness and measured yearning', he says, and speaks of 'forces struggling out of dark confusion to find deliverance in beauty'. Nowhere is that sense of a weighty tread allied to unearthly, exalted eloquence more evident than in the composer's last, most masterly score, Parsifal (1877-82). Parsifal, after many years of wandering, appears with the spear that will heal Amfortas's wound. Gazing on the beautiful meadows, Parsifal says that on Good Friday every living thing should only sigh and sorrow, and the radiant Good Friday Music is a poignant meditation on the chief themes of the opera: suffering, compassion and redemption." To watch the conclusion go to the clip immediately following the next.
This page is archived at: www.catholica.com.au/specials/specialcovers/10409_goodfriday09.php
St Paul as model for following Christ... Easter bears down on us. For many it is looked forward to as a break — a time for rest and recreation, a time to enjoy "the good life" our work has secured for us. Dr Ian Elmer's commentary today on St Paul is in part triggered by the recent discussion in the forum on the good life, the pleasant life, and the meaningful life. What are we here to live? We have a choice. In choosing to follow Christ though we often have to put up with much. It can be a life in chains. Do we choose to follow Christ in order to become mannacled or in order to secure a freedom that breaks all the chains that bind us? Perhaps that might be our collective reflection this Easter and use Dr Elmer's reflection on St Paul as the starting point... [more]
The Middle Ages (cont'd)… Is there anybody in society who would not argue that the long-term stability of marriages is not a cornerstone of wider societal stability? Do any people seriously enter into a relationship with a hope that it will be temporary and short term? These are the bigger questions that lie behind this exploration of marriage that Tom McMahon is exploring in this series of commentaries. The reality is that throughout history the relationship between the sexes has posed challenges both at the societal level and the personal level. In today's commentary, Tom continues his exploration of attitudes to marriage in the MIddle Ages — as he puts it: "we tip toe through the wilted tulips of the Middle Ages". [more]
Lenten Reflection 5: Today's commentary by Dr Andrew Kania is poignant and moving. It may lead you to coming to fresh insights into the meaning of the stories of Peter, and Jesus. It's a reflection on the questioning Jesus subjected Peter to. Are we subjected to similar questions in our lives? In today's email I have also recommended you invest the time to spend with this reflection and with the equally confronting issues I have raised from an entirely different direction in today's email. ...Brian Coyne (Editor) [more]
13.4: The Pagan Mystery Religions that challenged Christianity For Australian readers of Catholica who happened to watch the documentary on the religious affairs program Compass last night Tom Lee's commentary today might be particularly valuable. He's exploring the Pagan Mystery Religions that posed a threat to Christianity and in particular Mythraism which has many similarities to Christianity in rituals, beliefs and the mythic and other stories that formed the basis of the belief system. [more]
Part 2 of a series on leadership: Last night on television across Australia we had two programs which were effectively critiques of the leadership of this country's first female prime minister, Julia Gillard. She is not the first agnostic to lead a nation but her example might provide fodder for a discussion that contrasts with the picture of leadership Dr Andrew Kania explores in today's commentary. Dr Kania argues King Alfred the Great earned his greatness from two explicit qualities: his ability to unify a nation; and his emphasis on the education of his people. Ms Gillard certainly places an emphasis on the importance of education. It's probably still up for debate if she is a unifying force. Andrew also argues another quality in a leader is a sense of humility — a sense of being "a servant to a higher calling and Reality". It's an interesting topic for discussion both regarding political leaders and spiritual leaders. How important do you think it is that no leader think of themself as God? How important do you think it is that every leader have some sense of humility that they are also subject to a reality or power greater than any of us? [more]
An active, contemporary reflection for Holy Week 2009... For our Sunday Forum this week I thought we might do something a little different. Yesterday (Sat, 4 April) on the forum Fr Andrew Gentry FCSF, offered a reflection on the Stations of the Cross based on contemporary social themes. I have taken the liberty of lifting his post to the Prayer and Spirituality Forum and what I propose is that we use it as a reflection through this coming Holy Week. What I envisage is that as members of the Catholica community as we reflect on a station or two each day we search out news stories and particularly an illustration that I might add to the reflection so that by the end of the week it is fully illustrated. [more]
What will "church" look like in the future — Part IV In the fourth part of this extended series, Brian Coyne turns from discussion of what the objectives of the spiritual quest are to consideration of more practical issues. If we are to rebuild an effective Church we firstly need some consensus or agreement on what we're trying to communicate, then we need some agreement about our methodologies in how we get the message across. [more]
The cost of Cathedrals and some deeper questions... There's no lead commentary today but today's email brings news of a huge cost blowout for the refurbishment of St Mary's Cathedral in Perth. That leads on to some deeper questions posed by the editor of Catholica. [more]
Part V: 'Mighty in Word and Deed'… This is certainly a fascinating, and extended, reflection from Daniel — particularly over the Easter Triduum 2008 — looking at how Jesus perceived his role as prophet and messiah, and also looking at how his followers and opponents viewed him against their expectations. We might discuss though how does all this take us closer to finding the relevance of Jesus in our lives 2000 years later? What are people today searching for: a prophet, a messiah, a miracle-worker, a story-teller, or a model or archetype as to how we ought think and act in our lives today? Originally published: Good Friday, 21 Mar 2008 [more]