The Day We Call “Good”

“The Crucifixion” (detail) by Leon Bonnat

We have committed the greatest sin imaginable. Deicide. The creatures have killed their Creator.

The mysteries of today abound. We never could have killed our God if He hadn’t allowed it. “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again” (John 10:18). We tried to stone him, we tried to throw him off a cliff. But it was this day, this “hour,” that He died, because He chose it.

The day we call good.

God has transformed Deicide into Love. He has transformed our ugliest sins, our pride, our envy, our anger, into Love. As we gaze upon what we have done to Our Lord, who has done nothing but love us, we gaze upon our salvation.

The paradox of today.

The wood of the Cross, the instrument of agony, is now praised and venerated.

“Noblest tree of all created,
Richly jeweled and embossed:
Post by Lamb’s blood consecrated;
Spar that saves the tempest-tossed;
Scaffold-beam which, elevated,
Carries what the world has cost!” (Crux fidelis)

That is a hymn traditionally chanted during the veneration of the Cross on Good Friday. As we go forward to kiss the instrument of agony, we bring our own agonies, sufferings, and sins to that wood. We all are carrying something, big or small, and we bring it forward in confidence, knowing that when we carry our Cross, we are in good company. Christ told St. Faustina, “When it seems to you that your suffering exceeds your strength, contemplate My wounds.”

As we gaze on the wounds of Christ, the bitter reminder of what our sins have caused, we gaze upon our sin’s remedy. We begin today, in the midst of our mourning, to pray the Novena of Divine Mercy. Christ told Sr. Faustina to begin praying the novena on this day and for the nine days leading up to the Second Sunday of Easter, now Divine Mercy Sunday.

Cling to those wounds of Christ. They are a sign of our sins, the cost of our disobedience and self-love. The price of mercy. Those wounds are what we did to our God. But they are also a reminder of what He did for us.

We have a God who loves us so much that He took on human flesh precisely so He could suffer and die for us.

Sr. Faustina recounts, “I saw a great light, with God the Father in the midst of it. Between this light and the earth I saw Jesus nailed to the Cross and in such a way that God, wanting to look upon the earth, had to look through Our Lord’s wounds. And I understood that God blessed the earth for the sake of Jesus.”

Although we deserve hell, Christ lifts up his wounded hands so that the Father gazes at us through the holes of love.

“See how much we love them?”

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About the Author

Joannie Watson

Joan Watson was born and raised in Lafayette, Indiana, but college and graduate school took her to Virginia, Ohio, and Rome. After graduating from Christendom College with a B.A. in History and Franciscan University with a M.A. in Theology, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee to be part of the explosion of Catholic culture in the middle of the Bible Belt.

She has been blessed to work for Dr. Scott Hahn at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia at Aquinas College. She is presently the Director of Adult Formation for the Diocese of Nashville. She also serves as the Associate Editor of Integrated Catholic Life.

When she’s not testing the culinary exploits of new restaurants or catching up on the latest BBC miniseries, she’s FaceTiming with her eight nephews and nieces and enjoying her role as coolest aunt. She likes gelato, bourbon, and the color orange.

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