why friday is good

It was not for nothing that you did submit to die. For what then did you die? It was not an angel that needed your death; for the angels have never lost their first estate. The devil can never be reinstated, for his fall only hardened him. It was for man, then, that you did die; and it was because death came upon him by reason of his being caught in the snares of the devil. Fitting indeed it was that your charity should raise up him whom another’s malice had caused to fall: but how great is the love, how immeasurable is the depth, of the counsels of God! Oh the wonder of the never-to-be-forgotten mystery–man earning salvation through the merits of the cross, winning a kingdom through its offence; entering into glory through an exacted penalty; brought through death into life everlasting! Your passion, therefore, O Lord, is of all things the most sacred; it is for all wounds a sovereign remedy; your cross is the downfall for all who are against us; it is the safeguard of all who trust in you; your death is the penalty by which by which all our faults are expiated, it is the foundation of all our virtues. I will rejoice, then, in your merits and in the fruits of your passion, and I will ever take comfort from the thought that you have redeemed me; but my love for you must ever make me grieve over your cruel death. It is love that makes me rejoice with you in your victory over death; and it is love that makes me bewail your having to bear such a heavy load of anguish for my sake.

–Thomas á Kempis, Prayers and Meditations on the Life of Christ (1904), 178-79*

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* I adapted the language slightly–i.e. replaced ‘Thou’, ‘Thy’, and ‘Thee’ with modern equivalents, and changed the archaic ‘-st’ verbs into simple past tense.

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