Good Friday: Nails, nails, nails

When I was ‘in the convent’ the community had a special ritual that was used only on Good Friday. There would be a number of pieces of paper in a bowl each with one of these words: nails, scourge, cross, lance, crown of thorns ….there should be seven! When it was my turn to prepare this ritual I thought I could cover my ignorance of what the ‘seven instrument of the passion’ were by writing ‘nails’ on every piece of paper.

The point was that you would select a piece of paper and reflect on the life of Jesus by imagining the suffering associated with this item.

As you can tell, this devotion did not ever really do it for me. But now I’m thinking of the pain that impacts on each person’s life and the various events, circumstances or ‘instruments’ that caused the pain.

If you are anything like me, you’d prefer not to remember or focus on the pain in your life. But I think that story of our pain should be recalled and that we should at least once a year, mark the full story of our lives, not just the cheery and positive version.

I hope that on Good Friday this year, you are with those who are precious to you. If you can, try having a conversation about the tough experiences. Really listen to each other. Share their pain and have them share yours. Perhaps you will find this ritual builds your relationships, strengthens your sense of identity and extends your capacity for compassion. Let me know how it goes. Cheers Andrea

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