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Good Friday Meditation: A prayer before the Crucifix, by St Francis de Sales

Good Friday Meditation: A prayer before the Crucifix, by St Francis de Sales

A while back I came across this stunning prayer by St Francis de Sales. It’s a prayer about one’s death, and the grace to die a holy death that leads to union with Christ. It is a perfect prayer,  I thought, for our own meditation before the Cross of Christ on Good Friday.

“O Jesus, agonizing on the Cross, be my model at the hour of death. Although You are the Creator and Restorer of life, You willed to undergo death and accepted it willingly in order to expiate my sins. Death had no claim on You; You are the fountain of life and immortality, in whom and by whom all creatures have life; yet You willed to subject Yourself to death in order to resemble me and to sanctify my death.

“O death, who will henceforth fear you, since the Author of life bears you in His bosom, and without doubt, everything in Him is life-giving. I embrace you, I clasp you in my divine Savior’s heart; there, like a chick under the wing of the mother hen, I shall peacefully await your coming, secure in the knowledge that my most merciful Jesus will sweeten your bitterness and defend me against your rigors.

“O Jesus, from this moment I wish to employ all my powers in accepting all the circumstances and pains of my death; from this moment I desire to accept death in the place, hour, and manner in which it may please You to send it. I know very well that I must suffer and be ground by the teeth of tribulations, sorrows, privations, desolations, and sufferings in order to become bread worthy to serve at Your celestial banquet, O Christ, on the day of the general resurrection. I well know that if the grain of wheat does not fall into the ground and die, it brings forth no fruit; therefore, with all my heart, I accept the annihilation of death in order to become a new man, no longer mortal and corruptible, but immortal and glorious.” (St. Francis de Sales).

This quote is from Divine Intimacy by Fr Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdelen, OCD.

Note: I did try to find this quote within the writings of St Francis de Sales but I could not come up with its original source. I’d be obliged that if you know where the original text is from that you let me know in the comments box or send me an email.


Today’s readings and Pope Francis… “so that you may be amazed.” (John 5: 20)

I had a post today in my hometown diocesan newspaper, now an online journal, The Long Island Catholic. Look for it here, listed for March 13.

Here’s a snippet:

Waiting on the Lord’s timing and his mercy are so great a part of the Christian life. And Lent is not so much about tending to our will, but to his; not so much about our timing, but his. We see this so clearly this Lent — characterized by the prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the conclave.

May we anticipate the goodness of the One who sees and knows the one who will be chosen as pope.

The Lord is gracious… merciful… slow to anger… kind… just…good… compassionate…faithful… holy… and near to all who call on him. (Psalm 145)

And may our new pontiff be a loyal and holy son of the Church —  a Good Shepherd who always acts like Jesus — in union with the amazing will and timing of the Father.

For the Father loves the Son

and shows him everything that he himself does,

and he will show him greater works than these,

so that you may be amazed. (John 5: 20.)

Read the whole thing, and go to the March 13 entry.


God gave me a pretty amazing day. Today is my birthday so I spent some time in a local chapel, praying my daily prayers and rosary there, and attending the noon Mass. Of course I was praying for the conclave. As I left Mass, I just had a feeling we would see white smoke today. As I came in the door after Mass and doing a little shopping, I saw Bob was on a late lunch break and watching the news. I told him I thought we would hear something today about the pope. As I brought in and unpacked the groceries, Bob yelled: “There’s smoke!” As soon as I saw the white smoke and the bells of St Peter’s signaling the rejoicing, I just was full of joy.

While I was hoping for a pope from the USA, (don’t all Catholics everywhere root for their “home team” Cardinals?) , we did get an “American” pope in Pope Francis I — from the South American nation of Argentina.

I wish I knew more about Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, but like many people, I’ll be learning more about him! I loved that he asked us to pray for him first, that God would bless him, before he gave us his first blessing. I was praying for him like crazy in those moments that led up to that point. 

I was talking with friends on Facebook today, and just loving that he took the name Francis. St Francis of Assisi has long been a hero in the Gohn home, but so is St Francis Xavier who was a patron of my boy’s high school. I also have a particular devotion to St Francis de Sales.

I don’t know which Francis the Pope means to honor — perhaps he’ll tell us more soon– I have a feeling it is a nod to Francis of Assisi, but each “Francis” has special meaning for me.

As I wrote on Facebook: “God’s call to St Francis of Assisi is to “rebuild” the church… God’s call to St Francis Xavier is bring the gospel to the ends of the earth… and God’s call to St Francis de Sales was to engage the laity and show them the beauty of their vocations! I’m pretty pumped.”

Pumped. And amazed.

Long live Pope Francis! May God lead him to do great amazing works, like Jesus!