Father Groenings on the Crucifixion

Today we offer our most loved Good Friday post from Father James Groenings, S. J.


Today, we examine three events which occurred at the time of Our Lord’s Crucifixion. The miraculous sign of the total eclipse, the rending of the Temple veil and the earthquake. These thoughts are largely drawn from the writings of Father Groenings, S. J.

The Total Eclipse of the Sun

This eclipse of the sun was not a natural one. It was miraculous in every respect and that for these reasons: First it occurred at the time of the full moon. For this Friday was the day when, according to the Law, the Pasch should be celebrated, and this feast always occurred at the time of the full moon. Now, naturally, an eclipse of the sun can occur only at the time of the new moon, when the latter is between the sun and the earth.

Then, it was miraculous because it was total from the very beginning.  Lastly, because it remained total for three hours. In an ordinary eclipse of the sun, the moon, in the beginning, covers only a part of the sun, then gradually more, until the darkness reaches its greatest height, whereupon it again gradually decreases.

This eclipse of the sun was, therefore, an extraordinary work of God, and the Holy Fathers freely apply to it the words of the prophet Amos, “And it shall come to pass in that day that the sun shall go down at mid-day, and I will make the earth dark in the day of light.”

And, about the year 200, Tertullian, speaking of this wondrous eclipse, thus spoke to the Romans, “You yourselves have recorded this great event in your annals.”

What was the meaning of this eclipse?

On the part of heaven, it was the garb of mourning wherewith the sun clothed itself while the Sun of Justice was being extinguished. “Creation,” says St. Chrysostom, “could not bear the indignities inflicted upon the Creator.”

For the Saviour to Whom a loin-cloth only was left, the eclipse was a veil woven by compassionate nature to cover His nakedness. On the part of God, it was a sign of His anger. God withdrew, even from the just, the light of the sun which he ordinarily lets shine even upon the wicked.

At the birth of Christ, in the middle of the night, the splendor of God’s glory encircled the shepherds and brightness reigned. At His death-struggle, the sun, standing high in the heavens, became obscured and darkness reigned. Thus also does brightness spread in the soul when Christ is born in the heart.

The Darkness of Sin

But the gloom of night enters when He departs from the soul. Wherefore the eclipse of the sun was also an image of the blindness and obstinacy of the Jewish people. This eclipse ended at the death of the Redeemer. Then again did the sun appear in perfect beauty.

Now Divine Justice was reconciled, the sacrifice was consummated. Now the soul of Christ which had been sad unto death, was delivered from all affliction and was unspeakably happy. Now the souls of the patriarchs and saints of the Old Testament shared in the brilliancy of heavenly light and in the joys of the vision of God. Now the darkness which had hovered over the earth for four thousand years was dispelled through the death of Christ, and the new day of salvation had dawned. Now through the light of grace, all darkness was also to be driven out of the hearts of men.

The  Temple Veil Rent in Two

Another of the wonderful events which happened at the death of Christ was  the tearing of the veil in the temple. As the Talmudists report, this veil was forty yards long and twenty yards wide. It was woven of gold and purple and had the thickness of an open hand. It concealed the Holy of Holies of the Temple into which the High-Priest alone was allowed to enter, and this only once a year on the feast of atonement to offer the expiatory sacrifice.

Now, at the death of Christ, this veil was rent from top to bottom in two pieces. Just as Jacob of yore rent his garments in sadness, when he was told that wild-beasts had torn to pieces his son Joseph; just as Caiphas, in indignation, tore the pontifical robe, when Christ declared Himself to be the Son of God, so now the temple rent its garment both in sadness and in indignation.

The tearing of the veil signified the end of the Old Law and the rejection of the Mosaic sacrifices. In future the entrance into the Holy of Holies, that is, into the Church of God, should be allowed to all men: God would no longer be the God of the Jews, but the God of all nations.

The Earthquake

This was also a sign of sadness and of indignation, owing to the crime committed against the Creator. But, more than that, as St. Ignatius remarks in his book of Exercises, it was a sign of joy and delight on account of the victory of the Crucified One and of His present glory. It is remarkable that, at this tremendous earthquake, not a single human being suffered any injury.

For the might of infernal powers was broken by the death of Christ. Hell may rage and rave ever so much, it may shake the earth to its foundations, but it has lost its power over mankind, even over the bodies of men.

Some Thoughts

In his discussion on the foregoing events, and their personal meaning for sinners, Father Groenings remarks,

Of the Total Eclipse: “In order that the sinner may turn to God, it is above all necessary that the earth be wrapped in darkness. As long as the sinner looks complacently upon the world and its sinful pleasures, there can be no thought of serious conversion.”

Today we see the darkness of the Total Eclipse of the Faith under the Modernist/Marxist Occupation of Pope Francis. The faithful are scandalized and confused, especially by his vendetta against the true Holy Sacrifice and many of us are led astray. For in this darkness of the faith today, the devil spreads dissension and divides each of us against the other; not only cardinal against cardinal, but each of us against others of our own families, our parishes and so on.

Of the Rending of the Temple Veil: “Then the veil which hindered him from looking into his own heart must be torn in pieces: he must know his sins by means of a thorough examen of conscience.”

This message, applied to us today, indicates the importance of each of us, in deepest humility beseeching our Merciful Lord to rend the veil of our hearts, to show us our own sins – for it is our own sins that we must be rid of before seeking to cleanse the sins of the churchmen – and help us to repent them and make reparation. Before we undertake any other task, we must address the beam in our own eye!

Of the Earthquake: “The terrible penalties of Divine Justice must move him; his sins must cause him to tremble and quake in disgust and horror, even to the marrow of his bones. The rocks, furthermore, must be rent; this heart, hard and unyielding until now, must become soft and contrite through the tears of sorrow.”

The earthquake at the death of Our Lord Jesus Christ did not result in any human injury for it announced the victory of Christ over death. That will not be the case with the coming earthquake, which will announce God’s judgement on those who rejected the Savior’s great sacrifice and surrendered to satan, choosing sin and death instead.  Now, the Cross is despised and Christ is blasphemed everywhere. Reparation must be made for these sins, or it will be extracted from hard and indifferent hearts.

It must be noted, yet again, that until such time as each of us accepts this Cross, accepts the Message of Fatima, no other action, whether it be other devotions or secular activities will be of any use. This is not to say that “we must simply pray all the time”,  as some accuse me of saying, but to focus rightly on our priorities. The ancient enemy tempts us to abandon the hard spiritual work that must form the basis for all successful endeavors – he knows that it is by our disobedience to the message of Our Lady of Fatima that he may most effectively defeat us.

Previously Posted in April, 2019 and in

Please pray for an obedient Pope and Bishops who will perform the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

† . Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† . Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
† . Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
† . St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
† . St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

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