Christ Crowned with Thorns and the Mourning Virgin
Good Friday is the most somber and solemn day of the year. We unite with our Savior's passion and death through our spirit of silence and fasting, participation in the liturgy, and maintaining an attitude of recollection of the seriousness of the day.
One of the most striking aspects of the Good Friday liturgy is the "Reproaches", or "Improperia". These soul-stirring words are addressed to each of us by our suffering Savior. He reminds us on this day through these words of the prophets and the Church, as well as by His oblation of Himself, of His immense love for each of us. We are invited to deeper repentance and to a share in His suffering.
O my people, what is it I have done unto thee? How have I grieved thee? Answer thou me.
What was there more I ought to have done for thee, and did not do? I planted thee to be of all my vineyards the most beautiful: yet exceedingly bitter hast thou been to me. For, I was athirst and thou didst give me vinegar to drink; yea with a spear thou didst pierce my side, — mine, thy Savior’s.
It was I who went before thee in a pillar of cloud: and thou hast dragged me before Pilate’s judgment seat. O My people, what have I done to thee? Or in what way have I offended thee? Answer thou me.
It was I who bestowed upon thee a kingly scepter: and thou hast set upon my head a crown of thorns. O My people, what have I done to thee? Or in what way have I offended thee? Answer thou me.
It was I who with a mighty hand lifted thee up: and on the gibbet of the cross thou hast uplifted me. O My people, what have I done to thee? Or in what way have I offended thee? Answer thou me.