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What Fridays mean to Catholics

SACRED HEART OF JESUS
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Let's make sure TGIF is more than four little letters.

This is Part VI in our series on popular devotions linked to each day of the week. Previous days: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

Friday, easily one of the most popular days of the week, is celebrated for bringing us the weekend and the appeal of “date-night” or “relax night.”  Whichever you are looking forward to as the work week comes to close, the phrase “thank God it’s Friday” is right on. Yet, how do we really thank God that it’s Friday?

In our Catholic Church, Fridays are devoted to the Passion of Jesus, Divine Mercy, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Here are some ways to put those devotions into practice:

— Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary

— Pray the Daily Offering to the Sacred Heart:

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you all my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Ideally, all Fridays, not just the ones in Lent, are meant to be days of some penance and sacrifice (unless it’s a solemnity!), to better remember the sufferings of Christ.  So here are a few possibilities and ideas of how to include that spirit in the day:

— Some Catholics choose to give up meat every Friday (and there really are so many great seafood, vegetable and pasta recipes!)

— The “First Fridays” devotion: going to Mass and making reparation to the Sacred Heart on the first Friday of the month for nine months in a row.

— Spending time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament

— Saying the Divine Mercy chaplet

— Saying a special Friday prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, such as this beautiful prayer:

Prayer to the Sacred Heart

O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing,
I adore you, I love you and will a lively sorrow for my sins.
I offer you this poor heart of mine.
Make me humble, patient, pure, and wholly obedient to your will.
Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in you and for you.
Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions;
give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs,
your blessings on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death.
Within your heart I place my every care.
In every need let me come to you with humble trust saying,
Heart of Jesus, help me.
Amen.

Since Friday is also dedicated to Divine Mercy, praying the Divine Mercy chaplet is an excellent devotion for the day.  If you don’t have time for the whole chaplet, just praying “For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world,” whenever you need a boost or feel moved to offer praise during the day, is a great way to make your Friday more meaningful.

And remember, three o’clock in the afternoon is the most meaningful time to invoke Divine Mercy, as it is the exact time of Christ’s death on the cross. In His revelations to St. Faustina, Jesus requested that His Passion be remembered at that hour. So the Divine Mercy chaplet prayed at three o’clock on a Friday, the very day of the week He passed away, is all the more special. This might just be worth setting your phone alarm for!

So yes: congratulations on getting to Friday: You got through the work week, somehow! But just as we pause to unwind by the end of this day, it’s an ideal day to ask: “Now what kind thing can I do?” Make sure it’s do-able for your schedule: but find the time and do an act of mercy for someone. It might be something more involved such as bringing your baby to visit an elderly relative who thrives on such adorable company, dropping off groceries to an infirm neighbor, or going to First Friday Mass. But it need not require you to leave home. It can also be as simple as texting a friend who has been going through a hard time to let them know you were thinking of them, or praying for someone else’s intentions.

Adding one or more of these Catholic devotions to the day doesn’t mean you can’t relax and enjoy your well-earned rest, or rejuvenation.  Quite the contrary: it will ensure that your day has been blessed by what really matters and it will help you keep a proper perspective of the week’s highs and lows. Although it might feel like automatic pilot on Fridays just to say: “The work week is over … I’m done” make sure to take a little time to really “thank God it’s Friday.”

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