Lenten Prayer Before the Crucifix

A plenary indulgence is offered on Fridays in Lent (like today) for the Christian faithful who piously pray the below prayer in front of a Crucifix, after Communion:

BEHOLD, O good and sweetest Jesus,
I cast myself upon my knees in Thy sight,
and with the most fervent desire of my soul
I pray and beseech Thee
to impress upon my heart
lively sentiments of faith,
hope and charity,
with true repentance for my sins
and a most firm desire of amendment:
whilst with deep affection and grief of soul
I consider within myself
and mentally contemplate Thy five most precious Wounds,
having before mine eyes that which David, the prophet,
long ago spoke in Thine own person concerning Thee,
my Jesus: “They have pierced My hands and My feet,
they have numbered all My bones.”

The indulgence is just icing on an the cake. It’s a beautiful prayerful meditation on the Cross anyway.

Update: As Ikedi notes in the comments, the usual conditions for the granting of a plenary indulgence apply:

N20. §1. To gain a plenary indulgence, in addition to excluding all attachment to sin, even venial sin, it is necessary to perform the indulgenced work and fulfill the following three conditions:

sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion, and prayer for the intention of the Sovereign Pontiff

§2. A single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences; but Holy Communion must be received and prayer for the intention of the Holy Father must be recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence. 

§ 3. The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work; it is, however, fitting that Communion be received and the prayer for the intention of the Holy Father be said on the same day the work is performed. 

§4. If the full disposition is lacking, or if the work and the three prescribed conditions are not fulfilled, saving the provisions given in Norm 24 and in Norm 25 regarding those who are “impeded,” the indulgence will only be partial. 

§5. The condition of praying for the intention of the Holy Father is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless, one has the option of reciting any other prayer according to individual piety and devotion, if recited for this intention.


  1. I think it’s *extremely* important to state that, according to norm 26 of the Manual of Indulgences, it is required that “all attachment to sin, even venial sin, be absent.” Most Catholics have not attained this and it requires a substantial amount of sustained effort to achieve and maintain. Also, there are other requirements like Holy Communion and Sacrament of Reconciliation.

  2. Ikedi,

    Good point. I’ve updated the post to provide the details of how to get the indulgence.


    It’s supposed to be after receiving Communion, so it makes more sense to do it in church. But the rule is to pray the prayer piously, “before an image of the Crucified Jesus Christ after communion.” It probably makes more sense to do that in the church you receive Communion at, but I understand it to mean any image of our Lord, Crucified.



  3. I use wonder how a Plenary indulgence could completely wipe away Purgatory. I seemed too easy until I read the “usual conditions”. I realized that the real power is in this fine print, particularly as Ikedi noted in being free of “all attachment to sin, even venial sin.” That’s what Purgatory is designed to do, free us of all our inordinate attachments so that nothing impedes us from God’s Love. Anyone who through God’s grace has already achieved this has no need of Purgatory. How many of us can honestly claim that? I’m not saying that to discourage, but to take up the challenge with your eyes open.

  4. I understand Holmquist’s point if we were trying to get the plenary indulgence for ourselves, but if one is trying to get it for a loved one who died and may need help from purgatory, then to me it would be one incredible spiritual work of mercy. If I could have a person in a state of grace achieve an indulgence and pray for me to get it, even if it’s a small, partial one, I could think of no better gift one could give.

  5. I respect mts’s point, but I think it’s an oversimplification. From what I’ve read, indulgences do not apply to the dead the same as they do the living. To the dead they apply by “suffrage”: “The Church has the Jurisdiction of dispensing-to Souls of the Living, (through Indulgences) the Superabundant Satisfaction or Expiation of Christ and the Saints, thus Lessening or Canceling (Loosing) the Penalty of Temporal Punishment for Sin. Note Well, the Church has no Jurisdiction over the Dead, and therefore She can Grant an Indulgence in their Favor only by-way-of Suffrage, i.e. only by-way-of Petitioning God to Accept these Works of Satisfaction on their Behalf. We can never Know how much Satisfaction God Accepts on their Behalf; for this Reason it is Worthwhile to seek to Gain a Number of Indulgences (Plenary and Partial) for an Individual Soul.” (http://copiosa.org/four_last_things/purgatory_indulgences_2.htm). Even if God completely accepts all plenary indulgences on behalf of the Holy Souls, I think in many cases it might be like administering a very harsh and painful medicine to achieve a quick effect. Let’s say a hardened sinner makes a deathbed conversion and enters Purgatory carrying a lifetime of heavy baggage. I don’t think the indulgence is “get out of jail free” card with regard to God’s Justice, because I believe His Justice is the flip side and application of His Mercy. Perhaps it’s an opportunity to better or more efficiently or quickly or less painfully effect the healing the soul needs, with the healing needed proportional to the damage done regardless. Only God knows how the generous application of the merits of the living are applied to benefit the Holy Souls. I’m just happy that they are.

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