Catholic Activity: The Reproaches (Improperia)
Since this is a day of mourning, remembering Christ's death, Good Friday is not typically a day of songs and hymns. During the Veneration of the Cross, the following Antiphon and verses known as "The Reproaches" (Improperia) are sung. Individual parts are indicated by no. 1 (first choir) and no. 2 (second choir); parts sung by both choirs together are indicated by nos. 1 and 2.
The Reproaches (Improperia) Antiphon 1 and 2: We worship you, Lord, we venerate your cross, we praise your resurrection. 1: Through the cross you brought joy to the world.
1: (Psalm 66:2) May God be gracious and bless us; and let his face shed its light upon us.
Repeat Antiphon by 1 and 2:
1 and 2: My people, what have I done to you How have I offended you? Answer me!
1: I led you out of Egypt, from slavery to freedom, but you led your Savior to the cross.
2: My people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!
1: Holy is God! 2: Holy and strong! 1: Holy immortal One, have mercy on us!
1 and 2: For forty years I led you safely through the desert. I fed you with manna from heaven,ù and brought you to a land of plenty; but you led your Savior to the cross.
Repeat "Holy is God..."
1 and 2: What more could I have done for you. I planted you as my fairest vine, but you yielded only bitterness: when I was thirsty you gave me vinegar to drink, and you pierced your Savior with a lance.
Repeat "Holy is God..."
1: For your sake I scourged your captors and their firstborn sons, but you brought your scourges down on me.
(Repeated throughout by Choir 2) 2: My people, what have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me!
1: I led you from slavery to freedom and drowned your captors in the sea, but you handed me over to your high priests. 2: "My people...."
1: I opened the sea before you, but you opened my side with a spear. 2: "My people...."
1: I led you on your way in a pillar of cloud, but you led me to Pilate's court. 2: "My people...."
1: I bore you up with manna in the desert, but you struck me down and scourged me. 2: "My people...."
1: I gave you saving water from the rock, but you gave me gall and vinegar to drink. 2: "My people...."
1: For you I struck down the kings of Canaan. but you struck my head with a reed. 2: "My people...."
1: I gave you a royal scepter, but you gave me a crown of thorns. 2: "My people...."
1: I raised you to the height of majesty, but you have raised me high on a cross. 2: "My people...."