April 5, 2023

Holy Week at the Convent

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

There is a very powerful flashback scene in the Passion of the Christ a little before Jesus is crucified where He reminds us of His Sermon on the Mount and His teaching to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (cf. Mt 5:44). It’s easy to forget that Jesus does not ask us to do anything He Himself did not do first. It’s a sobering privilege for us to repeat the persecuting words of the Crowd in the Passion Narrative read every Palm Sunday and Good Friday; for, as the Catechism teaches, “All men are implicated in Adam’s sin, as St. Paul affirms: ‘By one man’s disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners’: ‘sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.” (CCC 402)

It’s an even greater privilege to hear Jesus’ response to us personally in His last words from the Cross: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Lk 23:34)

We enter into Holy Week not trying to recall a series of events that happened 2,000 years ago but to enter into the Paschal Mystery present right here, right now. The Holy Triduum is a continuous liturgical event that begins with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, (notice that Mass is not concluded on Thursday), continues with Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion, and ends on Easter Sunday evening. The Catechism teaches,

“His Paschal mystery is a real event that occurred in our history, but it is unique: all other historical events happen once, and then they pass away, swallowed up in the past. The Paschal mystery of Christ, by contrast, cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is – all that he did and suffered for all men – participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made present in them all.” (CCC 1085) 

These are arguably the most important three days out of every year. The Triduum liturgies make present the institution of the most Holy Eucharist, the institution of the holy priesthood, and the one sacrifice offered in place of the old to bear the sins of many for my salvation and yours (cf. Heb 9:28).

If you usually attend Mass only on Easter Sunday at the end of the Triduum, we highly encourage you to participate in as much as you can of this 3-day-long liturgy. These days pull us right into the heart of salvation history, into the open heart of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, they bring us into the loving embrace of the Father, who so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Here are some recent pictures, and a glimpse of what is happening at Casa Maria as we prepare for the Triduum: