As Holy Week roars in, shifting our perspective, forcefully nudging us out of the everyday and into a religious experience, we yank our mental gears and shift. What seems simple becomes difficult. And yet, too, what seems difficult becomes simple.
Even the simple act of attending the Holy Thursday Mass becomes less than simple. There is work to be done, work to carve the time from employment, move schedules, rush family to get ready, drag everyone along, to sit, exhausted, trying to catch a breath.
The baby stirs. The toddler needs distraction, the teen shares a commiserating glance, the young adult sits, once a child and now a companion.
And the liturgy? It requires a shift from our life of commitments to a sense of other-worldliness. Come here, the liturgy whispers, come here and contemplate what it means to be Christian. Servanthood, accompanied by the Cross.
I know, you silently cry. In my servanthood as a mother and woman I have known, in some small portion, the suffering of the Cross. Christ has suffered with me.
For He has been there, in the busyness and in the emptiness. In the hope and also in the despair.
Holy Week boldly proclaims His love and presence and ushers in the rejoicing of Easter. Even when we don’t feel His presence, Holy Week reminds us that he has been there all along. He will be there all along. There is that sense of suffering-with, and that glorious recognition, in our noisy lives, of the joy of the Resurrection.
The shift pushed on us in the Easter Triduum is a shift for recollection and reflection. It aligns itself with those far-removed, long forgotten New Year resolutions and ponderings. How is life for you, for me, the shift asks. Do we make time for Christ? To be Christ-like?
Ah. The soul stirs. It sighs. Time here to take stock while stepping ahead. For we recognize Christ in our rushing lives and in our peaceable discernment. We see Him in our family and friends. In those we have trouble knowing. Yes, even there, in that ugliness. Theirs and ours.
And so as Holy Week strides forward, our lives are turned askew again by His love and the Cross.
This is the importance of the liturgy in our lives. Helping us even when we don’t want the help.