Thursday, April 5, 2012

Walking with Christ

Lent draws to a close as the Holy Triduum (three days) approaches.  These 3 days before Easter mark very important events this Season. 

Holy Thursday is the official end of Lent and start of the Holy Triduum.  In the evening the Church commemorates the Last Supper of Christ with His Apostles whence He instituted the holy sacraments of the Eucharist and the Priesthood.  In the Liturgy of Holy Thursday we witness the momentous "Washing of the feet"  by Christ of His apostles, to effectively ready them for their mission, and the solemn procession of the Blessed Sacrament Which is reposed in a side altar.  The main tabernacle is left empty and open as we are given a visual reminder that Our Lord is not with us as He was arrested and taken away on this night. 

Tonight (Holy Thursday) we found ourselves at St Joseph's Church at the Traditional Latin Mass where we were so privileged to attend a missa cantata, after which we processed with the congregation and Our Eucharistic Lord as He was laid at the Altar of Repose.  The Sacrament of Penance was also made available to penitents afterwards.  How blessed we felt to have had a beautiful start to our Holy Triduum!

Our "Seder Meal" on Holy Thursday evening to help us recall the Passover Meal of the Israelites.  Ours consisted of a flat, unleavened bread (representing Jesus, untainted with sin), a small piece of lamb (symbolizing the unblemished lamb sacrificed to God at Passover, whose blood was smeared on the door of a house), horseradish and parsley (reminiscent of the suffering of the Israelites under the Egyptians),  haroset or sweet sauce (to symbolize the realization of God's promise), and an egg (for the promise of new life after the suffering).  We could not find white grape juice, so here we used flame grape juice, instead.
Good Friday is the most austere and sombre day of all,  as we commemorate the Passion and Death of Christ on the Cross.  For most of us we are given some semblance of this experience as we walk the Via Crucis or the Way of the Cross along Mt Calvary to His final place of death:  Golgotha. 

Holy Saturday is a time of uncertainty for the Apostles as they "watched and waited" for what would unfold next.  On Easter vigil, we experience the "most beautiful liturgy of the Church," as a prelude to the Feastday of all feastdays:  Easter Sunday - when we celebrate and rejoice over the Resurrection of Christ!

It was a couple of weeks ago when I contacted the Marian Shrine Retreat Centre to find out if they had any vacancies for the Holy Triduum to Easter period.  I must admit it was a long shot as these limited places usually go almost a year before Holy Week.  But I thought I'd give it a try, anyway.  However I was told they had absolutely NO AVAILABILITY. 

Imagine my surprise when a few days later I was contacted by the manager of the centre in order to confirm our "booking!"  Wow, we thought, it must be a personal invitation from Mamma Mary, herself!  (Though come to think of it, we DID make a booking last year, straight after Easter - after getting caught out and resorting to staying at a nearby Bed N Breakfast in order to attend all the liturgical events during these very significant days in our Christian lives.)

To cut the long story short, we were rapt to learn that we are going to be at this very special place for Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, after all!  Thank you, Mamma Mary!  You just always come through for us, even if we do not deserve it.

Gratias, O Regina mea, et Mater mea!