6 years ago

Easter Triduum

Tonight, on Holy Thursday,  begins the Easter Triduum.  This evening is called Maundy Thursday because it is when we recall Jesus washing the disciples’ feet and it is the Vigil of Good Friday (when we recall the Lord’s Passion).

The Holy Triduum is- to me -the most spiritually and emotionally moving three days of the year.
Our Bible readings recall Jesus washing his disciples’ feet.  
WHY on earth would God stoop to wash the feet of a “wretch like me”?  Because he loves. He loves ME. and all who follow Him.  He calls us to serve others just as he did for his disciples.  

So, in the Catholic church, and in many other Christian churches, we recall this humbling sign of love our God served us with.  

In the evening, during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, usually after the Homily, Catholic priests all over the world, wash the feet of (usually) 12 parishioners (church members).  

The people chosen can be anyone, but normally they try to pick those who represent the different parts of our community: teachers, healthcare workers, government officials, new members or those seeking full communion with the Catholic church (baptism or confirmation) etc.

This is a powerful thing to witness- watching our priest bent over, washing the feet of each person.  Often I see him sweating as he takes care to wash and dry the feet of each member.  I’ve never had my feet washed, but I’d assume it’s even more powerful to experience, watching a holier person than myself wash my sinning feet! Just imagine if we were Simon Peter! 

“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
John 13:6-11 

What a beautiful way to enter into the Easter season!  

I write of Holy Week hoping to remind us that Easter is not just another humdrum holiday.  
Like, oh, I’m just going along, doing my egg-painting and candy-buying and OOP! It’s Easter! All of the sudden! And the next day we are throwing away our eggs and candy wrappers and carrying on like nothing happened but a lot of eating and egg-hunting.
 No, that would be to cheapen what Easter is!  Easter is much deeper than that!  
Of course we celebrate with family and eat yummy food- we just spent 40 days in the desert!  BUT…
Lent- the 40 days before this week are a time of preparation- of sacrifice, repentance, service and personal reflection. This week is the INTENSE and final preparation.
It, just like Christmas, is not just some day that passes by.  It is a season!   

If you didn’t know this, that’s okay- you know now! And we continue to celebrate Easter, the resurrection of Jesus Christ our King every day, in each Mass, with joy and faith in our hearts!  Join and participate!  HERE is another great resource if anyone is interested to know more.

The above link gives the Church’s Bible readings for tonight’s Mass.  
Here is a piece from  John 13:12-15


“So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

Easter Triduum

6 years ago

Bible Readings for Holy Wednesday

What I write about are things that I think about all day, every day, all night- sleeping and waking.
I’m not joking, I’m not exaggerating.

Aside from taking care of our children, feeding everyone and minimally maintaining our house (I’m pathetic at it), this is my passion and these issues are where my mind turns to in each and every idol moment I have. And that may explain my pathetic household tendencies: I should be doing laundry right now.

I read. And read and read and READ.
Articles, news stories, essays, blogs and books. When I’m not reading about these things, I’m thinking about them.

And when I have the moment I’m having right now, I write.

I do not have many close to me who are constantly wanting to talk about these issues as I do. In fact, most, if not all of my extended family do not agree with me and wont even breech the subject period! And some who do share similar beliefs easily tire of the subject. I do have a handful of close loved ones who openly discuss with me- and often! But I yearn to hear from more! So here is where I go to talk and share.

Today, however, I am tired! Weary even, I suppose… Just tired that I CAN’T even NOT think about these things.
I go to sleep, with the last thing I’ve read or written in my head, I sleep lightly, conscious that I’m still thinking about the issue, and wake up searching for the next resources to draw upon to help form deeper thoughts.

This morning, I woke up, checked FB cause don’t most of us? I get a lot of my news from the companies and organizations I enjoy by being a “fan” of them, thus inserting their news onto my feed.

But I also enjoy reading about what my real friends are doing.

This morning I was kind of disgusted.
My newsfeed was filled with literally 10 stories of :
“So-and-so read an article: SNOOKI LOST WEIGHT, BUT HAS SHE GONE TOO FAR?”
And “TV STAR GOES TO PRISON”
And “TV STAR’S RACY NEW PHOTOS”

I wonder to myself, why is this junk seemingly (according to how FB documents our actions that we share) more important to people than what is happening to our society, to what is going on in our nation? I know that FB only shares a fraction of the reality of our life and what we do or care about. But I guess, today I am pouncing on the apparent evidence.  

Why is it I CANNOT turn my brain off- irritatingly and exhaustingly so- and others don’t seem to even think of it, or of anything else worldly?  We say we believe this or that, but have we really learned it?  And why would we leave questions unanswered?  Especially the important ones!? 

Today I literally have a headache from the ideas and words and stories tumbling over and over inside my head, like a cascading mountain of heavy books! 
I am no great writer by any means, but to anyone who writes… how can I shut my brain down?  Just for a day… for an hour?

I dunno. But today I’m tired so I’ll just share the readings for Holy Wednesday.

The first reading resounded with me very well and made my heart lighter.
Here is part of it:

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let him confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?

      Is 50:7-9

Bible Readings for Holy Wednesday

6 years ago

Bible Readings for Holy Tuesday

Today is Holy Tuesday.  

“The Catholic church makes her people in a constant state of guilt.  That’s not healthy!” 

[“God created us without us.  But he did not will to save us without us” (St. Augustine) To receive His mercy, we must admit our faults. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (John 8-9)

Blessed John Paul II said, “Conversion requires convincing of sin; it includes the interior judgement of conscience, and this, being a proof of the action of the Spirit of truth in man’s inmost being, becomes at the same time the start of a new grant of grace and love:

“Receive the Holy Spirit.” Thus in this “convincing concerning sin” we discover a DOUBLE gift: the gift of the truth of conscience and the gift of the certainty of redemption.  The Spirit of truth is the Consoler.”]

(CCC, 1847 & 48)
 

In simpler words, the Catholic Church encourages us to form our conscience: constantly checking and rechecking how we act and to ponder if it is in the Christian spirit of love that we are called to seek! We are merely human, after all.

   If we feel guilty, it is because we are not fulfilling our Christian calling to conversion, grace and redemption; which will ultimately lift the guilt and anxiety associated with sin!

   We should listen to and form our conscience, not shrug it off and blame an authority figure/s for making us “feel bad”.  

Today’s Bible readings are: Is 49:1-6, Ps 71:1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15 And 17, & Jn 13:21-33, 36-38.

Yesterday was Holy Monday, and I never got to post, though I did on FB. Here’s what I wrote:

 ”Did you know that the Catholic Church holds Mass/service EVERY DAY of the year (except Good Friday)? Did you know that in the span of 3 years, the Catholic church reads the ENTIRE Bible to her congregation?

Today is Holy Monday! This is part of today’s Gospel reading:
“Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany,
where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served,
while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him.
Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil
made from genuine aromatic nard
and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair;
the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.”John 12:1-3

(the entire Gospel reading is 1-11) 

Bible Readings for Holy Tuesday

6 years ago

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“But I will show you a still more excellent way.”
1 Corinthians 12.  
Oh yes, I’m starting off with the Bible! 

For years and years my favorite Bible verse has been—and continues to be—John 16:33:

“I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

I have drawn upon my strength and perseverance, my peace and confidence from this verse.  When I was in spiritual turmoil, years ago, I stumbled across this verse while trying to read the Book of John in my dormitory at college.  It had a powerful impact upon me.  Whatever my troubles, my stresses and frustrations might currently be, Jesus has conquered them.  He has conquered the world.  And I should have peace in my heart, in my being because of it.  And because of these words, I do.  I have peace, courage, strength, perseverance and confidence in myself and what I believe.  It’s an amazing, AMAZING empowerment to carry.  And I thank God for this gift.  And I know I must use it. Somehow.  For years I have been praying and patiently waiting for the venue to present itself, and in the meantime, I’m studying.  I’m suiting-up in my armor of knowledge.  

Just so you know. 

This verse, 1 Corinthians 12 has also impacted me greatly.   It ties directly to John 16:33.  ”In the world you will have trouble…” “But I will show you a still more excellent way.”

This is where, for the faithful, it’s so important to be at peace and listen for God’s whisper, to be still and feel God’s hand guide us in our life.

Instead of saying “Oh no, what am I going to do!?  I just can’t go on like this anymore!! I am lost! I have no other choice! I’ve got to do SOMETHING! If I don’t take action, it’s not going to fix itself! I, I, I, me, me, me, you, you, YOU! woe, woe, woe! MISERY!!!”

Be at peace. 

In this world of fast food and instant gratification (iPhone, anyone?) it becomes EXTREMELY difficult to be at peace when something as stressful as a crisis pregnancy comes along, or a job is lost, or a car is crashed, or you get sick, or your family member tells lies about you.  We are made to feel like we must be in complete control of our situation because no one else is going to care, no one else is going to help.  

I’ve been right there with you.  I hate not being in control… right down to how my sons’ diapers are put on them.  (I’m serious.) 

That is where faith comes in.  Faith in something greater than yourself.  We are not a God, after all.  God is God.   We can only do so much.  We can only control so much.

My mom constantly reminds me that the only person I can change is myself.  ”You change yourself and you’ll start seeing things differently, a world will open up to you that you couldn’t see before.”   

So, that is why I am using 1 Cor 12 as my sub-header.  No matter what choice I don’t think I have anymore, there is ALWAYS a still more excellent way.  

Abortion, birth control, Planned Parenthood.  
There is a more excellent way. 
 And it begins and ends in Peace.  If we can only have the faith, there are others who would educate us about that more excellent way; the way that teaches women are better than what PP says we are, the way that says “Women deserve better”