Saturday, March 31, 2007

Holy Week begins....

I love Palm Sunday weekend. I always have, since I was a small child. There is a sense during this week of weeks of being transported beyond time and space into the Jerusalem of old. All Christians become citizens of Jerusalem during Holy Week as we watch the greatest drama in the history of the world unfold. The Passion of Our Savior is the source and center of all tragedy, of all poetry, of all great art, of all the love, hope, and tears that ever were and that ever will be. We are confronted with our own weakness and sin as we see ourselves not only as helpless but as guilty. It is only in immersing ourselves in the bitter suffering and abandonment of Our Lord Jesus Christ that the chaos, turmoil and useless agony of life and the world makes any sense at all.

The Matins reading for this day is one of the most magnificent in the new Roman Breviary. It is from a homily by Saint Gregory Nazianzen.

Let us regard as our home the heavenly Jerusalem....We must now pass through the first veil and approach the second, turning our eyes towards the Holy of Holies. I will say more: we must sacrifice ourselves to God, each day and in everything we do, accepting all that happens to us for the sake of the Word, imitating his passion by our sufferings, and honoring his blood by shedding our own. We must be ready to be crucified.

If you are Simon of Cyrene, take up your cross and follow Jesus. If you are crucified beside him like one of the thieves, now, like the good thief, acknowledge your God. For your sake and because of your sin, Christ himself was regarded as a sinner; for his sake, therefore, you must cease to sin. Worship him who was hung on the cross because of you, even if you are hanging there yourself. Derive some benefit from the very shame; purchase salvation with your death. Enter paradise with Jesus, and discover how far you have fallen. Contemplate the glories there, and leave the other scoffing thief to die outside in his blasphemy.

If you are a Joseph of Arimathea, go to the one who ordered his crucifixion, and ask for Christ's body. Make your own the expiation for the sins of the whole world. If you are a Nicodemus, like the man who worshiped God by night, bring the spices and prepare Christ's body for burial. If you are one of the Marys, or Salome, or Joanna, weep in the early morning. Be the first to see the stone rolled back, and even the angels perhaps, and Jesus himself. Share


Warren said...

Just wanted to say hi! Noticed your comments on another blog, and enjoy your blog. I am a secular franciscan in Toronto. I also really love Carmelite spirituality, and I notice in your profile you're a secular Carmelite. I attend a Latin mass at a shrine of St. Therese of Lisieux. I really love St. Therese.

May God bless you and your family and friends richly this Holy Week, and may you have a blessed Easter, may God give you peace, and may Our Lady keep you safe.


elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, Warren. I have heard that there are many fervent Catholics in Toronto and some Latin masses. I love Saint Therese, too!

May you and yours be blessed and guarded as well during this Season of Grace.

Anonymous said...

I miss the evening Palm Sunday Masses at my Catholic undergrad college!
It was the custom to start the opening rites outside at the statue of Christ not far down from the collegiate church and process into the church. A student would carry a cross at the head of the procession. It was a way of symbolizing Christ's entry into Jerusalem. During the Gospel reading, all of the lights in the church were shut off except a few lights on the altar. The Mass concluded in silence. With these dramatic (for lack of a better word) effects, for me, Palm Sunday Mass took on a more solemn tone.