It’s no secret that this Lent has not gone to basically any of our plans. I guess it’s good that God has a better plan for us in store.
At the beginning of Lent at the end of February, my biggest faith worry was honestly if I had enough time to eat after daily Mass before class or if I would find enough time in my day to do a daily rosary. That sounds so ridiculous writing that now based on everything that has happened since then, but that’s the truth and I no longer have to worry about either of those things.
The week before spring break was a rough one for me like many others. In a matter of basically two days everything went from manageable to you may not see your friends or so many things you love for another five months. Spiritually for me, this meant going to Mass seven times a week and spending about 12-15 hours a week in church to all churches being closed and not leaving the house for three weeks.
“Attending” Mass online has been a bit of a rough adjustment, but being able to listen to priest’s homilies from around the world and be in such a deep community of prayer is deeply inspiring to me. The Catholic Church is coming together more than ever right now and I feel like it is stronger than ever.
Also, there are more free resources than ever available to us at the click of our mouse. For me, it has actually been a bit overwhelming as I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to be able to consume all of the incredible resources available.
Coming into Holy Week, it was just a very odd feeling. Maybe that is just because I never remember what day it is anymore (whoops) or since I am always at home, the anticipation of being able to come home from school is gone or maybe this season just feels like a never-ending Lent and it is weird that Lent is actually ending. Nevertheless, time doesn’t stop no matter how much we want it to and I had to figure out how to prepare myself for the Triduum.
In the Catholic Church, the Triduum is the time period of Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday. Although seen as separate, the Masses/services are meant to be one continuous movement throughout the days. These are arguably the most important days for the Church and it is so hard to be at home and not able to celebrate in direct community for them. This year is especially a bit harder because I was supposed to be on a silent retreat at St. Norbert Abbey for this time and one of my favorite reasons to come home is to sing with my church choir and I’m not able to do that either this year. Still, my two favorite Masses are involved in the Triduum: Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil.
I think my first year going to Holy Thursday Mass was during my senior year of high school, meaning this is only the third year I’ve gone/watched. Until this year I don’t think I ever realized the importance of Holy Thursday, how much happened on that day, and how beautiful of a celebration it is.
The major event is the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist. Not being able to physically receive the Eucharist during this time hurts me each time I watch Mass. However, I needed this time of separation. I think I started to take it for granted and never fully entered into Jesus’ sacrifice because of how available it was to me. Now, being physically away for almost a month, I realize how much I long for the Eucharist and how perfect His sacrifice is for us.
Secondly, Jesus washes the feet of his Apostles. There are a few things that stick out to me with this event. First, Jesus is literally God and doesn’t have to do anything for anyone, but out of pure love, He kneels down and washes each Apostle’s feet one by one. To me, this just shows how personal He wants to have a relationship with each of us and just how much he cares. Also, Jesus knew Judas would betray him just mere hours later, but He still took on the role of a servant and washes His feet. I don’t think I will ever even be able to comprehend that in my very limited human brain.
After the Last Supper and the washing of the Apostle’s feet, Jesus endures the Agony in the Garden. For me, a garden is typically a place of beauty and rebirth, especially in the spring. So the idea of Jesus going through such sorrow in that place that I associate with beauty allows me to think of inviting Jesus into even the painful situations of my life and into the garden of my heart especially when it hurts the most. He has been there and He understands that pain and wants to be with us always, especially in our sufferings.
Ever since I went to and sang at my first Easter Vigil in middle school, I fell in love. The first thing that is capturing is the pure beauty of the Mass. Typically, the Easter candle is lit around a fire outside and then the fire from that candle is passed around the church as each person has their own individual candle and slowly each person is holding the light of Christ.
Then, arguably the best part of the liturgical year happens where the Gloria is sang for the first times signaling the end of Lent and all of the lights are turned on in the church as the joy of the Easter season is here because He has risen!
Thank goodness for technology and being able to watch the beauty of this Mass unfold with my little candle next to my computer, but nothing will ever compare to getting to physically see it in a church filled with people.
Throughout this Lent I have been able to journey through Blessed Is She’s Lent Devotional “Here Too” explaining each week a place where God meets us in our journeys. This devotional was so needed for me this year because on campus I feel like it is easy to confine God to church. Each time I walk into the church I feel connected, but then I decide to leave Him there and continue on with the daily mini stresses of life and classes, never really inviting Him into those smaller moments as well.
This forced separation and time of rest in my life when everything is cancelled and I’m at home has really allowed me to see God in every moment. He is in every moment. Not just at Church.
Our God has risen. ALLELUIA! He has shattered death and His power can never be contained only in a building, He is such a personal and loving God right next to us in every step of the journey, the dark and the light.
Let Him grab you by the hand and lead you into the light today during this very different season of life.