Monday, March 17, 2008
The First day of Holy Week
Here we are - the first day of Holy Week. Can you believe it? This Lenten season seems to have flown by. We have a lot going on this week and the richness of graces and blessings available to us which I will talk about in upcoming posts throughout the week.
Lent began for me in an extraordinary way this year. On Ash Wednesday I was in Rome and received my ashes sprinkled on top of my head at St. Peter's! That was a first for me. I was there for the International congress for women on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of Mulieris Dignitatem. It all still seems like a dream to have been there participating in the history-making event. I'll be discussing that quite a bit coming up in my talks and events as well as on the air with Teresa Tomeo in our segment on "Catholic Connection."
For now, back to Holy Week. Yesterday's Palm Sunday sends us forth into Holy Week. Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly as palms were dropped on the roadway before Him to hail Him as King. At the end of the Mass on Palm Sunday, we were recalling Jesus' Crucifixion, passion, and death. We continue this reflection and journey throughout this amazing week.
It may be interesting to note that it was in the fourth century that Holy Week originated as part of the ritual of bringing new members into the community.
A few thoughts to ponder as we begin this week...Don't be discouraged. Perhaps you feel that you have not been true to your commitments and resolutions along your Lenten journey. Our Lord knows - He knows your heart. He knows that you may have wanted to be before Him on your knees at the Blessed Sacrament, at Mass more often, and at the Stations of the Cross, however you were called in other directions - caring for elderly or sick relatives, sick children, lonely neighbors, and various needs surrounding you, perhaps that required your undivided attention - CHARITY comes first and you have served our Lord in the others that you have helped, loved and cared for.
And even for those of us who did not come through with their Lenten resolutions due to our own choices - there is still time - we are beginning a Holy Week Journey we have before us a whole week in which to embrace the Cross and our Lord's will in our lives - whatever it may be.
It may not be easy. The splinters from the Cross that we may experience this week may be in the form of disappointment, heart ache, sickness, pain and suffering, or perhaps in being ridiculed or misunderstood - these all are thorns that we feel in our sides and seem to be splinters from the Cross - all are forms of penance when we offer it to our Lord. Perhaps we will experience other forms as well, that are not so small. We can offer it all to the Lord who gives us life --to Him who gives His life for us. Our Lord will bless it all and will work the miracles in human hearts. Let's embark upon this Holy Week with sincere hearts striving to do our Lord's will by responding in love to all that comes to us.
So we have time - we ask our Lord to open our hearts to Him in an extraordinary way this week! Let's experience the fullness of this week. We have Confession, the Sacraments, the community of faith. Even if our Lenten journey thus far seems lacking - we have this week to redouble our efforts and prayers and to truly ask our Lord to give us the grace to embrace it all - whatever comes our way.
Let's also pray that we can be like Veronica who wiped Jesus' face when He was walking through Calvary. Who can we console, care for, or help this week? Let's ask for the graces to be courageous like Veronica was, pushing through the angry crowd to reach Jesus so that she could console Him. Let's ask for the grace to be strong, to go against the flow, to be a contradiction, to be LOVE!
I will post a link soon to my segment on "Catholic Connection" Ave Maria Radio with Teresa Tomeo this morning in which we discussed Holy Week, Lent and good Catholic stuff. :)
God bless your Holy Week!