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Triduum – a time to slow down and pray


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The finish line is in sight; Easter is next Sunday. Today is Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, quite a mouthful. While it is a lot of words for a title, it does serve to remind us that today has a dual focus: the blessing and procession with palms and the proclamation of the Passion. Passion (Palm) Sunday begins what is traditionally called Holy Week. The week really consists of two distinct parts: Sunday through Thursday afternoon are still days of Lent. Thursday evening through Sunday evening comprise the Triduum or the Great.

The Three Days, this Easter Triduum (Latin for “three days”), is the center, the core of the entire year for Christians. These days mark the mystery around which our entire lives are played out. In these days we will once again, with renewed focus, remember the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and we are also challenged toward a personal share in the passion of Jesus Christ. The Triduum celebrates Christ’s self-giving love, and the foot washing on Thursday and the adoration of the cross on Friday, reminds us that we are called to the same kind of self-sacrifice for others.

On Saturday we gather around the fire, and with candles lit we are called to bring Christ’s light into all aspects of our life.

Give some thought to how you can enter prayerfully into each of the liturgies of this week. Perhaps take a few minutes at home before each liturgy and begin to remember the presence of God and to reflect on the meaning of the day. What does this liturgy mean to you? What part of it usually touches you the most deeply? What do you want God to do for you or within you as the community celebrates this liturgy? Is your heart open to ways that God might surprise you? The challenge, of course, is finding a few minutes for prayer. Can you claim a time of quiet and undistracted prayer when you first arrive at church? Do you need to arrive earlier to church than you normally would? Maybe you need to take the time at home before you leave for church. Can you convince your spouse, housemates or family to join with you in a few minutes of quiet prayer?

I invite you to enter these days as fully as you can. Try to make this time as free from social engagements and entertainment as possible. Plan simple meals. Consider extending the fast and abstinence of Good Friday through Holy Saturday, so that you can come to the Easter Vigil hungry, parched, and full of excitement. Ready to see the light shatter the darkness; to hear the living word reach your heart; to feel the sacred water of the font on your skin; to taste the holy meal and fill your soul.

This paring down of our normal hectic schedules allows us more time for prayer and reflection. It is important that the Three Days be seen not as a series of liturgies distinct from one another but as one movement.

May these Three Days enkindle your faith and find you rejoicing in the great love of God.

Fr. Ron

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