Entering Holy Week
by Catherine Doherty.
This is the hour of faith. We are going to need faith, because Holy Week, in a manner of speaking, will show us the reign of the prince of darkness, who rejoiced on Good Friday because he killed God, or so he thought.
One picture has haunted me throughout the years. It is Christ hanging on the cross while many who have benefited by his goodness—the halt, the lame, and the blind—are saying to him, “If you are who you say you are, come down from that cross and we shall believe you.”
How many miracles have happened to us, individually?
This is the week for meditating on how much we are loved. If there is anyone who thinks that he or she is not loved, let him follow the Holy Week liturgies, and he will know with what love we are all loved.
For those of us who do know a little of that love, let this week be a week of loving others, for no one can receive the infinite love of God without passing it on. God meant it to be that way. If we kept it for ourselves, it would break us.
It seems that each of us is always to have empty hands—to have our sinner’s heart with all its hostility, pain, and sin—yet a heart that is always turned to God. He who loves sinners has to come into our hearts again and again and constantly give us the mercy of his love.
Let us acknowledge this and let us share this love, emptying it onto the other, whoever he might be. It is immaterial who, for when one is loved by God, one loves everybody, because God lets the rain fall on the just and the unjust.
God’s love pouring into us is poured out to the other, and then another Niagara of his love comes in. It never stops.
When I think I have nothing to give, lo and behold, the cascade of God’s love passes through me and I am renewed. I can give again, because God became man, dispossessing himself.
When you fall in love with God, the desire for dispossession becomes like a fire in your heart, because when one falls in love, one wants to identify with the beloved. It has always been thus and still is.
The Gift of Tears
Russians say that this is the week of the gift of tears. We believe that there is a gift of tears that comes from the Holy Spirit. We say that it washes away our sins and the sins of mankind. Silence and tears and a contrite heart God will not reject.
This is the week of confession and also the week of overcoming sins, because it is one week in the year when we know that, while we can’t overcome our sins, Christ can.
As one of our MH priests has said, “During most of this holy season of Lent, you have to work at living Lent, but then comes the time when you no longer have to carry Lent. The liturgy is so strong, so powerful, that it just carries you. The strength and power at work in the Church carries us all through Holy Week.”
When you think of this holy week, it’s like a shiver passing through you. It is the mercy of God and his love for you. And because you are caught up in it, held by it, immersed in it, your soul opens up and you cease to be afraid. The God-man has erased your fear.
In this Holy Week, let us join hands in deep forgiveness of one another. Let us reconcile ourselves to whomever we are not reconciled. Let us each enlarge the circle of love in our hearts so that it can encompass the humanity that flows near us. Such is the love of God: mercy flows from it. Forgiveness is part of it. Humility sings a song to it. This truly is a week that is holy!
Let all of this sink into you, for God is with us every moment. He is present right now. Let his love, his simplicity, his ordinariness, and his extraordinariness—all of him—enter your heart, and then you will know why this week is called holy.
— Adapted from Season of Mercy, pp. 79-81, available from MH Publications.