As a Catholic Christian, this week marks the holiest week of the church year. It is what we wait for all year, the Triduum. Holy Thursday when Our Lord gathered the twelve and instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper. Good Friday when we walk with Him on the road to Calvary and watch as He is put to death by our very own sin. Holy Saturday when the universe stands silent waiting for the Son to rise.
I was struck last evening as Deacon Marques was preaching about the importance of this week. He pointed out that in general we tend to rush to the big feast, barely paying attention to the importance of this week leading up to those three days. I pondered this for a bit, examining my own conscience looking at how I have treated this week in the past. I decided then that this year would be different. This year I really want to enter into what these days are for.
To wait and hope and pray and wonder and pray some more.
This week is all about suffering, serving and loving above all else. I am coming to understand that concept on a deeper level every year. Two years ago on Holy Thursday my Courtney almost died. We spent Easter in the hospital. I know I have written about this moment before, but it comes to mind every Holy Week. The idea that we are here for just a short while to learn how to love and serve the Lord.
With all of Courtney’s issues this past week, I have done things I never thought I would have to do. Being the parent of a special needs child requires constant care and monitoring, especially when that child id non-verbal and non-ambulatory. It is challenging. I make no bones about that. It has made me paranoid in certain situations and more open in others.
As I enter into this Holy Week there is much to do. There is a home to Spring Clean, a daughter to care for and a husband to feed. I am tired just thinking about it all. I know your list is just as long and varied as mine. I will admit to being envious of those who have someone come and clean their homes. I dream of that day. It sounds delightful doesn’t it? If you are blessed to have this gift, don’t ever take it for granted. To be a peace about the state of your home is a gift.
But alas, I digress. I am writing my name in my dust. LOL!
I took a moment this morning over coffee to take a deep breath and decide how I would approach this day and this day alone. As I read todays Gospel I was struck by how over the top Mary’s action was. She broke open the alabaster jar and poured it out over Our Lord’s feet wiping it away with her hair. The apostles questioned the extravagance of it all and Jesus put them in their place.
Over and above what is called for.
Isn’t this what Our Lord gave us on the Cross? An extravagant overabundance of love, given freely and with great joy.
We have a Pieta in our church. I often spend time meditating in front of it. I look at the weariness on Our Lady’s face and the peace on Our Lord’s face. I know what that weariness feels like and I pray for that peace. So how do I make it all come together when I have only my own sweat equity to count on with the occasional supernatural push from above?
I break open that alabaster jar and pour out my heart and soul with an extravagant and reckless love for those God has given me to care for. It’s not always pretty or easy.
Heck, let’s be honest. It’s never pretty or easy. It just is what it is.
The only way I know to give honor and glory to my God, who gave Himself so extravagantly and with so much love, withholding nothing from me, is to embrace the hard work of living each and every day as best I can. If that means cleaning toilets, changing dirty diapers, dusting and folding and cooking and cleaning and dealing with idiot insurance companies, then I do it. I do it with joy and a smile.
It is a choice to smile. It is a choice to love this way. Not and easy one, but one nonetheless.
So on this Monday of Holy Week, I will pray (for me and you) and love and serve as best my body, mind and heart allow. I will give glory and honor with ALL I do and say to Him who loves me with endless mercy and grace.