Holy Wednesday/Holy Thursday-ish
I really love Triduum. Like, I really really love Triduum. Back when I was an MC this was the busiest three days of the whole liturgical year. I would be showing up an hour before Holy Thursday Mass one second making sure everything was in place for the washing of feet and the procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose one moment, the next moment, I would be cleaning up after Easter Vigil.
My favorite part of Holy Thursday Mass has always been the procession and reposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Last year, I was lucky enough to be able to keep the vigil with Him until Midnight. The silent hush of the room. The shuffling of prayerbook pages. The flickering candles. And, most importantly, the Lord of Life just being there with each one of us individually. Focusing on us like we were the only ones in the room because, to Him, we are. I love hearing the priest sing the Tantum Ergo and the O Salutaris. The shimmer of the cope’s gold stitching (that is a pain to maintain). Amazing.
I don’t really have a favorite part of Good Friday. I love it all. I always loved serving Stations because I could physically move along the Way of the Cross and meditate. There is a difference between standing in the pew and walking the Via. When I would do that, I would fall more in love with Christ and it just got me more hooked.
The Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion is beautiful. My favorite part of that service is the veneration of the cross. As an MC, I would usually stand with the principal celebrant and wipe the feet of Christ after each kiss (for an OCD person like me, it’s done thoroughly). It’s beautiful to see how people approach. The most meaningful are the very young and the old or ill. The children are nervous at first but once their parents show them how, they embrace him, and kiss his feet lovingly. The old and the ill, slowly approach, hold onto the cross for support (how symbolic) and kiss it gently. Beautiful. If I had my way, I would embrace the whole cross and never let Him go.
I also like the prostration at the beginning. All the priests and deacons prostrating themselves for a moment of prayer and love for the High Priest and Sacrificial Lamb of God. That and watching the altar servers “prayerfully” study the soles of the shoes. God love those kids. *facepalm*
Holy Saturday brings the Easter Vigil. The Mother of all Vigils. I am sooooooo looking forward to it! I have many happy memories of polishing silver tea service tray that is used to hold the Easter Fire/Paschal Candle making accoutrements. Actually, I am polishing it again this year. That’s my task for Thursday morning since there is no morning Mass at SJA. I remember the tiny flickering lights of the hundreds and hundreds of candles held by the congregants. The beautiful intonation of the Exsultet (sooooo looking forward to hearing the new translation!) by the priest. The readings and responsorials. The Gloria with all the lights being turned on and the altar candles lit. The smell of incense permeating the whole church sanctuary, nave, and narthex with its ethereal scents. The baptisms. The receptions into the Church. The First Communions. Everything about Easter Vigil is amazing!
I must admit that I will miss MCing. It was always a good job for a detail-oriented person like me. It will be an adjustment for me to NOT be doing to hand signals to the priest. To NOT be explaining for the tenth time when we do what and why. To NOT point to the page in the book I have that explains every single action done at certain liturgies/services. I remember the kids getting a look of surprise on their face when I would point to the sentence that spell out that when folding the hands, the right thumb goes over the left (duh!).
It’s just hard to believe all that can happen in a year. A year ago, I was here but preparing for the move into the convent. That was to be my last Triduum at SJA for a long time and it broke my heart. God provides in His wisdom and grace. A year later, I am a “convent drop-out” (more of a joke than some derogatory remark), with a nice job, and hoping to start grad school within the year. I am right where God wants me. I may not understand it at times but I must trust that He knows exponentially better than I or anyone else. ‘Cause He does. He’s God like that.
Sometimes it takes a random conversation to understand that. I have had a couple of those lately. While it may not have been expressly discussed, one or another thing leads me to understand that I am just where God wants me and all I need to do is trust Him completely. Something very hard for a strong-willed person like me.
All right, I may not have Mass in the morning but I do have some work to do tomorrow so I will probably just sleep in a bit and then get ready for the day. I have a hair appointment tomorrow afternoon (my first since leaving the convent), I kinda like my hair at this length but it needs some maintenance. I love how I get compliments on my hair before I get it cut. That or people are being extremely dryly sarcastic (something with which I am very familiar). I will just assume the former for the sake of my sanity. I am paranoid enough. lol
Have a blessed Triduum, everyone! Please do try to attend at least one of the liturgies! You will not regret it at all!