Sunday, March 24, 2013

Making a Holy Week: Top Ten Tips

"View from the Cross" (James Tissot)
Here are ten tips for entering more deeply Holy Week and/or for making any given week more holy: 
10.  Rediscover Reconciliation--embrace this great Sacrament of healing. 
Why is it so easy to say "nobody's perfect,"
and yet so hard to confess that I have sinned?
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied" (Mt 5:6).
9. Wash Someone's Feet--gratuitously take on a "dirty job."
How much humility is required to do some work that seems "beneath" us?
"If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another's feet" (Jn 13:14).
8. Become an Agent of Mercy--forgive someone who doesn't deserve it.
How can we pray the Our Father without trembling at the conditional clasue, 
"as we forgive"?
"Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful" (Lk 6:36). 

7. Preview the Passion--read John 18:1-19:42.
What happens if we begin reading the Scriptures with "the end" in mind?
"If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples,
and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (Jn 8:31-32).
6.  Walk the Stations--enter into the Way of the Cross as one of the eyewitnesses.
Which of the seeminly peripheral characters do you feel most drawn to,
and how does his or her view of Jesus help transform yours?
"It was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured...he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our his stripes we were healed" (Is 53:4-5).
5. Sit Silently--either before the Blessed Sacrament or in a peaceful place.
What if Blaise Pascal was right when he said,
“All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone”? 
"Be still and know that I am God" (Ps 46:11).
4. Meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries--"see" the scenes that changed human history.
Do we really mean it when we say, "No cross, no crown; no gall, no glory"?
"If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself
and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Lk 9:23).
3. Ponder Jesus' "Seven Last Words"--contemplate the final sayings of the Crucified.
We treasure the last words of our loved ones--how about those of our Lord?
"Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit" (Lk 23:46).
2. Make Matthew 25 Come Alive--feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, etc.
When did we see you hungry or naked...when did we visit you, Lord?
"Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me" (Mt 25:40).
1. Look at Life through the Eyes of Christ Crucified--reframe the events of your daily life.
What happes to our world-view when we "put on the mind of Christ"?
"He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a Cross" (Phil 2:8). 
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
Because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world!
Pax et bonum,