on Palm Sunday and concluding with the Easter Vigil on Saturday night, this week
is the centre of the Liturgical Year.
ceremonies commemorate what is called "The Paschal Mystery", the great
events of our salvation, when Jesus paid the ultimate price to convince us of
God's infinite love for each of us, His wayward children.
has been noted that, in Passover of the year 33, two processions converged on
Jerusalem: one a military cavalcade, gleaming with spears and banners - this was
the Roman army moving in to keep order during the festival - the other was that
of a man riding a donkey, surrounded by crowds carrying green branches and shouting
Hosannas. Jesus, the Prophet from Nazareth, was entering the Holy City, fulfilling
the prophecy of Zechariah: "Say
to the Daughter of Jerusalem: look, your King is coming to you, humble and riding
on a donkey"
the midst of this tumult only Jesus, Himself, knew what was ahead of Him. With
brave and loving heart, He set His face to accomplish His own new Exodus and Passover.Thus
Palm Sunday begins for us the liturgy of this Great Week. |
here in Carmel, enter it with mixed emotions of trepidation and joy: trepidation
because of the human cost to our Savior, and joy at His accomplishment. He wants
us to have joy in His Passion, as He said to the Lady Julian of Norwich: "It
gives Me joy and happiness; it is a perpetual joy to have suffered for you."
It is God's will that we have heartfelt joy with Him in our salvation. He wants
us to find great comfort and strength in it and to be completely and happily taken
up with it by His grace." (Revelations of Divine Love).
permitting, we hold the Palm Sunday Procession out of doors before Mass at 8 a.m.,
singing with the children of Jerusalem psalms of praise and welcome.
* * * * * *
FRIDAY and SATURDAY of Holy Week are days of silence, in order to
give our attention to the mysteries that are remembered during these days.
the afternoon of Holy Thursday, the Mandatum, (meaning the great Commandment of
love) is enacted, when the Prioress washes the feet of each Sister, as Jesus did
those of his disciples.
the Mass of the Lord's Supper, the New Passover, is celebrated, commemorating
the very day when our Saviour gave His most precious Gift, that of His own Body
and Blood, the Lamb, slain and eaten for the life of the world.|
is kept until 12 midnight at the Altar of Repose, where the Blessed Sacrament
is reserved. In the dark Chapel, we are privileged to respond to that plea of
Jesus to His disciples: "Could you not watch one hour with Me?"
* * * * * *
Liturgy at 3 o'clock on Good Friday is a poignant commemoration of the Lord's
Passion and death. "They shall look on the One whom they have pierced."
Dom Eugene Boylan, O.C.S.O., entitled one of his books: "This Tremendous
Lover". And surely "Greater love than this no one can have
is something unspeakably beautiful and peaceful about nature on the evening of
Good Friday. The battle is over, Our Saviour has already won the victory, has
won salvation for all.
* * * * * *
silence of Holy Saturday is very special, for as an ancient Christian homily has
it: "A great silence covers the earth, the King Sleeps" And how special
it must have been for the Mother, who, of all His followers, hoped for the Resurrection.
This is why Saturday is particularly dedicated to Our Lady. Hers alone was the
faith of the Church during those solemn hours.
* * * * * *
unique night of the Paschal Vigil is the highlight of the year. It is wonderful
to gather around, under the stars, for the blessing of the Easter Fire and the
Paschal Candle, as the priest, tracing a cross on it, says those unforgettable
yesterday and today,
the beginning and the end,
the alpha and the omega,
all time belongs to him,
and all the ages,
to him be glory and power,
and for ever. Amen.
the singing of the special Easter song of joy, the Exultet, an outburst of praise
and jubilation, is followed by Midnight Mass, which heralds in 50 days of celebration
and thanksgiving: "Alleluia! Alleluia! The Lord has truly risen. Alleluia!"|
the Morning Star which never sets
find this flame still burning:
that Morning Star,
who came back from the dead
and shed His peaceful light
on all mankind,
Your Son Who lives and reigns
for ever and ever. Amen."
EASTER BLESSINGS TO ALL