Friday, April 06, 2007
Last night, Holy Thursday Mass was beautiful, reverent, and above all, as always, holy. After communion and the procession to the altar of repose, the choir filed out and around the sanctuary and sang,
"Stay with me
Remain with me
Watch, and pray..."
It was truly beautiful, and fostered a deeper prayer within me. Throughout the evening a prayer continued to rise from me, one I did not really want to pray, yet I could not help but follow the prompts of the Holy Spirit in my spontaneous request. And as I rested there, suddenly feeling a sensation like a spiritual rupture, I begged the Lord for a special grace, which He provided nearly immediately. I was completely overwhelmed.
I had been contemplating the agony of Jesus in the garden, and I could not help but feel deep, deep pity for him, wanting to extend consolation and mercy to him, wanting to reach out to him in some gesture of gratitude, of love....of consolation.
Yet how could I console my Lord, when I was the one who fashioned the thorny crown he was to wear? How could I offer mercy to the one whom I had lashed so hard with the whips? How could I offer gratitude when I had placed the nails in his hands and his feet? How could I dare to extend pity towards the on whom I had ridiculed?
And yet, still the prayer for a certain grace rose from my soul and I could not hold it back, somehow entering into his suffering in a way I had never experienced.
I cannot share the grace I requested or recieved, suffice to say that the Lord is good, the Lord is merciful, even to the least of us, even to those of us who abused Him unto death.
When I could rise from my pew last night, I went into the chapel, trying to hide my tear-stained face, but I could not stop the tears, and I could not leave His presence. I remained, but had to go; I had no choice, and that leaving ripped a wound open I did not understand.
At home, I could only kneel and gaze upon a crucifix of the suffering Jesus, sensing this terrible separation, feeling a sort of lonliness so deep it was unlike anything I'd ever felt. And yet, the word "felt" or "feeling" isn't accurate; it wasn't really an emotion or a physical sensation. Words simply do not convey the experience.
I had to work today, and counted down the minutes and hours until I could leave, apologizing that I could not be observing in prayer the hours of 12 pm to 3 pm. But tonight's service was blessed. The experience of last night did not repeat, although there was a touch of it before it started; I could not prevent my tears.
And after all, if we are contemplating the suffering of our Lord on our behalf, aren't tears appropriate? So I let them come.
And now it is over, we celebrated the death of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, and still, this paradox resides within my soul; it is a separation, a sort of rupture, and yet a closeness to Jesus I don't understand. I don't understand how this paradox can be, and yet it simply IS.
I have never before been so prepared for the Easter Triduum; I have never before experienced such graces at such a time.
This is when the Church goes into a period of silent mourning, and our Good Friday fast is to extend into Holy Saturday to the degree possible. In this way, we may all be better prepared, and more appreciative of the beauty and richness of the Liturgy of the Easter Vigil and the Easter Sunday Masses in celebration of the Resurrection.
Jesus, let me be crucified with you.
Jesus, let me die with you.
Jesus, remember me, when you come into your Kingdom.