In much of the West, the lights of the Christian faith seem to be dimming, and the world seems to be growing ever colder towards the Gospel. We should take heart in the fact that this isn't the first time we've seen things go south, and we should take counsel in seeing how the Saints succeeded in the re-evangelization of fallen away places like England. Father Matthew Fish of the Archdiocese of Washington explores this in light of yesterday's Feast of St. Augustine of Canterbury.
Today is the Feast of the Ascension of Christ. What can we say about this Feast? It’s a proclamation and a promise. What does it proclaim? That we are body and soul, and that our bodies are good. What does it promise? That Christ has not abandoned us, and that we, body and soul, are destined for future glory.
On Easter Sunday, why does Jesus say to Mary Magdalene, “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father"? And why does He then invite St. Thomas to touch His hands and side?
As far as I know, Christianity is unique in this: we believe in a God who willingly, and regularly, humiliates Himself. Consider the worst blasphemies imaginable, and then consider how far beyond those that Jesus is willing to go.
In my opinion, Holy Saturday is the hardest day of Holy Week to really "enter into." Is it a day of mourning? Not exactly. A day of rejoicing? Again, not exactly. The best description I've heard it is that it is a day of "quiet hope." Here are some aids to cultivate a spirit of quiet hope as we make the massive transition from Good Friday to Easter Sunday, and as we commemorate Christ's "harrowing of hell."
"I opened the sea before you, but you opened my side with a spear." Today is Good Friday, the worst and best day in history. How does one enter into the incomprehensible mystery that man killed God? These aids might be a start.
Today is Holy Thursday, the night of the Last Supper, and therefore the anniversary of both the Eucharist and the priesthood. It's here that Jesus celebrates the first Mass, and then commissions his disciples to do the same. And it's here that the Passion of Christ truly begins. Here are a few resources to help as you enter into Triduum, the holiest time of year.
Today is Holy Wednesday, often known in the West as “Spy Wednesday,” because it’s the day that commemorates Judas’ betrayal of Christ. And it’s a good reminder that (a) we, too, betray Jesus regularly; and (b) Jesus loves even those who betray and disown Him.
As we approach Triduum, here are a few resources to deepen our commitment to Jesus Christ.
To get deeper into the spirit of Holy Week, and to help you to do the same, I'll be posting daily "soul boosts" containing the following: (1) a hymn tied to the liturgical day; (2) a timely Biblical text; (3) a beautiful piece of religious art; (4) a spiritual reflection; and (5) a Saint you should get to know (or get to know better). Today's Palm Sunday, also called Passion Sunday (or "Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord"). Let's start with the obvious: why does this day go by two different titles?