Thursday, March 28, 2013

A disasterous attempt at holiness

          I haven’t meant to take a break from blogging for Holy Week.  I have tried to write but the words just would not come.  That, coupled with the busy schedule we have had with lots of company visiting from out of town, and my blog has been quiet for nearly a week.  

          But, now here we are approaching the most holy time of year, the Easter Triduum, and I cannot help but take a few minutes to reflect on it all.  I am certainly no theologian so my reflections are probably not very deep but here they are anyway--

Last year, I tried to commemorate Holy Thursday with a Seder supper for the first time.  I carefully studied the traditional list of foods and made some substitutions so my children would be more willing to eat everything.  I made the food, all the while envisioning a dinner with deep meaning that would make lifelong memories and maybe become a new tradition.  I printed out the appropriate prayers and set the table with great anticipation.  It all looked lovely and would have had deep meaning, if not for the upturned noses and bad attitudes displayed by my children.  They were not in the mood for anything new and were out of sorts that evening.  I had little patience for their lack of enthusiasm.  In the end, only a few of the kids were allowed to chose to stick around to participate.  I am pretty sure they got next to nothing out of the experience since it had been preceded by an argument and a lecture.  Definitely not one of my best parenting moments. 

Our sad attempt at a Seder supper
But I think in many ways, it illustrates what Jesus’ passion was like for those present.  His apostles and many disciples had spent years following Him and preparing for the moment it would be revealed to all that He was the Messiah.   They had great expectation for the glory they would experience as Christ’s closest followers and even had conversations about which of them would be viewed as the greatest.  They didn’t want to even hear of Christ’s coming suffering or of the persecution He would experience.   

Though the clues were all there and Jesus did all He could to let them know the reality of His mission, they were slightly clueless as the First Triduum approached.  They didn’t stay awake to support Him in His hour of agony.  Instead they slept soundly, stuck in their own limited perspectives and their own distorted expectations.   When He was arrested and taken to His death, they ran away despite promises to the contrary.  In the end, only a few of them stuck around to be near Christ in His passion.  They missed the chance to experience up close the beauty of His self-sacrifice on the cross.  They missed the chance to be right there next to Jesus as He truly fulfilled His mission to save us all from something so much bigger than the persecution of the Romans.  The gates of Heaven were opened but where were our early Church fathers at that moment?  Hiding in plain sight just a part of the crowd or maybe cowering in fear where no one would find them?  Definitely not one of their best apostolic moments.

Like the apostles, I have spent my life trying to learn what it really means to be holy and trying to really put God at the center of my life.  But, still I find myself, way too often, caught up in my own expectations and putting all my energy into fulfilling my own agenda.  It is the struggle of humanity to put ourselves aside so that Jesus can dwell within us and work through us.  It is not easy to decrease so that He can increase.

St. Peter and his friends knew that struggle.  They experienced Jesus’ passion as sinners on the sidelines- just like me.  They needed, and benefitted from, Jesus’ sacrifice because they were weak and small and imperfect- just like me.  Jesus knew their weaknesses.  He knew they would fail Him and abandon Him.  He never stopped loving them though.

This Holy Week, I pray I will be as grateful for Christ’s undying love as the apostles were.  And I pray I will be as committed to trying to live out Jesus' love and mercy as the apostles were too- even in my weaknesses and imperfections.

I pray you have a Happy and Holy Triduum! 

P.S.-- This year, in place of a Seder supper, we are trying another new tradition- a Holy Thursday tea, the idea for which I found here at Shower of Roses.


  1. Oooh, I'll have to hop over to check out the Holy Thursday tea! But still, I loved this post and your ability to reflect on what went right...and wrong with your seder meal. And sometimes, as you explained, it is really just our own expectations that set us up for failure!

    1. Val- If you get a minute you should definitely follow the link to the tea. My family enjoyed it MUCH more than last year's Seder supper. We read each of the scripture passages as we ate and than went to the Holy Thursday Mass. It was a beautiful evening.

      God is so good and I am ever grateful for second chances (and third and fourth, etc....). I think we found our new tradition!

      God Bless you and your family with a very Happy Easter! Kari

  2. Kari,

    I agree with Valerie: the Holy Thursday tea sounds perfect. As it is Good Friday here, I might have to remember this idea for next year.

    It is so difficult when we put a lot of time and effort into doing things for our family and no one appreciates it, or wants to know. I can remember angry feelings when that happened to me.

    So much to think about in your reflection. I guess God doesn't expect perfection. He just wants us to acknowledge our need of Him and give Him the chance to transform us. Yes, His undying love is so incomprehensible but so real.

    I have a lot of partly written posts that have been sent to my draft file this week because the words wouldn't come. I've had a bad writing week too! Maybe we weren't meant to write. It rather worries me though as I contemplate doing the a -z challenge. Can I really come up with a month of posts? Do I really want to struggle through the month trying to find something worth saying? I don't know. I guess I will find out on Monday!

    I hope you have a very special and blessed Easter with your family!

    1. Sue-

      The tea was perfect. Easy to do and meaningful, and fun at the same time. It is hard when no one appreciates our efforts but I am learning that I have to be more understanding of their perspectives too. I would not have been too excited about bitter herbs and strange meat when i was a kid either. :)

      I am thinking a lot about the a to z challenge too. I have a list of ideas and everything but I hesitate to commit b/c I know I am not consistent enough to post everyday (but Sunday) and I have lots of letters I am clueless about....I may try a modified laid back approach to it. That always works best for me!

      Looking forward to your posts and your creativity with the challenge.

      Many Easter blessings to you and yours, Kari



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