Preparing for Holy Week 2018

We shall soon be in Holy Week, the Great Week of the year, when we trace hour by hour the Lord’s Passion, culminating in his death on the cross on Good Friday and his resurrection from the tomb on Easter Sunday. Some of the concerns of other times fall away so that we concentrate on what really matters. Few of us, however, are able to mark Holy Week in ‘ideal’ circumstances. Work has still to be done, meals prepared and eaten; we may be ill or out of sorts, those around us may be cantankerous or demanding; we may be preoccupied with our role as priest or choir director and overwhelmed by all that is expected of us. It can be hard to accept that this is the best Holy Week for us, the one that will bring us closest to the Lord, provided we place no deliberate obstacle in his path.

There is really only one way to prepare for Holy Week. Centuries ago Walter Hilton included the Parable of the Pilgrim in his Scale of Perfection. The pilgrim’s constant refrain, ‘I will be at Jerusalem,’ is one we must echo. Whatever happens, whatever difficulties we encounter, we must keep our goal in mind and fix our gaze on Jesus. That simplifies everything. I myself, for example, will not be able to mark the Triduum as I would wish (I’ll be having chemotherapy on Maundy Thursday) but I am quite sure that I can still celebrate Holy Week and Easter with fervour and devotion. If we canot have the hours of prayer we long for, then we must make the most of the minutes we can have; if we cannot take part in all the great celebrations, above all the Easter Vigil, then we must  keep vigil in our hearts. Above all, we must allow Holy Week to do its work in us, and if we sense we are distracted, bored, filled with feelings of guilt or just numb and indifferent, we must trust that God’s grace is working powerfully within us — the same trust our Lord Jesus Christ displayed as he hung on the cross. That is what it means to live Holy Week in union with him.

Walter Hilton
If you are interested in Hilton, there are a couple of talks on him here, at the end of the page: Flash needed.


5 thoughts on “Preparing for Holy Week 2018”

  1. Oh dear what unfortunate timing for your chemo. I hope the after effects are less severe than the last time. I hope you can still find blessings in the midst of the side effects. As always you are both in my prayers as I know I am in yours.

  2. Dear Siater Catherine
    Thank you for your Advent, Lent, and this blog. I hope your chemo goes the best it can for you.

    I am still trying to work out what you mean:
    “It can be hard to accept that this is the best Holy Week for us, the one that will bring us closest to the Lord, provided we place no deliberate obstacle in his path.”
    Thank you for all your blogs

    • Thank you, Jo. I was trying to say that, even if our experience of Holy Week is not all that we would wish, provided we accept it as coming from the Lord (and are not deliberately lazy or determined to do things our way or not at all), then we can be quite sure that it is the Holy Week intended for us, the one that will open us to grace and salvation. Is that any clearer?

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