Monday, April 10, 2017

It's Holy Week, not Perfect Week

Apologies for the short, late blog post; I have been desperately trying to catch up on my word count for Camp Nanowrimo. This is the first time ever that I have not met or exceeded the goal each day, and I am still about 2600 words behind. I am hoping to change that tonight.

But I wanted to get this out here, especially for the person who asked for it. :)

So often we start Holy Week full of plans and ideas about how it's all going to go. We imagine a serene, reflective week full of meditations on the Passion of Our Lord, motivated by the beautiful Palm Sunday Gospel reading. We picture a perfect Holy Thursday Mass, deeply solemn and full of hope. We think about the Good Friday service with its many lovely calls to repentance and prayer. Perhaps we envision ourselves taking part joyfully in the Easter Vigil, or perhaps we anticipate the celebration inherent in an Easter morning Mass. And then we think of Easter, of gathering with family or friends for a wonderful brunch or a magnificent dinner.

But this is Holy Week, not Perfect Week. We are called to holiness, not human perfection, on Earth.

Because sometimes there's nothing serene or meditative about Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of Holy Week. We may have work obligations or family routines or sick children or others needing our care. We may be swept up in the busy days of spring, with all that needs to be done. We may blink and find that it's already Thursday.

And we may or may not make it to Holy Thursday Mass or the Good Friday service. We may have to change our Easter Sunday plans at the last minute. We might find family gatherings stressful, or we might have no family nearby with whom to celebrate. We might be sick or exhausted or grieving.

It can be hard to let go of that dream vision of the Perfect Holy Week and the Perfect Easter. It's especially hard when you hear those voices telling you that if you were just a better Christian this whole week would be an oasis of perfection instead of a morass of the usual chaos.

But that's not true, because this is Holy Week, not Expert Christians Week.

Holiness is a call. It is the destination of a lifelong journey, not a quick stop along the way when there's nothing more amusing to do. To seek holiness is ultimately to seek Christ, and Him Crucified, and then to take up our own crosses and head for Golgotha on purpose. The real "purpose-driven life" is to have the purpose of embracing our own crosses daily, and the real "prosperity Gospel" is the prayer to prosper in perseverance in suffering above all--to follow in our Master's footsteps along the way of the Cross.

So even if life intervenes and Holy Week doesn't go the way you intended, the opportunity to seek holiness is still present in every moment, with every breath, as it always is. To God be the glory that it is so, for it is a mercy beyond our understanding.