Reflections on the Triduum

By | April 8, 2009

Throughout the diocese, the Passion of our Lord is retold every year by young and old alike. Meditating on Christ’s Passion has long been a way to bring Christians closer to God. The story that is repeated, generation after generation, becomes a sonnet of sorts. Rather than 14 lines in a poem, we have 14 stations, each with its own unique story and players.

Familiar Scripture passages are found in the retelling of Christ’s Passion. These words are also turned into hymns we sing. Verses in these hymns have subsequently become meditative phrases used to draw people closer to the Lord in prayer. For example, one of my favorite phrases is attributed to the “good thief,” Dismas.

In Luke’s Gospel, Dismas and a fellow thief are crucified alongside Jesus at Calvary. While one thief mocks Jesus, Dismas, a contrite sinner, asks Jesus for mercy: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

These powerful words serve as a meditative mantra. While we may not be thieves, we are sinners. If Jesus is able to forgive and welcome the repentant thief (“Today you will be with me in paradise”), he can welcome us into heaven.

Thursday marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum, a period of three days beginning with the evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper and concluding with vespers on Easter Sunday. It is during these holy days that we remember Christ’s institution of the sacraments of the Eucharist and holy orders, as well as his Passion, death, and resurrection.

Pope Benedict XVI encourages Catholics to set aside time for silence during the Triduum.

“While waiting for the resurrection, the faithful persevere in the wait with Mary by praying and meditating,” he said last year. “A day of silence is necessary to ponder the reality of human life, the forces of evil and the enormous power of good unleashed by the Passion and resurrection of Christ.”

Make an effort to attend services on each of these days and connect with the sacredness of the season. Listen to the Passion proclaimed in the Gospel. Find a passage that resonates with your faith. Repeat it over and over, and make it your personal prayer.

A blessed Easter to our readers from The Compass staff.

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