By Tom White
These three days called the Holy Triduum can be intimidating in the least. They are three, they are in succession, and they are rituals we only witness once a year. So they are about what? Triduum, as a word, is so Latin it is sanitized of depth unless…
Each of us has moments when we recall personal or family events that stand out to us as singular in our history. Defining moments when we say, for all their imperfections: “That is my life, my family, my people.”
These moments have come together in me. These moments may or may not be my best but I embrace them and stand with others in theirs. These three days of the week we call Holy are given us to stand with one another in solidarity as pilgrims on our faith journey.
Holy Thursday is the Day of Love when we are told of Jesus’ gift to his friends: himself! When we give our gifts of time, kindness, care, and concern for those around us and do so in such a manner such that we actually feel exhausted, then we have an insight into what Jesus did for his friends. We are shown that the gift of love may come when we wash another with thanks for simply being on the journey with us.
Good Friday is the Day of Love when we are told of how Jesus died. Dignity, compassion and love marked his life on that day of pain. He died, but the account of his dying is not so much about pain and suffering as it is about the courage to love.
As we are told, Jesus did not stop loving, even in the midst of suffering, nor did he stop loving even when he sensed he was abandoned by his friends. He did not stop loving even when he asked in a loud voice that the pain should be removed if God would just will it. The account reminds us that love for his mother was as close as we would hope it would be. We are shown that the gift of love may come when we are shown compassion and love even when the world around us pulls at us to choose a different path.
The Vigil and Easter are Days of Love when we recall the rich history of us, the people
who believe in God. We do so in our sacred texts and our songs. We recall that the love of God is evident in the lives of those who are new members of our community. We celebrate the love of God as we are not simply left in the ground of death but rather embraced by all those we have loved who have gone before us.
Imagine that one person whom you have loved more than words can explain, yet are no longer with you. Now imagine that same loved one so happy there are no words to explain it. Your love and God’s love embrace them forever. This is Easter.
Three Days of Love, The Triduum, are personal, profound, and intensely blest days during which we gather together to experience God’s love in our community of faith.
These days are about me, my family, my people. And as with all those we love, we don’t have to be perfect.