This is my second consecutive Holy Week with a newborn, only this year I have a newborn plus an almost 14 month old. Throughout my adult years I have always looked forward to this particular week, the holiest of all weeks, and did everything I could possibly do to enter into it completely. Along with some kind of Lenten devotional for my personal use, I would go to almost all of the events our parish would offer — soup suppers, Stations of the Cross, Lenten reflection talks, just to name a few. Also going to daily Mass and visiting the Blessed Sacrament any time I wanted was easy, and it was uninterrupted, quiet time. As for the Triduum, I would eagerly participate in all of the sacred feasts. I loved visiting the Franciscan Monastery for the burial reenactment and the Easter Vigil (I LOVE the Easter Vigil) and welcoming new members into the Catholic faith. These ways of entering into Holy Week and the Triduum have helped me deeply reflect on what this week and this weekend mean. They always seem to reignite a fire in my heart to wholly love Christ and to further ponder on what His suffering, dying, and rising mean to me, and how my life is transformed by this. Our entire faith depends on the Paschal Mystery.
One of the things I’m continuing the adjust to as a parent of two babies is that I don’t always get to enter into certain aspects of my faith as completely as I have in the past, which is perfectly fine and expected. (It certainly helps to not have high expectations.) I know and accept that I will not be able to go to all the events I have gone to in the past and that is fine. And that goes for many other aspects of my life during this chapter I’m in. This past Palm Sunday while listening to the Gospel reading, one specific line that stayed on my mind all day and throughout this week thus far was “remain here and keep watch with me” — Jesus’ words to his disciples in Gethsemane. I felt as though He was showing me how to still enter into Holy Week even while at home with my family and caring for my babies, that what we will be doing this year might look different from the past but we are still unified with the rest of the universal Church. I remember coming across this sentence, “the domestic church meets the universal church in this way.” It couldn’t be any more true.
So while we might not be able to attend the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Seven Last Words, or even the Easter Vigil, I hope that within our home, we can still reflect internally and with another on what each day of the Triduum could mean to us during this special and crazy time of our life, carrying our crosses with joy (the big crosses, yes, but even the littlest ones like changing diapers or pumping while half awake at 4am or handling two meltdowns simultaneously) and sharing with our children our hope and joy that comes from Christ’s rising, defeating death once and for all. And how that can transform us each day to love Christ more through the sacrificial love we give to each other and our kids.