My Prayer for Holy Week
Written by: Lisa Kelly
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Breathe deep. The hour has come.
Breathe deep again.
Imagine the deep breath Jesus must have taken as he climbed on a donkey’s back for the ride into Jerusalem, knowing the pit of vipers he was riding into.
Be aware of your own, tired, fearful deep breath. Where will your holy week pilgrimage take you? Where don’t you want to go, but somehow know you must? This isn’t about giving up chocolate for lent or meat on Fridays. There is a calling in each of us to be…something more, to face that which we deeply fear in ourselves, or to challenge the injustice before our eyes, knowing full well, in so doing, we will be inviting in pain, heartbreak, perhaps even crucifixion.
Breathe deep. I’m scared too. It helps that you are here with me. I don’t even know you or where you are right now, but just knowing you are reading, seeking as I am something more to this life, tells me I am not alone.
This week is the pinnacle of our faith. How seriously do we take it? Will we just go through the rituals this week, reenacting a last supper, genuflecting before a cross, and happily finding eggs on Sunday or will we truly seek to be resurrected people by next Monday? I’m not sure I trust that grace can take hold of me that fast. Were you to answer the first, that empty ritual is good enough for most folks, just go to mass and check the box, I must admit, my deep breath would turn into a sigh of relief. Whew. That I can do. But I would have to admit to some desolation in my heart—really? Honestly? That’s it? That’s all there is to be done to experience Oneness with God in this life?
But were you to take my hand and tell me from your heart “The hour has come,” my deep breath would quickly become restricted, short, gasping a bit. We seek to be a resurrected people and you can’t get there without going through the crucifixion. Your own crucifixion. My eyes would well with tears. I’m so not ready to be or do this calling. And I pray God help me.
And I find a bit of an answer:
When we have let ourselves go and no longer belong to ourselves, when we have denied ourselves and no longer have the disposing of ourselves…we begin to live in the world of God himself, the world of grace and eternal life. (Karl Rahner, Reflections on the Experience of Grace)
And in that, in letting go of my fears, in accepting whatever is to come from mounting this donkey into holy week, denying my common sense to stay where it is safe and just do what everyone else does, I find consolation. I don’t want to go there, but somehow I know it is where I have to go. Each of us has a “there”, a Jerusalem, where we don’t want to go, but we know we must. It will not be easy, but it will bring our hearts the Oneness we seek. This is our faith. Do we really buy it?
I find consolation as well, in going with you, in knowing that I have companions on this road who are about to face their own hour, whatever that may be for you. I will be with you as you are with me.
Breathe deep. Here we go.
Photo: “Via Delorsa Plaque” by betta design from Flickr (Used under Creative Commons license)