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Today the Church enters the most solemn week of her liturgical year. During Holy Week, we accompany Jesus Christ in His Passion and Death, which finally bear fruit in His most sacred Resurrection. We are not mere bystanders at these events, but they enter into our souls to the extent that we open ourselves to them.
The Sacred Liturgy is our teacher in the spirituality of Holy Week. On Palm Sunday, we welcome with joy into our hearts Jesus Christ our King, so that we might be filled with the hope of entering one day into the New and Heavenly Jerusalem, following where our Head has gone before us.
On Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, the Church sings the Passion according to Mark and Luke, respectively. These more contemplative days of our Week allow us to meditate deeply on the theological richness of the Passion narrative. We especially see how much Our Savior loves us, that He freely hands Himself over, in all humility, to such immense suffering for our salvation.
Today the Church enters into Passiontide, the solemn final two weeks of the Lenten fast. During this time, the Church keeps in her mind the Passion and Death of her Divine Spouse. She mourns for Him and suffers with Him and dies with Him so that she may rise with Him.
There are many liturgical changes accompanying these final two weeks. The Church sings the Preface of the Holy Cross rather than that of Lent; she omits Psalm 42 at the beginning of Holy Mass, as in a Mass for the Dead; and, also as in a Mass for the Dead, she omits the “Glory be” during Holy Mass, as a kind of double-fasting from any hint of joyful praise in the Liturgy. Instead, and most notably, she veils her images, especially of the Holy Cross of the Savior.
On Thursday, the Church celebrated the mid-way point of Lent. Traditionally, the mid-Lent Thursday is kept with some festivity and the tables of monasteries feature more abundant and better-tasting food. This festivity is a kind of anticipation of Easter joy and an encouragement to us to keep going strong with our Lenten fasting. In order not to tempt the faithful to break the Lenten fast, this mid-Lent festivity was transferred in ancient times to the following Sunday, which we keep today. This is the origin of Laetare Sunday, which we mark by using rose vestments, the pipe organ, and flowers at the altar.
It is very merciful of our Mother, the Church, to allow us to celebrate this foretaste of Easter today. She has it in her heart to encourage us to finish strong this holy season, especially as we embark on its more somber days in Passiontide. The joy of Easter stands before us, urging us on as we join Our Lord in His Passion and Death by our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We are taught today the value of this Heavenly encouragement. We are given a pattern for how we should seek consolation in our lives: the future glory of the Resurrection is our present joy, enlivening our suffering and dying with Christ.
Holy Week – the richest liturgical season of Holy Mother Church: a time for prayer, reconciliation, and reflection and meditation upon Our Lord’s Passion. For this year’s Holy Week, let us ask the Infant King to help us prepare for His ultimate sacrifice on the Cross and for the glorification of His Resurrection to come!
Join us at the Shrine of Christ the King and participate in the monthly novena to the Infant King from March 17th to March 25th. The Christ Child has promised us, “The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you.” Please visit https://infantkingoffering.org/
While you meditate on Our Lord’s holy passion and revel in the glory of His Resurrection on Easter Sunday, please prayerfully consider offering a candle or flower in honor of the Infant King, as a visible symbol of your love, devotion and thanksgiving. Your intentions will be placed at the foot of the altar of Christ our Infant King and will be remembered on the 25th of March during a Solemn High Mass, offered for your petitions.