|Craig Lodge garden|
Fr. Damian and Fr. Desiderio were with our friends in Craig Lodge, Dalmally for the Easter Triduum. Alongside the community, which is made up of couples, families and young people who live and work in the retreat house for a year, over forty young people came to celebrate the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. It was a time of grace.
Taking time to really live the liturgy of Holy Week is a very special experience; somehow you get so caught up in the drama of the days. So we began our time together with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and the washing of feet. We gathered simply to do what Jesus did and to experience his closeness to us. Then we stayed with the Blessed Sacrament in a small chapel as the events of that night were slowly read to us. We remembered Gethsemane, the tiredness of the apostles, the heavy heart of Jesus as he prepares himself for the coming hours and the deep sense of betrayal as Judas hands him over to the authorities. As Jesus is taken away we felt that sense of loss.
On Good Friday the day seems as empty as the chapel. The sense of loss seems very real. Many went up the hill behind the house for to recall Jesus’ journey to Golgotha and his crucifixion. Then we gathered for the Solemn Liturgy of the Passion led by Fr. Desi. Before we began the liturgy a narrator set the tone for our remembering:-
“The world looks for miracles and wisdom,yet here we are celebrating a crucified Christ!
For all the big feats of the Church,
we would normally celebrate the Eucharist, the mass.
But the Church has never celebrated Mass on Good Friday because the mass is as much a celebration of Christ’s resurrection as of his death;
and today we are turning our thoughts more exclusively to his passion and death.
Nevertheless, it is still a very real and solemn liturgy
we are about to celebrate;
a liturgy which brings the power and effect of Good Friday into our lives in a very real way.
We gather this afternoon, as Christians have done since the earliest days of the Church, not to mourn the death of Christ, but to celebrate the triumph of the cross.”
In his homily Fr. Damian spoke of the Jesus who is for us, especially when we are on the outside of life. In the evening we gathered to celebrate forgiveness and there was the opportunity for confession as we gathered around a cross in prayer and quiet.
Holy Saturday saw us reflecting with those who were closest to Jesus and living the raw moment of grief. With Mary the Mother of Jesus we gazed at the closed tomb and waited. In the evening we kindled a new fire, blessed it and proclaimed Jesus s Risen. In a candle lit space we heard of our salvation and Fr. Desi spoke beautifully about how we are the Body of Christ and the Body of Christ has been raised from death! He dispelled the myth that those who suffer are distant from God, but that on the contrary, they are God’s friends and they can experience the joy of the Risen One. After we renewed our baptismal promises and water had been blessed, we were drenched with that water, a sign of cleansing, renewal and rebirth. (Also because Fr. Damian likes soaking people with Holy Water!)
After the Liturgy we celebrated! We ended our Lenten fast and danced through the night. As Damian was born a walker not a dancer, he left the dancing to Desi.
Sunday morning dawned and sleep was wiped away from our eyes. At our celebration of the Eucharist, Fr. Damian spoke about joy and giving God permission to overwhelm us with joy. Damian’s explanation of various ‘worship waves’, was apparently something to behold!
To all our friends who made the last week such a joy – Thank you! Maybe we will see you next year?
Christ is Risen! Alleluia, alleluia!