Friday, April 18, 2014

The Peace of Holy Week

I've had a pretty great Holy Week so far. Lots of peace, clarity, and connectivity with God. I made a point to get to Mass every day this week, and I really think it's made a difference in how I'm feeling.

No.tre Dame is beautiful. I checked the weather this week, and the forecast made me think it was going to be cold and dreary here the whole time, but so far, it has been amazing. Today was perfect weather for a little run around the lakes, and while the flowers weren't in full bloom, there were little hints of spring everywhere - tulip shoots, tiny buds on trees, baby geese.

I've had two especially special spiritual moments on campus so far. The first one was during the Tennebrae service on Thursday night. At ND, the Basilica has a spiral candelabra of seven candles. The music was incredible. One by one, between prayers and sung Lamentations of Jeremiah, the candles were extinguished until the candle at the very top of the candelabra was the only one left. All lights in the Basicila went dark except for the one candle. While we all kneeled, the candle was carried out of the church to symbolize Christ dying. In the the pitch black, someone made a loud BANG!, and that was the cue to pound against the pew in front of us with all our might. The sound was amazing - it truly sounded like the earth quaking, symbolizing Christ's death. Then, after about a minute of pounding, we stopped, and the candle slowly made its way back to the altar and the candelabra. Low lights came up, and we departed in silence.

The experience itself is always very special, but this time, it was extraordinary. As the candle was being carried out of the church, I imagined all my pain and heartache around infertility leaving this earth with Christ. When the BANG! happened, I pounded on the pew in front of me with such passion and imagined myself pounding my infertility to a pulp. I hit it so hard for that minute, over and over, that my hands were aching! I'm pretty sure I was the one that didn't realize no one else was pounding anymore and gave the very last BANG! Then, as the candle representing Christ reentered the church, I imagined Christ carrying in answers, peace, and some sort of end to this journey that made sense. It was simply awesome.

The second especially special moment involved these three beauties. There is a really cool life-sized crucifixion scene in the woods at ND as part of Stations of the Cross. I laid these three flowers at the feet of Mary and prayed three very special prayers. The red rose is for healing for KK and me with our infertility. The yellow rose is for healing for all the other couples experiencing infertility. And that little baby pink rose is for Baby Rebecca that passed away this week. (When I picked out the flower colors, I had no idea which one would be for which intention. When the florist picked out that teeny-weeny little pink rose, I knew that one was Rebecca's.) I have struggled with feeling close to Our Lady for a while, and I felt like today was a great day to reconnect with her. With very different sorrow related to motherhood, there is common ground with Mary, especially when contemplating the Passion of Christ.

Another cool thing about celebrating the Triduum and Easter at ND is the Easter Vigil and all the young people that join the Catholic Church that evening. From what I can tell, I will witness over a dozen people become Catholics tomorrow night, and it's always so inspiring to see adults choosing Christ and the Catholic Faith.

God, thank You for such a special, peaceful Holy Week so far. I always feel at home here at ND. Help me to feel close to Mary again. Please fill all Catechumens and Candidates with your Holy Spirit as they commit themselves to Your Church.


  1. I have never been lucky enough to attend a Tennebrae service but your description made me feel like I was there and was very moving. And the three roses are beautiful. Your prayers are being heard. Happy Easter!

  2. This Mass sounds GORGEOUS--I would love to go someday. My husband went to college near Notre Dame, and he loves the campus. Another excuse for a visit! I am so glad you had such a great Holy Week!

  3. That Tennebrae service sounds amazing. I get goosebumps just thinking about it!! Happy Easter, Chella!! Sounds like you had a beautiful Triduum.