how to, holy week, liturgical living, catholic lent
A Brief History
Holy Week is the period of time just before Easter Sunday that commemorates the events leading up to and including the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Tradition tells us that this used to be called the "Great Week" and it included Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. We can confirm that by the 4th century, Christians were making pilgrimages to Jerusalem to celebrate this week, that which we now call Holy Week. Interestingly enough, the Church found the writings of an early Church Christian woman named Egeria that dates back to 381AD which explain the prayers, liturgical experiences, and devotions from that week. As you can see, Christians throughout centuries have observed Holy Week and throughout the history of the Church it has only grown further. The profound aspect about this is that now it is our turn to partake and carry on the traditions that many have done long before us.
Understanding the Triduum
Triduum is a term that is used to express the solemn three days of prayer that commemorate the Paschal Mystery. It begins at sundown on Holy Thursday through Sundown on Easter Sunday. It is the most significant part of the liturgical calendar and while this does span three individual days, it is considered one consecutive liturgy. From Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday we see the fulfillment of the Jewish Passover and the redemption offered through Christ's great sacrifice for the human race. He is the Paschal lamb, the spotless victim, that is offered for our sins. We receive and partake in the Paschal Mystery every time we receive the Holy Eucharist.
Let's Get Started
If you are subscribed to my e-newsletter "Liturgy Collective" or you follow me on social media, you may have seen this graphic. It is certainly great for a quick glimpse, but there is so much more that I wasn't able to include, so that is why we're here. 😃
The purpose of this post is to share with you all the liturgical living traditions that come with each day so that you don't have to sift through the internet to consider what might be good for you or your family. I've got it all right here, and if you know of a tradition that I missed, comment on the post and I'll add it. This liturgical living endeavor is communal so feel free to jump in! And the other thing that is worth considering is what tradition will help you grow closer to Jesus. This may look different from person to person or family to family, and that is okay friend!
Monday of Holy Week: Extravagant Monday
The "Why": In the Aquila home this day is titled, "Extravagant Monday" because in the readings Mary takes a liter of costly perfume and anoints the feet of Jesus with it. She offers an extravagant gesture of love for Christ that is meant to be an imitation of the offering that Christ makes of Himself.
To Do: In honor of this profound act, we do an EXTRAVAGANT dinner! I usually print menu cards, do the table up all fancy like, make bread from scratch, serve a multi-course dinner, and invite as many friends over as we can. Just as Mary serves Jesus, we serve our beloved friends and family.
This was the menu from a couple of years ago that you can use as is or play off.
1. Focaccia bread made from scratch
2. Fresh mozzarella bruschetta
3. Brown sugar rub slow bake ribs
4. Garlic butter rice
5. Fresh salad
6. Roasted brussels sprouts
7. Chocolate chip cookies from scratch
For drinks I usually serve water, tea, wine, and a specialty cocktail.
Tuesday of Holy Week: Ten Commandment Tuesday
The "Why": The Tuesday of Holy Week is what I call, Ten Commandments Tuesday. This tradition comes straight from my younger years. As many of you might know, I did not grow up in a Catholic or even religious household, but I was always drawn to things relating to God and faith.
Right before Easter, a local channel would air the old Charlton Heston version of the Ten Commandments and I used to watch it every year on my own. This may sound strange for a child to sit down and watch this by themselves, but I did. It was my own little tradition and I loved it. It's funny to end up here sharing Catholic tradition after going through life's many twists and turns, but upon writing this it looks like I ended up back at my roots. And little did I know at the time, but it actually ties in perfectly with the Holy Week and the Easter vigil.
During the Easter vigil, we sit and listen to all of those Old Testament covenants in the dark. It’s actually one of my favorite parts because it shows how Christ came to fulfill all of the promises that were made before Him that man could not keep. It also reminds us that God has had a plan to pursue us and save us from the very beginning.