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The Blessings of the Triduum

By Susan Ciancio

Fr. Mike Schmitz once said that “there’s no greater life that can possibly be lived than the life as a Catholic Christian.”

And in the life of a Catholic Christian, there’s no more sorrowful nor more joyous a week than Holy Week. As we approach the Triduum, let us transport ourselves back to a time when Jesus walked the earth, when He cured lepers, when He healed the sick, and when He preached about His kingdom.

On Holy Thursday, let us reflect on the fact that Jesus instituted the Eucharist this very night. He broke bread with His Apostles, saying: “Take it; this is My body.” Today, in every Mass, He is truly present—body, blood, soul, and divinity—in the Eucharist.

On that same night, Jesus told these men—His closest friends—that one would betray Him. He then went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, asking His Father if this cup could be taken from Him, for though He is God, He is also human, and He knew He could feel pain—pain from the scourgings, from the thorns, from the heavy weight of the cross, and from the nails. But the cup would not be taken from Him. God would not allow Himself to be immune to the pain that human beings would inflict upon Him. He had made a promise to us. In order to rise, Jesus must die.

And so we mourn on Good Friday. Our souls agonize as we see Him whipped. Our hearts ache as He falls not once, not twice, but three times as He carries the cross He will be hanged on. Our stomachs wretch as men drive gigantic nails into Jesus’ hands and feet. We weep with Mary and John as they stand helplessly and watch as Christ’s broken body succumbs to death on the cross. We tremble with the earth as it shakes when He dies. And our hearts grow as cold and dark as the skies when we realize that all of this is because of our sins.

On Saturday, we reflect on Christ’s sacrifice. We wait with breathless anticipation. We hope. We pray. We give thanks.

On Sunday, we awaken to an empty tomb, to excited voices, and to the joy we feel deep in our hearts because we know, beyond all doubt, that He has risen!

Jesus is alive! And we weep again, but this time not with sorrow at His broken and torn body. Not with guilt and self-loathing. We weep with joy, for we know that a new life has been gifted to us. The gates of heaven are open, and we decide our eternal destination.

Our actions and our choices will determine whether we spend eternity with Christ in heaven or whether we lose an eternity of peace, love, and goodness.

That empty tomb ensured this open gate.

So yes, “there’s no greater life that can possibly be lived than the life as a Catholic Christian.”

This week proves it.

Happy Easter from the Culture of Life Studies Program! Alleluia, alleluia! He is risen!