Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Cloister Walk

"In a monastery, the Easter Triduum-which literally means 'the three days,' Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday--is a total surrender to worship. Time feels suspended, allowing for focus on the events commemorated: Jesus gathering with friends the night before his death, to share a last meal; Jesus' arrest and execution; and his resurrection. If you've become acclimated to the normal rhythms of the monastery, the daily round of prayer, meals, and work, the liturgies of the Triduum are guaranteed to throw you off."

"...The Triduum begins with the singing of the 'Ubi Caritas' in the monastic refectory; the words of the great medieval poem--'Where charity and love are found, there is God'--set the tone for our meal and the liturgy that follows."

"...At morning prayer on Good Friday, a monk sings one of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, and it hurts; it feels like a blow to the solar plexus."

"On Holy Saturday, I walk up the hill to the cemetery and I meet old Fr. Gall walking stiffly toward me, dressed in a black suit, a narrow, European cut decades out of fashion. He twirls his walking stick and says, brightly, 'Ah, you have come to visit those who are in heaven? You have come to seek the living among the dead!'"

"...The great week of singing, the Octave of Easter with its incessant 'Alleluias,' begins....Someone finds an old Methodist hymnal , and I teach these Catholics 'I Love to Tell the Story,' and 'Softly and Tenderly, Jesus is Calling.'

"...'Ponder on your bed and be still,' Psalm reminds us, 'make justice your sacrifice and trust in the Lord.'"

No comments:

Post a Comment