Scenes of Easter (Vigil and Day) at home in the Oratory. I share an excerpt from my Easter Day note to parishioners.
‘It can be tempting, especially in our moments of loneliness or isolation, to despair at the loss of control and freedom we’re all experiencing. It can be tempting, in the absence of our familiar routines and patterns of the spiritual life, to regard the Lent and Holy Week we’ve been through, and the Easter we’ve now entered, at best as ‘less’ than that to which we’re usually accustomed, and at worst as somehow ‘wasted’. Some of this is understandable, and I am as frustrated and bewildered as you, but we have to hold to the hope that the Resurrection offers to us, both now, and for the future.
If the liturgies of Holy Week celebrated mutedly in isolation have impressed anything upon me, it’s that the whole of the Christian life – our real life – is lived with and through the ever-present reality of the Cross, that contradictory symbol at the heart of our Catholic Faith. Holy Week, with its great narratives of death to life, darkness to light, and of faith, hope, and love lost and then restored by means of that Cross, signify that this Week isn’t some mere preparatory re-enactment of biblical events in the run-up to the Resurrection story. Holy Week isn’t just for Holy Week. It’s for the rest of our lives: the ultimate spiritual, liturgical, psychological, and mystical context for each and every one of us in our journey on the path to Heaven.
In this present time of plague, as with other times in our lives, when darkness seeks to overcome light; when death and suffering seem to have the last word, Holy Week offers us the key to understanding what’s really going on. God enters most fully into all the pain and misery of what it is to be man and he redeems it. He bows low in order to lift us up and draw us more closely, more intimately, unto himself. If we live the whole of our lives as we’ve lived this Holy Week then we’ll have a better sense of what hope is all about. Isolation, separation, darkness, despair, loss, and death have all, ultimately, been defeated. But these, for now, form the context and the content of our life, and perhaps our experiencing them this year in a more personal way has helped us to see that they are but a necessary part of the struggle; a struggle we must undergo – a cross we must all bear – in order to be brought unto the glory of the Resurrection’.
Fr Lee Kenyon