Thursday, 8 April 2010


I don't think I'm alone, in fact I know I am not alone in finding the Mass of Holy Thursday the most profoundly moving part of the Triduum. Of course this is wrong, of course the Resurrection should be the focus of our emotions and the summit of our prayer life...but somehow, when that altar is stripped on the night of Holy Thursday and the watching commences, every year I'm gripped with the same profound sense of loss, of waiting, of deep sorrow and deeper love. It never fails to be a truly significant event.

Of course this Mass has enormous significance, it is the Mass of the Lord's Supper, the instigation of the Eucharist and the instigation of the new priesthood, and it is the only Mass that has no ending due to its deep mystical union with the events of the following day.

But it just can't be right to find this the most deeply moving part of the Triduum.

One name has been ringing in my ears this Easter, Jonah.

It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah. (Mat 12:39)

That is us and that is our sign, the sign we cling to, the sanctuary becoming like the belly of the whale; stripped of its light and stripped of its dignity, Our Lord is not there.

Furthermore, read on in the story of Jonah. Was Jonah pleased with the astounding victory God worked through him in making the people of Nineveh repent? He was not pleased, he wanted some divine fireworks thrown at these people.

Maybe we just can not get to feeling the real significance of the Resurrection because, like Jonah, we think we know what God ought to do, how He ought to behave and how He ought to make us feel.

Not that there is anything wrong with clinging to our sign and the hope it contains.

1 comment:

Ben Trovato said...


I would not worry about your feelings, if I were you. That is (it seems to me) a somewhat Protestant preoccupation.

The affective part of our devotion is not under our control, and we should not strive to make it so; still less to treat it as paramount, or when we enter (as we may do) the dark night of the soul, we will feel we have lost our Faith.

So I suggest you recognise your response as a gift, a way of being close to Our Lord at a time when friends fled; and continue to acknowledge with your will, your rational powers, the supremacy of the resurrection.

(all, as ever, in my arrogant opinion...)