Holy week. It began last Sunday, Palm Sunday. When Jesus rode through the streets, praised as the Lord and Master. Heady times. While Christmas is a beloved holiday for Catholic Christians, the Roman Catholic liturgical year begins with Advent. But, it is in Holy week we begin to understand what Catholicism really means. Advent prepares us for the Christmas event, the coming of Christ on earth. But, Lent. Lent prepares us for what it means to have faith, to believe in a life after death. It is best explained in my favorite prayer. The Anima Christi, a prayer from the 14th Century, attributed to St. Ignatius Loyola. Fitting, right? Today, with a Jesuit Pope.
Soul of Christ, sanctify me, Body of Christ, save me, Blood of Christ, inebriate me, Water from the side of Christ, wash me, Passion of Christ, strengthen me. Awesome words, prayerful words. Words of hope and trust, faith! But it is in the second part that I find comfort. Oh good Jesus, hear me, within thy wounds hide me, suffer me not to be separated from thee. From the wicked enemy defend me, in the hour of my death call me, and bid me come to Thee, that I may praise Thee with Thy saints, forever and ever. Amen.
Starting with Holy Thursday, we begin the journey. On Good Friday we mourn a sacrifice so great that it saves the world. When I was growing up it was Holy Saturday, where we understood what was to come, Resurrection, but it had not yet occurred. That happened gloriously, on Easter Sunday. Now we celebrate the Easter Vigil mass. We start with a new fire, bless and prepare the Paschal Candle that burns brightly throughout the Easter Season. We rejoice in Christ redeemed, for us.