The Thursday of all Thursdays has once again come with the beginning of this year’s Paschal Triduum. These following days are the most solemn time of the Liturgical Year with the celebration of the Easter Vigil as the summit of the calendar of the Church.
As a child I have always looked forward to this time of the year, not with joyful anticipation as I do at Christmas time, but with solemn excitement over the novelties of practices: the penitents (salibatbat in our Kapampangan language)—men flagellating themselves, or carrying their crosses, or crawling on the dirt; the pasyon, the Seven Last Words at the Cathedral, the tanggal followed by the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion and Veneration of the Cross and the procession of the Santo Entierro around the town.
When I entered the minor seminary of Don Bosco Juniorate, I had a closer look into the liturgy as we took some time learning the songs and practicing the services for the Triduum. When I was in third year high school I was chosen as one of the apostles whose feet were washed in the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. After the Mass we took turns to spend at least an hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, in commemoration of Jesus’ words “Stay awake, watch, pray.” (cf. Mt 26:41)
This is something that I have seriously taken every year during the Paschal Triduum. The liturgical celebration is so rich and through all of these God speaks to us over and over again, reminding us of the words spoken by his Son at the Last Supper: “No greater love one has than to lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15:13)
Our dialogue with God continues. In the solemnity of these days, do not forget: watch and pray.