Ideally, we’ll attend all of the Triduum services offered in the next few days. The ideal is to participate in the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening, attend Good Friday service on the afternoon of the next day, be present at Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night, and rejoice in the Mass of the Lord’s Resurrection on Easter morning.
That’s the ideal. The reality is that we live in a secular world that may make it impossible because of work and other obligations. What to do?
Live the Triduum.
Even if you can’t be there physically, you can observe the services spiritually. Granted, it’s not the same. But, it’s better than missing out entirely. Here’s how.
If you haven’t already implemented my 5 Ways to Make Sure Your Holy Week isn’t a Holy Weak, now’s a great time to do so. Then, enlist that nifty little gadget you carry with you at all times – your cell phone. If it’s like most cell phones, it has a timer and/or a clock that allows you to set alarms with notifications. Set the alarms to remind you of what’s happening and when:
- Beginning and end times of the services
- The Last Supper
- Our Lord’s arrest and imprisonment
- Jesus’ trial before Pilate
- Carrying of the Cross
- Jesus’ death
- Jesus’ burial
- Our Lord’s time in the Tomb
- The Resurrection
Perhaps there are some other things you’d like to add to the list. The times can be approximate – the exact time of every single step in our Lord’s Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection aren’t known. The point is to keep you in touch with the happenings from Holy Thursday through Easter Sunday.
At each stop on your Triduum journey, pause for at least a brief reflection and prayer so that you can truly accompany Jesus, his Mother, and the disciples. You might want to find the corresponding Scripture passages, bookmark them – either in a physical Bible or a virtual one on your phone – and then read them at the appointed times. If possible, place visual cues around you – a Crucifix, candle or images, for example – to create and keep a sacred atmosphere around you. Even if you aren’t able to stop and pray or read Scripture at each of the alerts, you’ll know in your heart what they signal and can offer a millisecond act of love to our Suffering Savior as you go along.
An added note, just to be clear on my part. As Catholics, we’re obliged to attend either Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday or the Mass of the Lord’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday morning. Skipping both of these vital services is a mortal sin! The best-case scenario is to attend both, which I’ve done on a number of occasions. I highly recommend it, since the two are very different and independently glorious!
Easter Triduum is the summit of the Liturgical Year and it unfolds the Pascal Mystery of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s the crux of why we call ourselves Christian and the most sacred time of year, akin only to the Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord in importance. It’s far too important to let it pass by unobserved.