Holy Week is upon us! As a Christian woman, I seem to arrive at this day each Lent filled with equal parts exhaustion and anticipation; exhaustion from what has been and anticipation about what is to come.

A few thoughts on what has been. It has been 35 days of sacrifice. As a Catholic Christian, I am called each Lent to look at areas of my life that need some fine tuning. When I figure out what areas I want to work on, I map out a plan to give something up or do something extra; make a change in order to grow closer to Jesus. It is safe to say that change is hard. Change of heart is harder. Without going into detail, I will share that I’ve been mildly successful in some areas, while in other areas, I have fallen woefully short. Thus, the exhaustion!

A few thoughts on what is to come. We call it the Triduum; the sacred three days. Though it spans three days, it is one single liturgy. On Holy Thursday we commemorate Jesus’ institution of the Holy Eucharist at the mass of the Lord’s Supper. We remember, we celebrate, we believe. Additionally at this mass, parishes receive the holy oils. These oils are used throughout the year in conferring the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, anointing of the sick, and holy orders (ordination). Also at mass on Holy Thursday we follow Christ’s example of service when we have the opportunity to wash each others feet. Our tradition is rich with meaning, and Holy Thursday is one of my favorite celebrations of the church year.

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion follows. It is here we come face to face with the wages of our sin. We remember how our Savior endured unspeakable torture, the abandonment by his friends, and the humiliation of death on a cross all because of our sin. As I go forward to venerate the cross, I often have tears in my eyes…He gave His all for me. Good Friday is hard.

The Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord happens at the Easter Vigil. We are blessed to live now, at this time, when we know how the story ends! Jesus Christ lives! At the Vigil, we read from holy scripture and remember the history of our people and the faithfulness of our God. We sing psalms of praise and thanksgiving for our deliverance from darkness into light, from what was old to what is new, from death to new life. We welcome new members into the faith. We sing Alleluia!!! Praise God for God’s gift of love, Jesus Christ, the Paschal Lamb, our Savior and Lord!

But it is still Palm Sunday. We must remember there can be no glory without lowliness, no exaltation without self-sacrifice, no life without death. And so we wait…