Glimpses of a Holy Thursday


UPDATE:  HERE'S WHY WE NO LONGER DO THE "SEDER" PART OF OUR HOLY THURSDAY MEAL.
I'm going to leave this post here, though, since it holds memories and thoughts that I'm not sure I want to be deleted.

I remember the first time we celebrated a Seder meal on Holy Thursday as  family before heading to the Mass of the Last Supper.  I was frantically trying to get everything prepared with two little ones and a big pregnant belly.  Brian would be home from work and then we would have to eat and run out the door in time to make it to Mass a half hour away.  I was roasting lamb and making the harroset and setting out the unleavened bread.  And then he called to say he would be home a bit late and we were even more rushed than I had thought.  I got everyone dressed for Mass even putting on shoes so we could head straight to the door after quickly observing the Seder and eating the meal.  While we were eating I realized how fitting it was the first Passover to be eating with shoes on our feet.

We made it to Mass on time (I'm sure I was more than a bit harried) and began the Liturgy.  It wasn't until we knelt down during the opening to the Eucharistic Prayer with my hands folded in front of my face that I smelled it.  On my hands I could smell the overwhelming scent of roasted lamb.  And then Father began the Consecration.  It was more than powerful to see the Lamb of God raised for the Church to behold while the smell of our symbolic roasted lamb filled my head.  How clear it became how the Lord was the new Lamb of God laying his life down for the sins of His people.  How moving it was to my soul when I could practically picture our Lord laying down upon that altar begging us to partake of the Sacrifice.  How amazing to see this fulfillment of the Passover and here I was little old me, invited to participate.

We've since incorporated a mini Seder Meal into our Holy Thursday observance every year.  It can get crazy and hectic and yes, it is one more thing to think about during a very busy time, especially for parents, but the powerful imagery is worth it.  To have our own experience of the last meal of Christ before partaking in THE meal of Christ is such a blessing.  (Don't worry, we make sure to observe the Communion fast).  Our parish now has a later Mass, which makes things a little less rushed and so we can enjoy the prayers and ritual of the Seder (but still wearing our shoes!) and talk about them with the boys.  I find it interesting that so many Christians so abhor ritual and tradition when our Lord certainly partook of many of both.  Even a small glimpse into traditional Jewish worship and it is impregnated with ritual, smells, sounds, traditions, and liturgy.  We are soul and body united.  We need these things to fully live out what it means to be human.  To worship body and soul.

We had our Seder Meal and went to the Mass.  I can't say I was as spiritually enlightened this time around.  We've since added two squirming little people to the mix and being that the Mass takes place when our boys are normally sleeping in bed, in some ways I felt more defeated leaving the Mass than when I got there (parents of little ones, you know what I'm talking about).  There were tears at one point and threats from mom at another.  But perhaps there is significance to that as well and I'm just too tired to think it through.  Either way, the grace is still there and the work and effort put into observing this holy day is well worth it.  I believe that.

Some glimpses of our Holy Thursday:















May you have a very blessed Triduum!

1 comment

  1. What a beautiful tradition...and a gorgeous family! Look at how dapper they all are!

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