Easter Triduum 2014 is upon us.
It begins this Thursday evening.
Yes, THIS Thursday, April 17, 2014.
Are you ready?
Are you sure?
Okay, Pop Quiz time! I promise, it’s not too hard.
1. What does the word Triduum mean?
Answer: Three days.
2. When does Lent officially end and the Easter Triduum begin?
Answer: Liturgically, Lent ends before the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. The Easter Triduum begins with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday and is traditionally observed with even stricter fasting, abstinence, prayer and almsgiving then Lent.
3. What liturgical services take place during the Triduum?
Answer: Mass of the Lord’s Supper, Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion and Mass of the Resurrection.
Quiz Over! Now, Some Info
I’m sure you ALL aced it!
So, Easter time is upon us, and it is preceded by the Easter Triduum. The Easter Triduum is the peak of the Liturgical Year and the holiest of holy days in the Catholic Church. Though chronologically three days from the evening of Holy Thursday to the evening of Easter Sunday, and spread over four days totally, liturgically the Easter Triduum is one celebration that brings us into the Paschal Mystery, with a daily reflection on Christ’s last few days of life, Christ’s death and Christ’s resurrection.
I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a Catholic nerd and the Easter Triduum is my favorite time of year. And because the days of the Easter Triduum are the holiest of holy days, I always try to ramp-up my Lenten devotions or even observe stricter fasting, prayer and almsgiving. After all, consider what Christ did for us on the three days of the Easter Triduum, the least any of us can do for Christ is provide ourselves with the opportunity to grow spiritually on each of the days of the Easter Triduum.
3 Ways in 3 Days
So I encourage you to consider these 3 ways to grow spiritually during the 3 days of the Easter Triduum.
1. Attend the Easter Triduum liturgies.
Not just one, but ALL of them. This is probably the most obvious, yet it can be the most challenging considering liturgical schedules, work and family life. These three liturgies contain an incredible amount of the richness of our faith, complete with all the “smells and bells” that make a Holy Day special. If you can’t be physically present (though I hope you can at least make Easter Mass!), consider watching (or DVR-ing and watching later) the liturgies from EWTN. They live-broadcast and re-broadcast several liturgies throughout the Triduum. Or perhaps spend some time with the readings for the liturgy on each of these days.
2. Amp up your Lenten disciplines related to prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
Have you been praying the Rosary daily? Add to your current Rosary prayer time by saying a Scriptural Rosary, which provides inspiration and reflection before every prayer within the Rosary. Have you restricted your food or drink? Restrict your meals and drink even further by consuming the same thing for every email for over three days: bread and water, soup and a sandwich, etc. Have you neglected your Lenten reading or not completed as much as you would have hoped? Cut out TV completely over the Easter Triduum and spend that time reading instead (my husband and I did this last year. Tough, but worth it).
3. Pick something specific to do every day of the Easter Triduum.
By making each day a special day of devotion, you allow yourself to go deeper into the meaning of each day. For example:
On Holy Thursday evening, spend one hour in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Or participate in a Seven Churches Visitation (also called the Seven Altars of Repose) Pilgrimage. Or watch (or record and watch later) the EWTN broadcast of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s TV Show, Life is Worth Living: His Last Words.
During the day on Good Friday, pray the Stations of the Cross. Or watch the EWTN re-broadcast of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s TV Show, Life is Worth Living: Lent Special: Good Friday. Or reflect on The Last Seven Words of Christ.
During the day on Holy Saturday, reflect on the ancient homily in the Second Reading from the Divine Office Readings for the day. Or watch The Passion of Christ (or another movie that will allow you to reflect on our faith, such as the movies Lauren Gulde suggested last Lent) .
On Easter Sunday, dress to go to the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection in true Sunday best for Mass. Or reflect on the Easter Homily of St. John of Chrysostom. Or reflect on the Easter Homily of Pope Francis (I’m sure it will be posted all over the place). Or (here’s a good challenge) don’t gorge yourself with all the items you didn’t eat or do during Lent, but instead, practice temperance and allow for your Lenten observance to transform and detach you from this world and from sin.
Bonus: Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet Novena. This novena starts on Good Friday goes through the Easter Octave and ends the day before Divine Mercy Sunday (and Blessed Pope John Paul II’s canonization day!)
Spiritual Growth During the Easter Triduum!? Challenge Accepted!
Now, lest y’all think I’m making these suggestions to you without doing them myself, I’ll mention a couple (but not all) of the things I’ll be doing. I’ll be attending all the Easter Triduum liturgies and am picking something specific to do every day of the Easter Triduum, including doing the Seven Churches Visitation Pilgrimage with my husband.
What will you be doing for the Easter Triduum?
*Note: Note: If you don’t have cable to watch EWTN on your TV, you can watch it on your computer (or stream it on your TV) via this link.