Monday, March 25, 2013

Holy Week: Let the Suffering Find a Home in You

Every year I find Holy Week a very different experience.  For some reason at this point in my life I generally find Lent pretty frustrating; the sackcloth and ashes, 'give something up' approach just has felt heavy-handed and unnecessary.  Perhaps it's because there has been so much conflict (and horror) in the Church; we've been living in penance of various kinds.

I'm not sure what my plan is this week. I'm just trying to be open to where God might lead.

But I was thinking about Good Friday on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where I used to work.  Holy Week was difficult out there; because of the distances and the small Catholic population, you wouldn't have many people come to anything but Easter Sunday.  There was a sense of loss and abandonment, which was of course quite fitting for the season, but at times hard to endure.

And what got me through it was the awareness of the people I knew out there who were sick or angry or sad, who are like Jesus was but among us, suffering. And to let their plight into my life, to let it affect me and change me. Again, that idea of mercy as entering into the chaos of another.

There are so many out there in the world and so many around us who are suffering, whether physically or mentally, emotionally or spiritually. And to be open to that; not to go hunting it down or sentimentalizing it, but just to be open to whoever might be placed in our lives this week. To let their pain and grief and rage a seat our table.


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