Holy Week, Triduum & Thin Spaces – Our Faith in a Nutshell

By Eamonn O’Keeffe, Director of Campus Ministry

I have always been inspired and impressed with how Holy Week commemorates our Christian faith in a nutshell. On Holy Thursday, Lent officially ends and the “Sacred Triduum” begins and continues through Good Friday then Easter vigil on Holy Saturday evening. Because we cannot separate Jesus’ death from his resurrection, the Church teaches that the Triduum is really one celebration that lasts for three days. During these days we gather as Church to commemorate in mystery what God has done in our history.

In his book, A Friendship Like No Other, Fr. William Barry, SJ, challenges his readers to reflect on “thin places” – those God moments in our lives where the border between earth-Heaven; human-Divine; secular-Sacred seem more porous. This is not an extreme spirituality. Indeed, for 2,000 years Christianity proclaims that God is alive and continues to penetrate our human experience.

As Catholic school educators, it is our vocational duty and privilege to engage opportunities to develop the spiritual intelligence of children and ourselves. During Holy Week, we have special opportunities to build spiritual connections and sharpen our awareness of God dwelling with us. Our core beliefs come alive during Triduum. The Apostles Creed mirrors the events of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Jesus… “was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died and was buried.” On Easter Sunday, we find the empty tomb and the promise of resurrection is fulfilled. “On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the scriptures, he ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.”

In our schools, students learn this faith all year long. But during Lent, they have learned more deeply about Jesus’ Passion by hearing the stories of Jesus’ public ministry; by praying the Stations of the Cross; by reenacting the Last Supper and washing of the feet; by dramatizing the Living Stations or by proclaiming in prayer, song and worship the Passion of Jesus Christ. In addition, our school communities have also reached out to serve others in need – in Jesus’ name. I believe that all these experiences have offered “thin spaces” to students, parents and staffs.

Let us pray for one another, that Triduum 2018 may offer us all a new “thin place”– where we may again glimpse God’s mysterious action “seeping through” into our lives.