Preparing for Holy Week
As we enter into Holy Week with the beginning of Palm Sunday, it is a time to reflect on how much Jesus loves us. No matter how busy or “distracted” we might be this week, keep the focus of Holy Week in the forefront of our daily prayers and reflections. As we feel the presence of Jesus in our life, we know that we are not alone whether we are experiencing struggles or triumphs, sorrows or joys.
During Holy Week, the following suggestions are offered to prepare for Easter. Read the four gospels on the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Attend the services of Holy Week – the Triduum or three days – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and the Easter vigil. Focus on a mini-Lenten observance such as an act of sacrifice or devotion from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Consider eating less or more simply this week to help focus the mind and spirit on Jesus and his suffering and death. Unplug for the week if it is getting in the way of focusing on the meaning of Holy Week and your participation in spiritually preparing for Easter. Consider turning off or limiting watching television, using the computer and cell phone and social media use.
These ideas are meant to be a source of blessings during Holy Week, not a burden. Each of us knows the best way to focus on the meaning of Holy Week, feel God’s love and presence in our lives and celebrate the joy of Easter at Mass. We are invited to walk with Christ this Holy Week. Easter is not just a day – it is a season of remembering and entering into the passion and resurrection of Jesus.
Letting Go of Worries
Life is full of worries. We may worry about our jobs, studies, finances, health and safety and relationships. We worry about the past, present and future. The concern is that worrying make take control of our thoughts and negatively affect our physical, emotional and relational well-being. Take a moment and think about three things that you may be worrying about at this point in your life and how it is affecting your physical, emotional and relational well-being. When worry gets to the point of interfering with the normal activities of daily life, it may be a time to seek professional counseling.
There are a variety of ways to deal with and let go of worry. Prayer helps to displace worry and be in relationship with God. Praying with the psalms or other scripture may help to lessen worries. Philippians 4:7 reminds us “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”. Live in the present moment and be affirmed with positive self-talk. If a given situation causes worry, assess the problem and ask yourself what you can do about it and prepare a plan of action with prayer and trust in God. Listening to music with deep breathing may be soothing and uplifting in time of worry and stress. Journaling and regular exercise are other strategies to help lessen worry.
When worry begins to take over, it may help to think of easy-to-remember phrases or actions to call to mind. This may help to redirect your thought process so that you do not listen to the worries. The words of St. Francis de Sales may provide comfort in dealing with worry and stress: “Do not worry about what might happen tomorrow. The same loving Father who takes care of you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering, or he will give you unfailing strength to bear it”.
(Source: Why Do I Worry? by Br. Francis Wagner, O.S.B.)