I must say that last year God blessed my Lent experience. It was so good. I went for daily mass. I read up so much about my faith - what it all meant. I even noticed the change of the Liturgical colours from purple to pink (on the fourth week - Laetare Sunday) back to purple, red (Good Friday), to white and Gold (Easter).
The Catholic faith is so rich in signs and symbols, which is great for me, as I connect to things like these and it helped me feel the different emotions as Christ prepared Himself for His Minisry from the start of His temptation in the desert (purple), and even in a period of disciplined preparation, there was a spark of Joy (pink) - which perhaps was so important to prepare him for the Day he shed his Blood for us (Red - formerly Black). He ends it with a bang of course - His glorious resurrection (White+Gold).
I remember wearing my clothes (as much as I could) to match the colours to anchor in all those change of emotions Christ went through.
I fasted, I abstained, I prayed, I participated in almsgiving. As I said it was a fantastic Lent leading to a joyous Easter. We even had the opportunity to visit the Holy Land before Easter.
That was last year.
I think God knew I needed the feel good of last year to prepare me for the chaos of this year. Indeed, if I were to write a full account of all the mishaps that happened to me - which sucked my being dry - it would take too long and would only bring you down too.
I call all these my Lenten experience 2009. I believe when I'm weakest He is strongest and for that I'm consoled.
Now back to tonight... I'm excited and overjoyed to be finally celebrating the Holy or Paschal Tridiuum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday)
Yesterday was Spy Wednesday - the day Judas became a spy and betrayed Jesus. This would then lead us to Jesus' great sacrifice for all of us. Btw, I never knew Spy Wednesday existed, till last year, remember my Faith Discovery Year. The Gospel is always on Judas selling out Jesus for money- thus its name.
This morning being morning of Holy Thursday, the Chrism Mass was supposed to be celebrated. However, in our archdiocese, our Archbishop decided to celebrate it earlier on 7 April at the newly renovated Church of St Francis Xavier in Petaling Jaya (picture above). It is usually celebrated in the St John's Cathedral.
It was a beautiful mass in a beautiful church. It was my first Chrism Mass and the first time I witnessed the oil of catechumens, the oil of the sick, and the oil of chrism being blessed by the entire clergy of my archdiocese led by His Grace Datuk Murphy Pakiam.
It was also the first time I celebrated mass with my entire clergy. It was a Wow! moment for me. The experience of being the Body Of Christ felt much closer to home.
Both Pat and I will have to get ready for Maundy or Holy Thursday mass soon. I feel so excited, cos' the song we will sing tonight are going to be so beautiful, moving and meaningful.
Maundy - means Commandment - Jesus' commandment to love one another as He has loved us.
Together, as a people of God, we will renact and relive Christ's last few poignant moments before His ultimate sacrifice. We will witness through my new parish priest Fr Simon Labrooy, how Jesus practiced servant leadership when he washed the feet of his 12 apostles.
On Good Friday, we will experience how through the selfishness of the people of His time (very much like us today) they will crucify Him on the Cross.
I personally can't wait to celebrate the joy of Easter on the Vigil as well as Easter morning, as we rise to New Life.
I really have to go now.... my prayer to all of you is that you will rejoice in Christ this Easter.
Blessed Holy Week!