Make the Most of Holy Week

It’s Holy Week? Lent is almost over? Where has the time gone! “Lent is a very precious time for us in which there’s special spiritual graces which come to us for the reform of our lives, for our deeper conversion, and I always feel like when I come to the end that I could use a couple extra weeks. But, of course, we’re coming into the most holy week of the year, a time of unspeakable grace in which we enter very deeply into the Passion and suffering and the redemption of Jesus Christ. So there’s an anticipation and a joy that comes with that, too,” said Msgr. James Shea, President of the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota. He spoke on Morning Air® about the beauty of Holy Week and how we can make the most of it this year.

“Holy Week gives us an opportunity to intensify that Lenten pilgrimage. This final week of Lent, those final days before Easter provide us with a beautiful opportunity to enter into the mysteries of faith in a rhythm, a pattern, which is very beautifully crafted for the human heart and the Christian mind,” says Msgr. Shea.

“Of course, we begin with Palm Sunday and we move through the week toward Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and then Easter Sunday. That becomes a time in which we should very intentionally and thoughtfully set aside time for participation in the liturgy and for quiet prayer. I think a lot of people have memory of how much Holy Week can mean in one’s spiritual life, how it sort of rescues Lent no matter what happens to us.”

During Holy Week, the “liturgical richness of the Catholic Faith comes out like never before.” There’s a deep sense of awe and reverence during this week, and it calls us to silence, reflection, and prayer.

“Those days of Holy Week are shot through with meaning. … After Holy Thursday is the adoration deep into the night. I remember my mom taking me in there late at night. She would kneel and I would lie next to her on the pew and marvel at her faith and at the lateness and quiet of the church and glow of the candles. It swept me up into a world of mystery,” says Msgr. Shea.

“Good Friday—the starkness of it, the sadness of it, the way that one can enter into the sufferings of Jesus, … that participation in the weight of sin in the world and the heavy need for redemption and forgiveness,” says Msgr. Shea.

“And the quietest day of the year is Holy Saturday, the day on which nothing happens because the King is sleeping. And of course, the joy of Easter Sunday and jelly beans and eggs and the deep faith in the resurrection of Jesus.”