A Jesuit in Holy Week.
For your reflection as we enter Holy Week, I would like to share some wise and provocative words from a book that has become one of my favorites, The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann, 1973-1983. Writing on Tuesday, May 1, 1973, two days after the Feast of the Resurrection, Father Alexander reflects as follows:
Pascha. Holy Week. Essentially, bright days such as are needed. And truly that is all that is needed. I am convinced that if people would really hear Holy Week, Pascha, the Resurrection, Pentecost, the Dormition, there would be no need for theology. All of theology is there. All that is needed for one's spirit, heart, mind and soul. How could people spend centuries discussing justification and redemption? It is all in these services. Not only is it revealed, it simply flows from one's heart and mind. The more I live, the more I am convinced that most people love something else and expect something else from religion and in religion. For me this is idolatry, and it often makes contact with people so difficult.My hope is that these words may help us to reflect on our own expectations of faith and religion, particularly as we prepare to celebrate the mystery at the heart of our faith. We who have chosen to follow Christ still need to ask ourselves what our faith means to us and why we seek to live it out as members of an organized community of believers. These questions have added poignancy for those of us who live in societies where disbelief or indifference prevails, where the rate of religious practice is declining, and where trust in religious institutions has been deeply eroded. To say the least, it's a good idea to reflect on these matters now and then, and Holy Week is an especially opportune time to do so.
My further (and perhaps greater) hope for each of us during Holy Week is that we can fully enter into the experience of these days so as to better recognize and appreciate the one thing needful. I may or may not have more to say before next Sunday. One way or another, please know of my prayers for all readers. AMDG.