I’ve spent the last two days and nights at Mt. Irenaeus celebrating the Triduum with the community here. It’s something I’ve contemplated before but for one reason or another have failed to follow through on. This may not be for everyone but for me it’s been therapeutic. I love the flow of the liturgy over the three days. It’s now just after dinner on Saturday night and we’re waiting to celebrate the Easter Vigil in a couple of hours. This is a commemoration of the night Our Lord passed from death to life. It’s my favorite night of the church year. Deeply symbolic and very mystical as we gather on the hillside near the chapel. I began the day reading and then breakfast by myself. I decided to do some walking and combined that with the rosary and then the Stations of the Cross. I walked the labyrinth while I prayed the rosary. Then I joined the others for morning prayer in the screened shelter next to the pond here at Mt. Irenaeus. I love the integration of the prayer and work that comes with staying here. Nothing is forced or artificial, there is an easy flow, a relationship with work and prayer. After morning prayer some of the younger people in our group decided to jump into the pond. I’d love to know what the water temperature was but my guess is that it was not much warmer than 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They all came out almost as fast as they went in. Then we had lunch at the house complete with fresh leeks that some of our group had dug earlier in the morning. I retired to my hermitage to read but soon fell asleep in the chair. When I woke up I had to locate my glasses which had fallen off while I was sleeping. I returned to the chapel and found some of our group decorating it for the vigil service which begins shortly. We had a lovely dinner complete with pierogis, vegeterian lasagna, meat lasagna, fresh leeks, salad and more. This has been a wonderful, prayerful and peaceful event. I’m glad to have been a part of it. This has been a wonderful culmination to Lent. It’s an event and a time I won’t forget. This has been an important part of my discernment and ongoing formation as a Secular Franciscan. Peace and all good!
This morning I drove toward Mt. Irenaeus in with a hint of snow in the air and a pall of overcast. It didn’t look like an idyllic Palm Sunday. Our liturgy began in the library under Holy Peace Chapel. Fr. Dan Riley, OFM blessed the palms and invited us to process outside, along the path and up the steps to the chapel. As we walked we sang, “oh Sacred Head surrounded by crown of piercing thorns, oh bleeding head so wounded, reviled and put to scorn…” It’s a song I remember well from my youth. The words of the song are ascribed to Bernard of Clairvaux. That information was new to me but the symbolism was not lost as I am a frequent visitor to Trappist Abbeys. Continue reading “Prelude”