Holy week is considered to be one of the most, if not THE most, reverent week of the Catholic calendar. This is a blog about my faith and about God and about religion, so excuse my swearing when I say that I usually feel like shit for the span of Holy Week. Not physically ill, but spiritually ill. You go to church and each and every homily is about abstaining from worldly things that bring you satisfaction, but don’t really bring you true joy. One priest tells you to see if you can spend the week not gossiping… another challenges you to a week of staying off of Social Media… and yet another asks if you can set aside the money you would have spent on alcohol or chocolate and give it to the less fortunate. The readings and gospels are about the end of Jesus’ life on Earth – how he was betrayed by his friends, but loved them regardless. How He, even as the son of God and the believer of all things sacred, asked his father why he was being abandoned in his final, heart-wrenching moments. But above the pain and the suffering, he asked his father to forgive us because, “They know not what they do.”
We do the best we can do at the time we’re presented with a decision to make. I believe that with every bone in my body. When Judas decided to turn Jesus over to Barabas, he believed he was doing the right thing. When Peter denied knowing Jesus three times, as Jesus predicted he would, he was trying to protect himself even though he loved Jesus. Both of these men felt instant regret and detriment over their decisions. Judas chose to end his life… Peter was devastated and wept bitterly because Jesus’ prediction had been accurate, even after Peter told Jesus his accusations were impossible.
As Lent draws to a close and Easter Sunday approaches, I cannot tell you that these last 40 days have made me into a better person. I am likely a more aware person – a more awake person. I know that I am just one person in this great big world and my needs are few. As I like to say, “My life is not hard.” I know I have a lot to offer those around me who aren’t as fortunate. I know I want to build a life that makes God happy. And I know that God knows that. There is nothing in the bible that tells you God wants you to suffer. To quote my favorite biblical passage:
Jeremiah 29:11 New International Version (NIV)11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
In your times of trouble, please do what you can to believe this is true. You are likely to receive more by giving than by asking. Life is easier if you let go and believe God is with you to guide you, help you and love you. The next time you’re stressed, stop – breathe – and pray. Stand with your hands behind your back so you can open your heart to the world and the blessings that surround you. Wake up and enjoy this beautiful world.