The following are the words of my friend and poet, Fred LaMotte...gentle reminder of Jesus' mission on the earth.
Though I am not a Catholic, I love the mysteries of Holy Week, especially the prayerful practice of Holy Hour on Maunday Thursday, the eve of Good Friday.
Stripped of decorations and flowers, icons shrouded, the church begins to mourn in a time of loss. We descend through the emptiness that always proceeds the bewildering grace of ananda, the gift of resurrection.
Creation, and our re-creation, arise "ex nihilo," out of nothing. This is no less true in the Biblical vision of the "formless void" (Genesis 1:2), than in the Heart Sutra of Buddhism.
Yet on Maunday Thursday, in one corner of the hollow church, the Blessed Sacrament remains in a monstrance on an alter, surrounded by Easter lilies and candlelight, to represent the abiding presence of Christ-Consciousness even in the midst of death's ravishing storm.
The Seed of the inward Christ remains buried like a star in the heart of loss, at the center of silence, awaiting the touch of the first full moon of Spring. Easter is fixed as the Sunday following the first full moon after the equinox.
This alter of Presence is a remembrance of the hour when Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane. It was after his Last Supper, and just before he would be arrested by the political authorities. They hated his revolutionary teaching of forgiveness and equality. They feared his radical vision of the Beloved Community, one planetary family, beyond racial, tribal, and religious division.
Tonight he implores his three closest disciples to stay awake with him as he prays. For the Master needs our companionship, no less than we need the Master's. Yet the three disciples fall asleep. They represent our thinking, dreaming, and slumbering minds, while Jesus is the silent witness, Turiya: the fourth state of consciousness, beyond waking, dreaming, and sleep (Mandukya Upanishad).
When Jesus finds them nodding off, he sadly asks, "Could you not stay and watch with me one hour?" This verse is the root of the practice of Holy Hour on Maunday Thursday. Sitting in deep meditation for one hour before that luminous alter, we bathe in the Master's presence, and he in ours, witnessing the power of love in the heart of loss.
Just for today
Who really knows?
Just for today
Forgiveness is your nature.
Just for today
A Sabbath from politics,
from being right.
If a day is too long
could you not watch with me
If an hour is too long
then for one breath?
That is enough
to wash a thousand stars
in our love.
Just for now, friend,
stay with me.
A NOTE ON THE WORD 'MAUNDAY'
Most scholars agree that the word "Maundy" derives through the Old French "mandé," from the Latin "mandatum: I give you," the first word of the verse, "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos." And what did Jesus give? "I give you a new commandment : Love one another, even as I have loved you."