March 29, 2024

Faith and Family / Sean Gallagher

Christ invites us into his dying and rising every day in family life

Sean GallagherOn this Good Friday, we Catholics are in the midst of the three most solemn and ultimately most joyous days of the Church’s liturgical year.

These holiest three days, known traditionally as the Triduum, start with the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. They go on to the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday and are fulfilled at the great Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night.

In these three days, the Church solemnly celebrates in its worship what all of us Catholics are invited by our Lord to do every day of our lives. He lovingly calls and empowers us by his grace to enter not just into his life in general, but into the paschal mystery of his suffering, death and resurrection in particular.

This is the life of a missionary disciple of Jesus Christ. And it is the Church’s worship on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday that unveils to us and, even more, leads us into our Lord’s eternal glory through the self-giving, sacrificial love of the cross.

This is what we have been spiritually preparing for during the season of Lent.

This beautiful teaching of our faith has taken on a greater power for me in this Lent than it has previously.

About a week after Ash Wednesday this year, I had surgery on my right shoulder. When I learned the timing of it, I knew what I was going to be doing for Lent this year.

Being right-handed, I’ve fasted from doing things I easily do with my right hand (shaving, brushing my hair and teeth, etc.) and learning to do them with my left hand.

My current condition has also kept me from driving, with the earliest that I might be cleared to get back behind the wheel being sometime next week. So, this has made me more dependent on the chauffeuring of other people. It’s also caused my wife Cindy especially to take on many tasks in our daily family life that I would ordinarily be responsible for.

So, I’ve witnessed Christ-like, self-giving, sacrificial love in others who have cared for me since my surgery.

In trying to return that love, I’ve endeavored daily to do things around the house that would, pre-surgery, have been easy but now, largely one-handed, can be difficult or at least more time-consuming—simple tasks like washing dishes or folding up clothes and towels. I’ve also sought to do as much to care for myself that I might understandably have asked others to do for me. I’ve seen all this as my Lenten almsgiving.

As for Lenten prayer, I’ve deliberately sought several times a day to join the inconveniences I experience to our Lord’s suffering and death for various people and intentions, often family members and issues going on in their lives.

This Lent has helped me see more clearly how we Catholics spouses, parents and children are called, with the help of God’s grace, to live out Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection right in the midst of all the ups and downs, glories and crosses of daily life with our loved ones.

This is often the cross our Lord calls us to take up each day as we follow in his footsteps. Family life can be hard.

But it also leads us to glory just as the bleakness of Good Friday gives way to the triumph of Easter.

So, enter into Christ’s dying and rising in the Church’s worship in these holy days and the joyous days of Easter and truly make it your own in your life with your family. †

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