With permission, I am posting this beautiful reflection from my sister-in-law Marianne who always inspires me so deeply with her writing. She has a beautifully simple, but magnificently profound faith which she freely shares with all those she meets.
I believe it is very fitting to share her words as we enter into Holy Week and begin to accompany Our Lord on his Passion. Marianne and I were together with family in the Holy Land this past summer, and we both experienced for the first time the fragrance of holiness in spikenard – it is a fragrance like no other. In fact, it is unforgettable. Even now, I immediately call to mind and heart the odor of sanctity and the emotion of being in the place that my Lord and my God gave his all for me. I remember I so wanted to lie prostrate over the place where His body lay following the crucifixion, but had to be satisfied instead to be bowed low before it, worshiping my Lord and breathing in the experience. I will forever remember being bathed in the fragrance of spikenard each time we entered the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where our Lord suffered and died. Marianne reflects beautifully on how, in our very creation, we are formed to be responsive to the Lord through all of our senses. The fragrance of holiness permeates my entire being even now, and wraps me in the Love and Mercy of my Lord, and draws me ever more closely to Him as I choose to walk His Passion with Him during this holiest of weeks.
Together with Marianne, I invite each of you to partake actively in the beauty of the mystery of this Holy Week. Avail yourself of the sacrament of reconciliation that you may receive Him in the Eucharist worthily and that you may be made whole to receive all the graces that the Lord wants to offer you this Holy Week. Indeed, all masses are beautiful because we are able to receive Our Lord – Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity – at each and mass. However, the masses of Holy Week are, in my humble opinion, absolutely the most beautiful…humbling…holy…of the whole liturgical year. Come, honor the Lord with your presence and your worship! Thank Him for all that He suffered and died for – even while He was being reviled and spat upon and so brutally tortured and murdered – so that we might all have eternal life with Him forever! I promise, you will be transformed!
I hope you are as moved as I was as you ponder the beautiful writings of my dear sister-in-law, and sister in Christ, Marianne. Drink in his unfathomable Love and Mercy. Pax Christi.
In today’s Gospel reading (John 12:1-11) Jesus is having dinner in Bethany, where Lazarus was raised from the dead. Martha is serving and Lazarus was reclining at table with Him. My favorite part of this scripture is when their sister, Mary, pours a liter of very costly oil on Jesus’ feet and begins to wipe them with her hair. How beautiful a gesture to wipe the feet of Jesus with her hair — I can just imagine the scent of the aromatic oil filling the room. I have bought this oil before — it is spikenard and when I put a little on my hands and a little in my hair by my face, I can close my eyes and just imagine that this is what the Lord smelled like that day. This is what the room began to smell like and this was a precursor to Jesus’ body being prepared for burial after He was crucified. Papa has given us our senses of sight, sound and smell and if we allow Him into all of our senses He can do such amazing things for us. When we enter into this Holy Week with a open heart, He will fill us to overflowing. The sights, sounds and smells of Holy Week draw us closer into the Pascal mystery. Join in and become a part of this sacred week.
In preparation for Holy Week, I was able to go to reconciliation this morning at Our Lady of Mercy. During my reflections for Lent I became aware of something I needed to confess. It makes me smile to receive this sacrament of Mercy at Our Lady of Mercy. They have a large banner on the wall of Jesus our Divine Mercy. I was thinking while I was waiting my turn for reconciliation, “Lord, I am full of weaknesses and I am sure I could sit in that confessional for ever and not tell all the ways I haven’t lived up to what you have called me to be. But the most beautiful gift You give us, that of your unfathomable Mercy, gives me the comfort of knowing that if I just do my best, Your Mercy will take care of the rest.” How wonderful that my penance was psalm 22 and what a great gift to be able to sit and praise Him for His goodness. Verse 25 touched my heart in a special way: “For God has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch, did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out.”
He never, ever, ever, turns away from us. Peter denied Jesus three times, but he repented and turned back to the Lord and was forgiven. Each day, we have the opportunity to do the same.
Our Lady gave the following message to Mirjana in Medjugorje on March 18, 2013:
“Dear children! I call you to, with complete trust and joy, bless the name of the Lord and, day by day, to give Him thanks from the heart for His great love. My Son, through that love which He showed by the Cross, gave you the possibility to be forgiven for everything; so that you do not have to be ashamed or to hide, and out of fear not to open the door of your heart to my Son. To the contrary, my children, reconcile with the Heavenly Father so that you may be able to come to love yourselves as my Son loves you. When you come to love yourselves, you will also love others; in them you will see my Son and recognize the greatness of His love. Live in faith! Through me, my Son is preparing you for the works which He desires to do through you – works through which He desires to be glorified. Give Him thanks. Especially thank Him for the shepherds – for your intercessors in the reconciliation with the Heavenly Father. I am thanking you, my children. Thank you.” (03/18/13 through Mirjana)
Our Lady is always pointing to her Son and the great love He has for us all.
Blessings, my friends!