Pius Parsch on Holy Week

From: The Church's Year of Grace by Dr. Pius Parsch. 
Volume 2: Septuagesima to Holy Saturday. Collegeville, Minnesota: 
The Liturgical Press, 1953.
Now we enter the holiest part of Lent.

The Church has prepared us step by step for this sacred experience. A steady crescendo in the liturgy has been taking place since Septuagesima Sunday. Each week the sound rose higher, and louder. Although Mother Church often spoke about the Cross and the resurrection, she did so in veiled signs and figures, as if she feared exposing a most precious object to profane eyes. Not until this moment does she remove the curtain. Now we see the Holy of Holies; and more than that, we are asked to participate in the most sublime drama of religious history.

The greatest and holiest of weeks is about to begin.

We should not call it a week of mourning, for Cross and resurrection are inseparable.

Christ’s redemptive work did not end with death, it continues on in the victory of His resurrection. Therefore, we must not separate the passion from the resurrection, but rather regard the Cross as the way to Easter victory.

The liturgy does not make this week one of sorrowful lamentation or tearful sympathizing with our suffering Lord. That was the medieval approach.

No, through the whole week there runs a note of victory and joy, a realization that Christ’s sacred passion was a prerequisite to Easter glory.

We cannot understand the Church’s liturgy unless we keep this in mind.

There is no day in the entire coming week when the theme of Easter and victory does not resound loud and clear. Think only of Palm Sunday with its homage to the King; of Holy Thursday with its solemn Mass and consecration of the Holy Oils; of Good Friday with the solemn exaltation of the Cross; of Holy Saturday, the beginning of the Easter solemnities.

Four days take on special importance, viz., Palm Sunday and the sacred Triduum. The remaining three days, Monday through Wednesday, do not differ radically from other days in Passiontide.

Palm Sunday may be called the golden gateway leading to the holy mysteries of Easter.

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