In years gone by, my Uncle Phil could dance a mean polka. When I was a “youngun”, my mom taught me how to polka and we would dance around the house from the kitchen to the family room…1, 2, 3, 4; 1, 2, 3, 4. Over and over again. Then came reckoning day – my cousin’s wedding. At the reception, the polka music started and the dance floor filled up. I stood by watching with amazement as only a 10 year old can. It all seemed magical! Then my Uncle Phil took me out on the dance floor – and well, life will never be the same. I started out by counting…trying to do exactly like I had been taught and how I’d practiced. But, with Uncle Phil there was no counting needed. He knew the music; he knew how to dance; and he knew how to make me dance. It was exhilarating!
Perhaps you are wondering what Uncle Phil, polkas and the Sacred Triduum have in common…
Throughout the Sacred Triduum, the beautiful liturgies remind me of a dance (not so much a polka – but something more somber, heart-rending, solemn). They unfold, twist, turn, crescendo, dip, become still and silent, and rise again. Our tradition is so rich – the dance has been all prepared for us with spectacular (and poignant) beauty.
This Lent, we’ve “practiced” the steps and tried to prepare for the great and solemn dance of the Sacred Triduum. We’ve disciplined body and heart and listened to the beat of the music…to the beat of His Heart. Now the Lord takes us by the hand and leads us to the dance floor. These are His days, His dance. Jesus takes us with Him, though, to share in it all with Him.
So often, if you are like me, we can enter into the Triduum with good intentions – but not quite ready to let the Lord lead these grace-laden days. We enter into these holy days with a plan, with the expectation of certain movements of our hearts and emotions, with a list of how to’s and things to do. So often we put all sorts of pressure on ourselves to “spiritually perform” during this sacred time: to count out the steps perfectly, to be in perfect sync with the music…and yet, all the while, we lose sight of our dance partner. We lose sight of why we dance. So let’s forget ourselves (just for these few days…possible? Yes!) and let’s remember Jesus. Let us allow Him to lead. He knows the music. He knows the dance. He knows how to make us dance – if only we will allow ourselves to be swept up in the drama of it all – nay…if only we will allow ourselves to be swept up in Him.
From the upper room to the garden, from the trial to the scourging, from the way of the cross right to Calvary, from the tomb to new life…this is the journey, this is the dance, THIS IS THE STORY OF GOD’S LOVE FOR US, this is the story of our salvation!
These days are packed with grace and they move quickly from one pivotal moment to the next. When the Lord leads the dance, He will guide us to where He desires us to remain with Him in His Passion, as it unfolds in the liturgy and on the altar of our heart – with all the twists, turns, crescendos, and dips. We don’t have to count out the steps. He has taken us with Him to the dance floor. We are here in Jerusalem – we need only to hold on to Him, to remain with Him, to love Him. He will do the rest.
On behalf of Mother Marie Andre and all the Nuns, we wish you a beautiful Sacred Triduum and an Easter filled with joy.