Holy Weeks

The last time I wrote, Lent had just begun. Now the season is about to officially end as we prepare to commemorate Passion (Palm) Sunday and head into into the Triduum at the end of next week. How was your forty day journey? With lots of rain, cloudy skies, and unseasonably cold weather in Southern California, I stayed inside a lot more than I desired but the hours were full.

I spent the last five weeks reading a lot of books and purging hundreds of documents I had not looked at in years. This noble endeavor turned out to be both insightful and painful at the same time. I emptied a four-drawer metal file cabinet in my garage that was crammed with files dating back to my college days in the 1970s plus the more than ten years I spent teaching college speech communication courses after that. I re-read numerous papers I had written and wandered around in my twenty-something head feeling both impressed and embarrassed. How could I have ever been so sure of myself? Then I opened a foot locker filled with my old journals. A moment of reckoning seized and held me in its grip for days as I laughed, cried, and shredded page after page of handwritten angst not fit for anyone’s eyes. All that introspection made me restless to get out of my house and be inspired again.

About two weeks ago, I traveled up to St. Monica Church in Santa Monica to see my old friend, Fr. Ron Rolheiser. He was preaching a parish mission there. We go way back–I first met him at the Religious Education Congress in the 1980s. I remember the riveting, engrossing feeling I had when I first heard him speak. He was discussing the growing polarities in the Church, a topic that was tearing me apart at the time. His positive and helpful teachings restored my faith. Years later, in 2001, I spent two weeks studying incarnational spirituality under his tutelage at the University of Louvain in Belgium where we became good friends. If Fr. Ron is nearby, I make the effort to go. No matter how many times I hear him speak or read his books, he always has wisdom for me. At St. Monica’s, he returned to some of his favorite themes–the Cross, the Passion, and the Paschal Mystery. As I sat and listened in that beautiful old church with its stained glass windows, statues, and chandeliers, I felt engulfed in a familiar cocoon of grace and gratitude. Tears that I tried to conceal welled up and spilled onto the wooden pews. Still here, I thought, drinking from the well of living water, cured of my blindness without even asking, resuscitated after experiencing death, thoroughly enchanted by these ancient stories that forever captivate my heart.

These have been holy weeks, full of everything from watching exciting high school baseball games and attending several musicals to the annoying business of doing taxes. In every moment, feeling drawn in by the personal passionate presence of the Beloved, my soul expanded. For, as Fr. Ron often reminds his audience, holiness has little to do with piety. Rather, to be holy is to peel away the layers of the false self so that the true self (the Christ hidden within) can appear. Not an easy task but worth embracing–an ongoing process of cross-carrying, crucifixion, tomb time, resurrection, ascension, and finally Pentecost when a new spirit comes to rescue just in time.

As Easter draws near and spring flowers explode brilliantly on the green hillsides of Southern California, take time to bask in the glory of rebirth once again!

5 thoughts on “Holy Weeks”

  1. Finally Pentecost and rebirth. I too love the stories of long ago that continually play out in our lives. I am looking forward to this week of further reflection and deepening of my love for the Christ in us all. I look forward to sharing more time with you.


  2. Awe yes.. Fr. Ronald! You had him come speak at St. Ed’s. Remember going to RE Congress with you & hearing him speak, very special. His books were inspiring too. So wonderful that you got together with Father! Happy Palm 🌴 Sunday!


  3. I love that you got to spend time with Fr. Ron! Love him.
    You’re reflections are on the theme of my heart, as well, digging into past boxes of ‘things’ and letting go, throwing away the physical things we do not need anymore, reminiscing on early adulthood journaling-I have plenty of those, too. Tomb time stuck with me. A very poignant two words for my life. I stand in the resurrection and glory of a new life, a given for every Easter for me in some form whether big or small I am aware of the process and journey. Happy Easter DC! 🙂


  4. Loved this post!!





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