Holy Week 2020 was fascinating to say the least. I mean from the world standpoint, we're all social distancing and staying inside because of the Corona virus. That means no public Church gatherings nor really any gatherings of any sort. Weird indeed.
However, from a spiritual standpoint it got even weirder.
So it's Easter and I'm talking with a friend about the past couple of days (Triduum). That means Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday...
I'm telling him about the particularly difficult emotional struggle that I was going through on Thursday afternoon into the evening. The struggle surrounding the fallout of my divorce, the effects it has on my children, the pain, the heart break, the betrayal, and ultimately rejection...the things that go with divorce.
I told him that I was feeling stuck. I knew I what I was supposed to do to no stay in that emotional state, but I was stuck in the frustration, the fear, the anxiety, the anger, the hurt, the pain. I work I put into the marriage, the children. How I didn't sign up for this when I got married. I was in it for life, to make it something amazing. And now this!
I continue on with the details of that night and how I called another friend to talk through it, and how I was just looking for understanding and blah blah blah...
Did you ever have that moment when you are sharing something and you are expecting a certain response, but don't get it?
I was waiting for him to tell me that "that really sucks" or "dude I'm sorry you went through that."
"Of course, you're a holy man."
I'm like "What did you just call me?" Totally shocked. Because well, that's not really a word use to describe myself, although it is something I strive for.
To hear it out loud in the air, and from someone else...
I didn't know what to say.
Do I end the conversation now, and hang up? Do I sit and listen to what comes next? Has my friend been drinking and if so, how much?
And then he continued on...
"It makes total sense that you went through that on Holy Thursday. It as the passion of Our Lord. Think about it. That was the devil getting at you, like Jesus, and you had your own agony."
So true, so true that on Thursday night, it was incredible emotional agony. And I could now see it more clearly.
Often times, I would overlook Holy Thursday. I acknowledged intellectually the Last Supper celebration but then that would be it. Until the Crucifixion...
But this year...
My experience moved me from the intellect to the heart. I entered into Holy Thursday in a new way with my experience, that Jesus suffered emotional and mental torment in the garden. That was the devil whispering in His ear: "Will your death really make a difference for these people?" "If God the Father really loved you, He wouldn't make you do this." And as I'm visualizing this, I see the scenes from the movie the Passion of the Christ.
And my friends continued; "that's the devil whispering in your ear, trying to plant doubt, despair, negativity, confusion in your mind."
Theologically, I am bewildered. The Agony in the Garden was the emotional and mental crucifixion of Jesus. It's where He was beaten down emotionally, mentally. It was the PTSD to the max. And for the first time, I can say I began to understand the Agony in the Garden. I had a glimpse of what Jesus went through when we say "Agony."
This is what life is really about. Using our experiences to dive into the Ultimate reality of God's humanity...Jesus Christ. It is taking our life, and seeing it through the lens of the Life, the Passion, the suffering, and death of Jesus so that we can also experience not only resurrections but The Resurrection.