Learning More About Christian Counseling: Easter Triduum
Christian Counselors can better help their spiritual children prepare for Easter by teaching them the value of the Easter Triduum. If you are interested in learning more about Christian Counseling the this set of feasts, then please read and enjoy
The Easter Triduum is a separate season within a the season of Lent and Holy Week. It focuses on the final three days before the Resurrection with special emphasis on the Passion of Christ.
It begins on Holy Thursday at Seven where in the Catholic Church, a special Mass or Liturgy is offered in remembrance of the Lord’s Supper. Within the Catholic Church, this Mass has special meaning because it both institutes the sacrament of the Eucharist within the first Mass and also institutes the priesthood. Catholic theology sees a very intimate connection between the Last Supper and the Sacrifice of Calvary. It through the eternal nature of Calvary that the graces of that historic event are forever poured out to the faithful through the Mass which in turn continues the tradition of the first Passover Mass of Christ. Another beautiful tradition, found in the Latin Rite, is the priests washing of the feet of the faithful. This pious practice allows the priest, as representing Christ, to wash the feet of his own “disciples”.
Protestantism still finds great value in this feast as well as they too remember the Lord’s Supper. Of course within Protestantism, the Eucharist is seen as a spiritual presence or in some cases only a symbolic gesture. Yet, the importance of the Last Supper and its ties to the sacrifice of the cross are equally revered and honored.
Holy Thursday is also meditated upon by both traditions as time to reflect upon Christ’s agony in the garden, his arrest and beatings at the hands of the Temple guards.
Good Friday is reserved completely for the Passion of Christ. In the Catholic Church, this is the only day Mass or Liturgy is not offered. The reason behind this is because of Christ’s death. It is on this day that the only sacrifice offered is that of Christ himself. He is the high priest of the church and all other “priests” bow before his eternal sacrifice. Some Protestant churches during this time also offer passion plays. These plays allow people to remember the sacrifice of Christ. Some Protestants and Catholics both give time to reflect on the stations of the cross and in the Eastern Church, the faithful reflect on the twelve gospels leading to Christ’s death.
It is a time honored tradition on this sad day for Christians of all denominations to remove themselves from the secular world between the hours of Noon and Three and to remain in silent contemplation, prayer and fasting.
Later in the night, vespers are offered in some churches. In the Eastern Church, an icon of Christ nailed to a cross, is unscrewed. Symbolically, the icon is taken from the cross and then placed in a shroud of relics. The priest then puts the shroud over his head and leads a candlelight procession around the church. This procession commerates Christ’s death and his burial.
This is a day of great anticipation. In the morning, especially in the Catholic and Eastern Churches, there are resurrection matins recited. By eve, after sundown, the Church then is permitted to offer Mass or Liturgy for the Resurrection. In many churches, Easter Baskets are blessed. In the Eastern Church, the pashca–Easter meal is celebrated the eve of Easter.
Holy Saturday is a good day to prepare oneself for Christ’s resurrection. As Christ was crucified, we too should feel “crucified” through our meditations during the Triduum to only be resurrected with Christ on Sunday!
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Mark Moran, MA