Growing up, I was always so thrilled to start Holy Week on Palm Sunday. The readings, the palms, the pomp, and the Hosannas! So exciting! But then, a lull. Monday. Mondays always get a bad rap, but Monday of Holy Week always feels extremely like a Monday. No one is venerating the cross or slamming the door at the end of Tenebrae. No dark candlelit services or Seven Last Words. No feet washing!
Holy Monday was just . . . a Monday.
As a single woman, liturgical life often looks very different from my friends who are forming children through observance of the year, but Holy Monday is a quiet day amidst a whirlwind of liturgical life for all of us. This year, I have learned in a new way to appreciate the quiet days. The lull provides an opportunity to stop and breathe in the silence. Even the readings today remind us that the work of God is not always loud or obvious. Salvation is often far more subtle.
In Isaiah 42, today’s First Reading, the Messiah is characterized oh-so-quietly: “Upon whom I have put my Spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, Not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street.”
Today, have a Holy Monday. A quiet Monday. Don’t cry out or shout or make your voice heard in the street. Do Christ’s work quietly. Prepare your surroundings and heart for Holy Week. Find moments of peace and silence to begin to form yourself for the spiritual intensity of the week ahead.
I have a few ideas to consider, regardless of your state in life:
Go to Mass.
Spend time in Adoration.
Fold yesterday’s palms and tuck them behind your crucifix.
Cover your icons.
Do a Corporal Work of Mercy.
Or a Spiritual Work of Mercy.
Clean your home for the week ahead.
Schedule which liturgies and services you plan to attend for the rest of Holy Week.
Invite someone to a liturgy or service with you later in Holy Week.
Pray the Liturgy of the Hours.
Go to Confession.
Reflect on the Stations of the Cross.
Do your grocery shopping for the week. Consider eating simply and penitentially.
Find spiritual reading to accompany your Holy Week and spend some time with it.
Sit silently with Jesus, listening.
Take one of these suggestions and run with it. You’re almost there! Make the best of the remaining days of Lent.
Brigid Hogan is a high school English and ESL teacher who lives in northeast DC. She is passionate about Catholic social teaching and tries to live it out daily in her relationships and community. Most of her pleasures are guilty ones like television, burritos, and Twitter. Find out more about her here.