Seven Things for Holy Week
To help us prepare for Pascha, here is a list of some things to do during Holy Week.
- Go to as many services as you can. If you can’t go to every service, set aside time to read prayerfully through those you cannot attend. It is through worship that we return and unite ourselves to Christ. Holy Week is a single unbroken Liturgy that over ten days invites us to participate in the saving love of Jesus Christ, not to just remember some events from long ago.
- Intensify your fasting. Each person is called to fast as he or she is able. Some are able to fast more, some less. During Holy week, each of us should increase the intensity of the fast. Think about how you have followed the fast up to this point. During Holy Week, continue what you do, and then do a little bit more.
- Create silence. Disconnect entirely from your cell phone, email, internet usage and especially social media. (If any of this is needed for work or school, designate a window of usage of no more than a few hours.) Do not watch TV, or listen to the radio. Cancel all lessons, sports, and social activities. It’s only for one week. The world will still be there after Pascha. When we create silence in this way, we give ourselves the space and opportunity to be drawn by Christ more deeply into His words and actions during Holy Week. If we do not create silence, then the noise of this world will easily overwhelm the “still small voice” through which the Holy Spirit speaks (1 Kings 19:12).
- Always be with Christ. Occupy your mind as often as you can with a short prayer. If you do not already have the habit of praying the Jesus Prayer, Holy Week is a great time to begin: “O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” This prayer increases our awareness of the nearness of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It reminds us that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God. Christ is always with us.
- Read a Gospel. Set aside time each day to read several chapters from one of the Gospels. Remember that in the Gospels, we do not find words about Christ, we find words from Christ. Each verse of Holy Scripture is a word spoken directly to you by the raised and glorified Lord. Each word is a word for now, each word is a new word that you have never received before. Enjoy the gift! Jesus wants to give it to you!
- Seek forgiveness and healing. During Holy Week, admit your mistakes, and forgive the mistakes made by others. Remember that we were created to live in peace and joy with one another.
- Call someone who is sick or lonely. Visit them if you can. Share yourself with someone who needs you. We are part of the mystical body of Christ, and we are called to a life of unity and communion with one another.