Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Sunday, April 10, 2011

10 Ways To Find The "Holy" in Holy Week

~I have Holy Week On My Heart~
"Only the love of God that reaches as far as the Cross can open a breach in our hardened hearts." ~Cardinal Schonborn~
We still have 1 more week to go but we are most definitely on the home stretch of our Lenten Journey.  Lately, I've been reflecting on the busyness of our lives, as a bustling family of 7.  It's often difficult for us to find the silence of our hearts among the organized chaos business inside and outside the home, even during Lent.  I am always feeling guarded against too many activities that may ultimately distract us from God as our first priority... There are so many temptations.  Holy Week seems like a fitting time to slow down yet again, re-evaluate the last 35 days of Lent, and search my heart for ways to grow even closer to Christ on the crucifix.  I long for the silence in my heart and to teach our children the importance of this.  It seems like a constant battle to fight the noise, both in the literal sense and in the figurative sense.  Carmelite spirituality teaches (and I'm sure many other spiritual orders too) that silence really is the most intimate part of God.  It becomes quite apparent that we cannot speak to God and to the world at the same time.  With a desire to offer ourselves up as a gift back to God, it is my prayer that we work as a family to minimize as much unnecessary secular activity, during Holy Week as possible. That being said, I'm making my plans now to cut back the "noise" so that we can better hear and feel what this week is really all about.
Holy Week Plans
I would like to preface this by stating that I certainly don't have any holy answers and I certainly don't make any holy claims.  I am just an ordinary Mom who is eternally searching for small ways to sanctify my life (and my family's life) one tiny step at a time.  It's one step forward, one step back quite often!

These are my 10 Hopes for finding the"holy" in Holy Week:
1.  To cut back all outside activities to a bare minimum.  I am hoping to focus primarily on liturgical activities. We will definitely be checking out all of the great ideas over at Catholic Icing and Catholic Cuisine for Holy Week.  We are also printing this lovely Holy Week Prayer Book so generously being offered by Family In Feast And Feria.

2.  To shut off all noise in the home to include television and computers.  I am even stepping away from blogging, starting on Palm Sunday until after Easter. The hope is to concentrate primarily on Holy Week activities, taking in the Word of God and the Cross.  I will, however, hope to bring out more spiritual music and chant to fill our ears with holy noise!

3. To make the entire week a meditation on the Passion of Christ, to include praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. We are kicking this off with watching the Passion Of The Christ, for appropriate ages in our house.  (I have heard you can also watch it on You Tube)?  How can you NOT be in the right frame of mind after watching that movie?
Jesus said to St. Faustina, "I give great graces to souls who meditate devoutly on My Passion." 

4. Starting on Saturday, we hope to use this book: Encounter The Cross~Meditations on the Seven Last Words of Jesus.  The idea is to read one of the seven last words per day through Good Friday.  This book looks like a great tool of reflection with discussion questions and a nice prayer to follow each word/phrase and reflection.
5.  Monday:  Pretzels and Prayer.  I'm going to try Lacy's over at Catholic Icing.

6. Tuesday: Way of the Cross with Mary and possible outdoor nature hike to listen to God's voice through the beauty of His creation.  We will also read The Purple's Are Coming!
We are using this book to meet Mary at the foot of the Cross.
From my Consoling The Heart of Jesus:  "Jesus fully revealed Mary's special task shortly before his death.  It happened when he looked down from the Cross and said to Mary as she stood  with the Apostle John, "Behold your mother" (Jn 19:26-27) At that moment, Jesus gave us one of his greatest gifts: his mother as our mother.  Of course, Mary isn't our natural mother. She's our spiritual mother.  In short, Mary's job is to help us grow in holiness It's her mission to form us into saints."
 There are other helpful sources to include these:
There is also a Way of the Cross with Mary in the back of the Lenten Magnificat Companion

7. Wednesday: Paschal Candle.  We don't have a kit so we are going to attempt to decorate our own this year!  I will be referring to Catholic Icing's DIY link!  Catholic Culture gives the meaning behind the Paschal candle.  Today we plan to read one of our new favorite Lenten books, The Story Of The Easter Robin.  If you buy one new book this Easter for your young children, I recommend this one!

8. Holy Thursday:  Adoration, Cross Crafts (below), and Mass.  Last year, we used this craft. This year we are trying something new.  One of our parish Catechists came up with a neat idea for making crosses, using branches from your backyard!  I loved the natural concept, reflecting the true wood of the cross.  This will be a great companion craft to our book: The Tale Of Three Trees.
You simply tie together a few sticks in the shape of a cross with hot glue and pipe cleaner.  We added a little drape with purple ribbon.  They will be a nice Good Friday reminder for our home altar and also to tack in the children's bedrooms later on.
9.  Good Friday:  We have a family tradition to participate in a local Walk For Life.  It's a wonderful way to start the day.  We follow that with a" live "Stations of the Cross and head home for silent meditation (as much as possible) during the 3 PM hour of Our Savior's death.  We enhance the mood by doing everything in darkness using only candle light. I really like the tradition that JOYfilled family uses for their Good Friday dinner so I'm thinking about following suit with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup!  We will start our Divine Mercy Novena this evening.  There will be special excitement behind our novena this year as we pray for the Beatification of Pope John Paul II on Divine Mercy Sunday, May 1st! 

10. Holy Saturday:  This will be another quiet day, observing as much silence as possible.  We will decorate eggs and prepare Easter food for traveling to my sister's on Easter morning.  We have also adopted the tradition of Resurrection Cookies.  This year, we may try the Resurrection Rolls!  I am so excited that we are attending the Easter Vigil this year as one of our Youth Group teens will be entering the church...Hallelujah!
Last but not least, I pray that the true meaning of the Cross will illuminate the glory of the resurrection to all who encounter it.  I also pray that each reader who crosses this path will find their own holiness in Holy Week.
"The Cross means there is no shipwreck without hope;
there is no dark without dawn;
nor storm without haven."
Pope John Paul II

"Here in this book of the crucifix is great occasion of song.  If you first truly lament with Christ, you shall after joyfully sing with him."
~Saint John Fisher~


  1. This is a great list of activities, thanks for all of the links! It is so very difficult to find the silence. I like your idea of taking a blogging break for the week.

  2. These are very easy but humbling ideas that you shared with us. I saw the Passion when it first came out. I, personally, cannot watch it again. But...we have rented from Netflix the Jesus of Nazareth movie (from 1977). We are in the midst of watching it each night with the girls. Some parts need to be skipped for the less mature ages. This movie use to come out on T.V. during Holy Week. I haven't seen it on T.V. in over 20-25 years now. Sad. We, too, are going to do a Paschal candle. I'm likeing the DIY that CI shared as well. Stations are a must, especially on Good Friday. Finally, I was going to step away from the blog during Holy Week as well.

    Thanks for sharing your plans, Tiffany! God bless!

  3. Hi Tiffany,

    I love your list of activities, I will have to post our list of activities on my blog. I watched the beginning of the Passion but I am not sure I can finish it. (I'll have to buck up to watch it on Good Friday.)I might also take off blogging from Holy Week. My family takes Holy Week off for spring break instead of when most of the public schools do it. So there will be (hopefully) time for quiet.

    In his sacred wounds,


  4. Thank you for all of this, Tiffany. I am looking so forward to Holy Week. I try to watch the Passion every year. I do not like to watch it but strongly feel that I aught to watch it. I also will be stepping away from blogging for that week.

  5. I love how you have planned out each day of Holy Week. even if things don't al happen on the day planned, you'll be able to easily re schedule, knowing what things you have scheduled for each day. I love all your ideas. I'm going to click on all the links now. Thanks for sharing Tiffany. (I sent you an email)

  6. Thank you for the post Tiffany. You are an awesome mom! I know we are the ones that are so critical of ourselves. Isn't that the crazy thing in life that we often think we are not doing enough, when in fact we are and more. God bless you. I will be checking in as well this Saturday. I too will be taking some time off this week and then posting all of our Easter journey the start of the 50 days of Easter until Pentacost! =) God bless you and your beautiful family!


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