Saturday, April 15, 2006

Blogging the Monastic Triduum ~ Holy Saturday (As We Wait in the Silence)

Holy Saturday is basically the time to wait. Jesus has been buried, and we patiently await the pronouncement of the empty tomb. We have Morning Prayer in the same manner of the past two days; we have a brief Midday Prayer; other than that, there's nothing that goes on until this evening (except for practices, setting things up, and other sorts of logistical details. Oh, and if you're me, there's also lunch dishes to be done!).

As I think about the Triduum thus far, it's interesting to note my inner stirrings. Perhaps it's because we're back in church, and I haven't had Easter in our monastery church since the year I entered community. There's definitely something to be said for a "sacred space." Chapter 52 of the Rule of Benedict states: Let the oratory what it is called, a place of prayer, and let nothing else be done there or kept there. While our prayer space during restoration was also used only for prayer during that time, it was very much a converted meeting room. To be back in our sacred space, especially with how magnificently it has been redone .... it's a wonderful thing.

Perhaps, instead, it is the fact that I've been living on mission this past year. While I'm back at the monastery many weekends, and while we do the same prayers at my house, it's very different to be in that space, with the organ, chant, and whole community involvement.

Perhaps I've just settled a bit. There was a bit of a rough patch around Christmas, but I think things have finally begun to fall into place for me. I'm not as uptight about certain relationships as I have been (although I still find myself getting sucked into some of them more often than I'd like); I even found the courage to ask the "hard questions" and speak my truth to some folks (via a letter) during these days (of course, the silence probably helped with the courage peace, since technically no one should be talking to me about it until tomorrow! I'm still quite the coward; I just fake bravery well sometimes.).

I remember thinking last year how much more charitable I was feeling towards people during this Triduum time, but then I realized that it probably had something to do with not having to talk to them. It's a lot easier to not get annoyed by people when you're not interacting as much!

I was especially noticing it Thursday night during Mass, though. I got in from school just in time for music practice, so I pretty much dove full-force right into Triduum. The organ was doing the entrance hymn, so we (the "strings" group -- guitar/keyboard/bass) were able to be a part of the community procession into church; however, we went straight up to take our places on the altar. Standing there, a few steps up from everyone else, listening to the organ/brass/timpani hymn, watching the community process in .... I have no words to describe the feeling. Rightness, perhaps? Watching Kris wash the feet of our sisters, hearing her give us the mandatum to go and do likewise .... after all, she truly is our community's leader and teacher, and yet she serves us. Even walking towards the dining room for the Agapé meal, realizing how stupid the "Who should I sit with" thought was, that it didn't really matter where I sat — they're all my sisters.

It's interesting, too, my non-existent need for involvement. I played bass Thursday night, and that's all I've done for liturgy. (Well, that and I get to clack the clapper for Evening Prayer tonight, but that doesn't really count. And I've done dishes and will move plants, but those aren't really liturgical. Nothing like reading or carrying things or lighting things or stuff like that.) But it hasn't really been a huge deal. In fact, I've only really thought about it in the context that it wasn't bugging me. I didn't even worry about if I should be a temporary part of schola (the small group "choir" of sisters) or not. I've just been a general member of the community congregation, just taking it all in. Which for me is a big thing — not being annoyed at why so-and-so gets to read again or is the litugist mad at me and so that's why I wasn't asked or .... So it's a kinda cool state to be in. Just content with where I am.

I'm also not all hard-core high-pressure about what I'm going to do during these days, how exactly I'm going to best connect with and focus on God. Last year was pretty chill, too, and I did some cool art stuff around the significance of each day. I brought that stuff with me again this year, but haven't really done anything with it ... but that's OK. Haven't really done any major journalling .... but that's OK. My time in the chapel (hiding out in a corner of the balcony -- I love little hiding places!) during adoration Thursday night was focused on writing that letter, but I figured church was the best place for me to be gentle in my honesty. No expectations — I've just been. I haven't been as perfect with the silence as I had intended, but I'm not beating myself up over it; plus, while I have perhaps engaged in a teeny bit of conversation, it hasn't really pulled me out of the deeper sense of silence. (Besides, I had to offer a congratulatory hug, right?)

I've spent some time outside enjoying sunshine — wandering the grounds, sitting on the dock, hanging out on the colonnade. I've wandered methodically through the cemetery for the first time ever, reading the names of each of our sisters .... feeling bad as I catch myself making fun of some names, figuring out which sisters I've heard stories about, recalling some memories as I reach the sisters that I knew, surprising myself with the tears as I came upon the three from this past fall.

And maybe part of it has to do with that "rough patch" around Christmas ... somehow I weathered through my aggravations and frustrations, and maybe now I'm just a little more solid about being here, in this monastery, with this group of people?

Who knows?

But really .... does it even matter?

While I've had some struggles this past year .... while I'm sure there are still many more struggles yet to come .... right here, right now, I am content.

Right here, right now ..... I am where I belong.

1 Comments:

Blogger Natty said...

Steph: That is so awesome. I love the peace that this post exudes. I rejoice for you and your ability to "just be." So important and so blessed when it happens. Also the sense of belonging and just being one with the community expresses that sense of "rightness" that I want to know deep in my bones someday too. Welcome home, again and again, welcome home.

CONGRATS on the job for your friend!!!!

4/15/2006 7:50 PM  

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