Monks Celebrate the Sacred Triduum
The brothers here, learning of the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, shared the news with hushed amazement and sadness. We were especially moved then, the next day, to see photos published of the large golden cross still hanging aloft over the smoldering ruins of the interior of the cathedral like a sermon delivered to the world concerning the abiding mystery of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection which no damage to any building can touch or diminish. These events, no doubt, have deepened and enriched the prayers of the monks of New Melleray as we enter into the Sacred Triduum. Spending Holy Week in a Trappist monastery is an intense experience. Repeated daily immersion in the inspired scriptures shapes our minds and hearts to enter into an especially intimate communion with our Lord during the last three days of his life on earth. It is a time when our familiar ways of thinking and behaving are shaken by the sublimity of all God has revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ. With the silencing of the organ at the Mass of the Lord’s supper, the replacement of the tower bells with the stark noise of a wooden clapper, suspension of work and the descent of a hallowed silence in the corridors and in the hearts of the monks, we look forward with joyful anticipation to the end of this story which is Christ’s total triumph over sin and death. It was perhaps symbolic that, being informed by various news outlets on April 15 that Notre Dame Cathedral was “a total loss”, we discovered the next day that only the roof and spire were gone. The great stained glass windows remained, the magnificent poem in stone which is the cathedral walls and towers likewise remain. Even many of the wooden pews inside the church remain, awaiting the return of the faithful people of God who will be singing God’s praises on an Easter Sunday in the near future.