Three Ways To Make Holy Week Truly Holy

Three Ways To Make Holy Week Truly Holy

Holy Week is an extraordinary week in the life of the Church, and it’s meant to be an extraordinary week in our personal and spiritual lives, too. But from waving our palms on Palm Sunday, to being splashed with holy water on Easter Sunday, sometimes it’s hard to get into the rich liturgies of Holy Week. We may get restless during the longer services or find it hard just to get to church an extra time during the week. Sometimes, we may find it uncomfortable or depressing to focus on Jesus’ suffering and death. It might be easiest to simply give in to the impulse to let Holy Week slide by practically unnoticed. Even for those of us who usually cherish Holy Week, the immensity of what we’re celebrating can sometimes be overwhelming. You can imagine that, in the convent, Holy Week has its own special intensity! 

For the years when Holy Week has felt more like a challenge for me, I’ve come up with three things that I can personally do to make Holy Week one of my holiest weeks of the year: 

1. Focus on love. Holy Week is the Church’s response to this dilemma: Jesus has laid down his life to save us. How do we thank him? How do we remember his sacrifice, while we go on with our lives? 

Holy Week is all about love: God’s love in sending his only Son to save us. Words are never enough to respond to a love like this…but the Church has to try. All of the rituals and solemnity of Holy Week are the Church’s way of trying to acknowledge what happened: that Jesus died to save you and me.

Find your own way this week to say “Thank you” to Jesus for giving his life for you, for loving you so much. Maybe it will be through one of the Holy Week liturgies; or maybe it will be during a quiet moment in a garden on Good Friday. Whether you use words, silence, art, or another way, spending some time in gratitude for the great gift of our Redemption is what Holy Week is all about. 

2. Choose one moment from Jesus’ suffering, passion, and death to focus on during the week. I find that this one moment or one event enables me to realize anew that Jesus’ dying for me really happened. It also makes it easier for me not to feel overwhelmed by the sheer richness of the Church’s reflections and offerings.

Every year, I choose something different. Some years I’ve focused on Jesus giving us the Holy Eucharist. One year, I focused on Jesus’ scraped knee on the Way of the Cross. Another year I stood with Mary under the foot of the cross.

Whatever moment or mystery you choose to stay with, allow yourself to really stay with it, to share it with Jesus, to deepen it throughout the week. Whatever you are undergoing in your own life, you can bring it to prayer in light of this one moment that you’ve chosen. This moment can become your way of connecting very personally with a Mystery that will take more than a lifetime to grasp. 

3. Surrender to the power of his Love. The glory of the Cross is that Jesus’ absolute, loving surrender to the Father—where he is seemingly defeated in death—actually becomes the greatest victory for Jesus and us: Jesus rises to new life for us! As we experience the tremendous, life-giving love of God in Christ this Holy Week, we can let it change us. The power of Jesus’ love in his passion, death, and resurrection is transforming.

Honor Jesus’ great love for you by living in a spirit of greater love during Holy Week. Whether that means having more patience with a particular person, or bringing a loving attitude into a difficult situation, or reaching out in love to others in a new way, let Jesus’ saving love pass through you to others. 

Marie Paul Curley, FSP





Inspiration, Prayer and Holiness, Lent



  • I'm excited to uncover this site. I needed to thanks a lot for ones time simply for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every part of it and i also have you ever book-marked to consider new stuff on your own website.
    9/28/2016 8:40:32 PM Reply
  • Dear Sister Marie Paul, Thank you for your suggestions. This year is so different from others. I caught a sinus infection just before Holy Week began, and could not take part in any of the services that I usually do. I feel so abandoned and alone, and it's like being punished. Usually I read or give out Holy Communion during the services. And especially Good Friday, I couldn't even get to church. Anyway, thank you if you read this. May you and all of you Sisters celebrate a Holy, Blessed and Happy Easter. May God Bless all of you richly.
    4/4/2015 1:33:58 PM Reply
  • Thank you for the beautiful suggestions for meditation this week. It can be overwhelming but your idea of meditating on one mystery is so helpful. May God bless you always.
    3/31/2015 4:36:42 PM Reply
  • I used to be on one of your lists where The Daughters of St. Paul sent me weekly inspirational messages. I changed my email address so I don't get them any more and I didn't know how to contact you until I found this site. Thank you for your wise words. Happy Easter to you. Laura Mostardo
    3/29/2015 2:25:31 PM Reply
    • @Laura Mostardo: I'm so glad you found us here, and that you enjoyed my little reflection. If you'd like to sign up for our Saturday newsletter, just send an email to: daughtersofstpaulusa @ gmail.com (just take the spaces away from around the @), and we'll put you back on the list!
      3/31/2015 9:39:36 AM Reply
  • Thank you for the inspiration! Definitely something I can use this Holy Week.
    3/29/2015 11:18:27 AM Reply
    • @Joan: God bless you, Joan. You will be in my prayers during this Holy Week!
      3/31/2015 9:40:04 AM Reply
  • Dear Sister Marie, Thank you for giving us these very real moments in Jesus's life to help us fully appreciate how he loved us each individually so we may meditate on how He suffered and died crucified for me.
    3/29/2015 8:46:34 AM Reply
    • @Roger: God bless you, Roger. You will be in my prayers during this Holy Week!
      3/31/2015 9:40:37 AM Reply
  • Thank you Sister. Love is the answer and your meditation has given me new ideas of how to make love grow this Holy Week and always.
    3/29/2015 12:50:29 AM Reply
    • @Rosanne Hughes: Yes, Love is always the answer! I will pray that your Holy Week will be a week of love. God bless you!
      3/31/2015 9:41:40 AM Reply
  • Love is the Answer...always...& Sister, your poignant guidance on the salient three ways to enrich our Holy Week...truly brightens our focus to be focused on your sagacious words of wisdom & inspiration! God Bless You! Happy Easter! In His Love, hopester!
    3/28/2015 4:09:45 PM Reply
    • @hopester: Yes, Love is always the answer! Thank you for your kind words, and your openness to God's love...I will pray that your Holy Week will be a week of love. God bless you!
      3/31/2015 9:42:27 AM Reply
  • Thank you Sister Marie. What a great help this will be to many as we do focus on the get commercial ready process instead of preparing spiritually. I have found an Abby where the Triune starts on Thursday with a dinner and washing of the entire community's feet. We spend time in communal prayer morning, midday,evening with presenters offering teachings in-between, we have quite time, the veneration of the cross Friday, The Hugh cross is laid upon the altar for all to visit. then evening the cross is place on short stands for Taize and time to kneel at the cross, it is amazing what this time brings to the quiet of Saturday awaiting the celebration of the Resurrection late Saturday into Easter Sunday. Quietly we go to our rooms and awake for a Packed Sunday celebration. Truly has made my Easter a deeper meaningful faithful, uplifting experience to share and redo every year.
    3/28/2015 12:51:57 PM Reply
    • @greg snook: Greg, I'm so glad that you've found a religious community to share the Triduum with--it makes all the difference! I remember how beautiful my first Holy Week in the convent was. You will be in my prayers during this week--and please pray for me, too. God bless!
      3/31/2015 9:44:01 AM Reply
    • @greg snook: thanks for sharing Greg. Can you share where this takes place?
      3/31/2015 5:00:42 AM Reply
  • Thank you sister for the ideas you've shared. You have made things so much easier now. God bless Dorothy
    3/28/2015 10:56:06 AM Reply
    • @Dorothy: You're so welcome, Dorothy. Have a very blessed Holy Week and Easter! You will be in my prayers.
      3/31/2015 9:44:39 AM Reply
  • Thank you, sister, for tthese wonderful ideas about Holy Week. It is great to see this, because I have some books that you have touched. God bless you, ginny
    3/28/2015 9:12:27 AM Reply
    • @Ginny Hoey: You're welcome, Ginny. You will be in my prayers in a special way this Holy Week! God bless you!
      3/31/2015 9:45:08 AM Reply

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