Romano Guardini, one of the most influential 20th century theologians, thoroughly researched the development of Sunday celebrations in early Christian communities. Some people looked at the amount of energy he put into this seemingly narrow topic, and asked what practical impact would the knowledge he gained have on the day-to-day lives of ordinary Christians. To that, Guardini responded: “The longer I worked, the less I was concerned about the immediate effect. Right from the start, at first instinctively, but then more and more consciously, I wanted to make the truth shine. Truth is a power, but only if you do not demand an immediate effect from it.”
Today the Church worldwide is entering the Easter Triduum, which is the three days that changed the course of human history forever. It is a very ancient celebration, full of symbols, rituals, and images. All that we say and do in the liturgy these days reflects the truth of how God’s loving heart, begging for our hearts, did not hesitate to enter the fullness of human experience. He did this in the humble, obedient way he walked into the most disturbing element of our lives, into death itself, in order to destroy its power over us. We Christians believe that this is no longer a myth, a vague longing of the human mind for redemption which has permeated the history of human religion, but we stubbornly hold this to be a fact. The truth. It really happened.
These three days are an invitation for us to plunge into this truth, and to celebrate its depth, breadth, and length. Don’t confuse this with Sunday school. Liturgies are not primarily to teach us about the truth; rather, they bring us into a place where the truth shines. Bathe in its light! And remember, don’t necessarily demand an immediate effect from it – just trust the current of the liturgy, this timeless spring of water flowing from the heavenly temple, and let it transform you the way Christ the Truth himself desires.
P.S. If you would like to learn more about the meaning of the Triduum, read here a reflection by Pope Emeritus Benedict.