As religious especially dedicated to Our Lord’s Eucharistic Presence, Holy Thursday takes on even more meaning. It may seem odd to celebrate just as the Triduum is about to begin, but in our order this day is one of special celebration and solemnity. What took place in the Upper Room over 2,000 years ago is central to our vocations. Where would we be were it not for our Lord’s words “This is my body.” The Heart of the Church is the Eucharist, precisely because it is Christ’s Heart, alive and beating in our midst, feeding us daily.
It has been our community’s custom on this day to ask one another’s forgiveness for any hurts or offenses we may have committed, whether willingly or unwillingly. Forgiveness is what Christ’s Passion gained for us, it is only right that we should begin the Sacred Triduum by ourselves asking forgiveness. So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Mt 5:23-24)
Our midday meal is better described as a feast. The joyful celebration of the day stands in stark contrast to the solemn silence which descends on the monastery after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. We are reminded that the joys of the day exist only in relation to, and because of, the unspeakable suffering and death Our Lord willingly endured for our sake. Indeed, our vocation, because it is intimately tied to His Eucharistic Presence, could not be without his Passion.