11 April 2007

Easter. Time of joy!

We have been enjoying the most important time of Easter together as a family and a Church. The Easter Triduum is full of history, symbolism, worship and memories. Lent comes to a close with the three day combination of Holy Thursday (Last Supper and Agony in the Garden), Good Friday and the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday evening.
Once more the local monastery hosted the Passion Play. This Passion Play has been performed now for the last 17 years and Passion Plays have been performed since early days of the Church, almost 2,000 years ago.
As human beings we are physical and spiritual beings. Passion Plays are a very good way of teaching the faith via all of our senses.
This time Lana and the two little girls stayed at home as Lana is now finding it too uncomfortable to walk long distances. (We have only between one and three weeks to go!)
In this photo you can see Ariel and her other girl friends all dressed for their roles as "Weeping Women" or women that gathered around the outside fire during the trial. Ariel played the part of Veronica and the boys and I did an important job as spectators and "the crowd".
The day began with a very heavy and constant drizzle. We figured there would only be a couple of hundred brave souls, but there ended up being over 2,000 visitors. The rain stopped just before the scheduled start time of 11:00am and held off until after it was completed at around 1:00pm.The actors in the play were drawn from the Monastery's regular supporters include many Polish pilgrims and lots of our homeschooling friends.
We all follow Jesus and the other actors from scene to scene, starting with Palm Sunday, Judas accepting his 30 pieces of silver, the Last Supper, Agony in the Garden, betrayal by a kiss of Judas, Trial before the Sanhedrin, Trial before Pontius Pilate, Scourging at the Pillar, Crowning with thorns, Carrying of the Cross including Jesus' falls and his meeting with Veronica, Mary and the wailing women, and the Crucifixion and burial.
Just before Ariel's scene she approached me very concerned about her forthcoming public scene. I told her to "just do it" and she did very well. The crowd of onlookers all jostle for position and each scene happens whether the onlookers are ready or not. Luckily I ended up in a great position to catch Ariel (Veronica) wipe Jesus' face with her cloth. She spoke very clearly so all could hear and in a moment Jesus had moved on towards the Crucifixion. Ariel didn't have time to think about the scene as she next had to move on and follow the Cross to be there at the end.
This type of thing really helps the children (and adults) understand the full story of what happened at that time. Too often we read about the events, or perhaps see it in a movie, but experiencing the scenes as they are replayed before our eyes, ears and all our senses is very exciting.

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