Holy Thursday

images-1 I no longer consider myself a Christian, yet still remember the poignancy of Holy Thursday.  Of the three, high holy days, it was always my favorite, leaving its mark in its inimitable way.

It’s the eve of Good Friday, that barbaric day when Jesus Christ was brutally crucified.  If you only saw the Mel Gibson version, it was terribly, cruel, even in theory.  To hammer holes in someone’s hands leaves anyone in a state of horror.

What I remember most was when they strip the altar at the mass’s end…the priest and altar boys solemnly taking everything away leaving nothing but the nakedness of what’s about to happen.  Jesus had washed the feet of all his apostles, thanking them for being his friend.  How simple an act when you think about it.  Have you ever acknowledged someone’s friendship?  Jesus seemed to be on top of this, as he prepared them for what’s to come.

The sacrifice of a man to save humanity never rang true for me, yet participated, weeping at what they were about to do to him.

Let’s hear it for Catholicism.

Hip hip hooray.

It’s brainwashing at its best, and I truly believed Christ, while his mother watched, endured such an agonizing death, year after year.  I’d go to bed with a headache, fasting the whole next day, weeping on Jesus’s behalf.

Oh my, what troopers we both were, he and I, when you think of it.

The sorrow, when they strip the altar, is something one never forgets…watching silently, lights dimmed, filing out in mournful silence.

It’s as if one’s personal losses gather, a reunion of grief, heads bowed, your heart weighing a ton.

I’m no longer Catholic, but can appreciate all that Holy Thursday symbolizes, reminding you, no one said life on earth would be without pain.

You don’t need to be Christian, fallen or otherwise, to understand.  images

SB

 

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About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
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20 Responses to Holy Thursday

  1. skinnyuz2b says:

    Susannah, I’m a fallen Catholic that only goes to church for weddings, baptisms, and first communions. Around 15 years ago I returned for a couple of years, only to be disappointed and let down by our priest who turned out to be a spoiled, self-centered brat. He drove most everyone away until he was relocated, however I didn’t go back.
    But I agree that there are very moving aspects that go straight to the heart. And any and all religions that espouse brotherly love can’t be all bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Organized religion can be pretty disappointing alright. I know Pope Francis is a nice guy, but he’s only a front man. The Vatican is so greedy and corrupt. I’m glad I don’t adhere to it anymore. I’m free of all that guilt.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, good ole Catholicism sticks like freaking super glue.
    Pope Frank is big on Holy Thursday too. He spoke about it on his tour of the US. I just heard he will be washing the feet of refugees today.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a big deal, that feet business. At my former church they’d have to beg people to do it…I did it once regretting it immediately as I sat on the altar like a centerpiece.

      Like

      • What? You turned down a pedicure by the religion’s finest? I went to Catholic school and these were always solemn days. The nuns wanted us to feel the pain and sadness (they did it well). As for Easter, it was all about the new shiny black patent leather shoes.

        Like

      • Mary Janes. I remember. You could see your reflection in their shine. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • skinnyuz2b says:

        The nuns in Chicago told my best friend not to wear patent leather shoes around boys because they would try to look up your dress in the reflection. The same goes for standing near puddles, ha ha! And pearls let boys look down your blouse. I guess we know what those nuns had on their minds!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nuns..I actually loved them when I was a kid in their full habits. They looked like big, beautiful birds.

        Like

  3. MJ says:

    This piece brings to mind Peter O’Toole, one of my favorite actors and a splendid writer. Self-described as “a retired Christian”, he said “No one can take Jesus away from me.” .

    Like

    • I never knew he wrote. I too was a fan. He always stayed at the old Stanhope Hotel, across from the Met, so you’d see him loping by. He was one of the few actors who didn’t disappoint (nor shrink) in person. There was a bar, for years, called the Madison Pub, on Madison and 79th, he liked because of their chile, so he’d come sit in their kitchen with a big bowl and tell stories to the Jamaican short-order cook. He was so handsome…sigh

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  4. I liked your answer to skinny, kind of sums up how I feel about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The images the Catholic church etches on the minds and hearts of young children is incredible, isn’t it? I am not a practicing catholic, but, was raised one. The starkness of the church on Thursday and Friday and halfway through Easter Vigil… we went to a cathedral of sorts, huge church with a big pipe organ. On midnight as Easter was starting that organ would sound out for the first time in days and the church would come alive. The statues were uncovered and you felt the joy of the resurrection of Christ. Tradition at it’s best, but, it has stayed with me all these years. I was in my navy blue wool uniform watching with you while reading this piece. Thanks, Susannah!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have these memories as well. It was always my favorite holiday, and I feel its absence though not enough to go back. It changed for me. Between my hearing loss and all the Vatican cover-UPS, I’m flattened in celestial spirit. Has nothing to do with God. I’m sure he’s as turned off as I am.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s interesting to hear about the ceremony, since as a Protestant, we never did anything like that. Actually we don’t celebrate Holy Thursday at all, just Good Friday and Easter. Personally, I think Catholics don’t do a good job of explaining when things are supposed to be metaphors and symbols (such as Communion, but I won’t start that) and it can be pretty confusing, or upsetting, as you said.

    Liked by 1 person

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