Photo by Kathryn Fox ('19)

Joining several of her fellow alumni who have offered poignant and encouraging reflections to aid the faithful at a time when most lack the consolation of the Sacraments is Maria Gilicinski (’19). A teacher at Great Hearts Archway Veritas in Phoenix, Miss Gilicinski recently wrote about the hope that still thrives even amidst spiritual hardship, drawing on a highly relevant scene from the subject of her senior thesis, Brideshead Revisited:

It’s Holy Week, and in between the many Zoom calls with my fifth graders and all the hectic preparation for their school learning packets, I’ve been musing more and more upon the celebrations of the Paschal Triduum that will happen later this week. And I’m reminded of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. (When am I not, though?) In the story, Cordelia mourns the departure of the Blessed Sacrament from the small chapel at Brideshead after the death of her mother, the matriarch of the manor. The chapel’s holy water founts are drained, the dancing red flame of the tabernacle lamp is quenched, and suddenly the world seems far lonelier and bleaker. Cordelia sadly remembers the prophet Jeremiah’s lamentations over the destruction of the once-beautiful city of Jerusalem; “Quomodo sedet sola civitas,” or, “How lonely sits the city that was once full of people.”

Maria Gilicinski
Maria Gilicinski ('19)

Cordelia’s sorrow over this seeming separation from Our Lord is, I think, echoed now in the hearts of many believers this year, when many churches have barred their doors to their flocks, and the Sacred Paschal Triduum will be celebrated for us only through livestream. The city that once was so joyous, so full of the exultant faithful, seems indeed to be so lonely now.

But take heart. The “small red flame” still burns cheerfully before the many tabernacles of Our Lord, and though we may not be able to adore Him there now as we would wish, He still loves us, and He desires to show us that His great love transcends both time and place. His goodness comes to us just where we are now. “What shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35) The same God who through His death conquered the terrors of the grave, and through His resurrection brought all believers to the promise of new life in Him, wishes to pour His love upon you during this last part of these Lenten times and into Eastertide. Though we may be away from each other, and in body even far from our Eucharistic Lord, let’s remember that we can never stray too far “in heart” from the abiding Divine Presence of Christ, which has revealed the saving power of God to all men at all times. God is good. He is with you. This Sacred Paschal Triduum, let yourself be comforted by the glory of His love.

“Sing unto the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things.”  (Psalms 98:1)

Take heart, indeed. A blessed Triduum to all!