The following is a transcript of a Raised Catholic podcast episode. To listen to the episode, click here.
Today is episode 97: My Triduum
Hi friends. If you were born and raised Catholic, you know all about the Paschal Triduum: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. Recently I heard someone on a podcast refer to “the other triduum”, or Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, and I thought that was an interesting take. I love finding patterns. Well, this week I am in the midst of my own holy and kind of hard triduum which I enter into each year, so today I’ll offer you a short reflection on that and I’ll ask for your prayers for me until I’m back with a full episode next week.
On November 4, 2012, my family celebrated one last Christmas with our Mom, and she died the next day. The day that followed that was my forty-first birthday. By the way, I have a piece of writing about our November 4th Christmas as my Mom’s last day, and this is one of my favorite pieces, so I’ll link that in the show notes for you in case you want to check that one out.
But on that birthday morning, which was also the day we gathered to plan our Mom’s funeral, the Facebook birthday greetings poured in on top of the Facebook condolences, which must have been confusing to those people who were kind enough to post, but I remember that one sweet friend wrote that she hoped I would one day find some meaning between the proximity of the date of my Mom’s death and my birthday. For many months, that meaning eluded me, and yet I knew there was something to it. I love finding meaning and connections in books, movies, and nature – symbolism and metaphor are kind of my love language, and they are certainly how I make sense of life and the world around me. And all of it was just beyond my grasp until one day in a yoga class, it came to me. I had been focusing on two dates: November 5 (a day of death) and November 6 (a day of birth). I had forgotten all about Christmas, which was November 4, but that was the day that made all the difference.
In receiving this epiphany that day during a warrior pose, I almost exclaimed out loud. It finally made sense to me that there was a pattern to these events, and in fact that this very pattern had been and would repeat itself many times over in my life, or in a broad, God’s eye view, maybe just one really big time.
Christmas, Death, Birth
A ‘Christmas’ season of life is all about gifts – receiving, opening them, and giving them away. It’s a time of abundance and ease. In a Christmas time, we rejoice, we spread joy, and we feel right on the surface how very special and loved we actually are. Christmas is a feasting time and a time of celebration.
A time of ‘death’ is just the opposite. It can involve actual dying, but it need not. A season of death can feel like sacrifice, like letting go, like pain and sorrow. It can be a time in which we shed the things that we need to release but wish we did not have to. A ‘death’ season is loss and change and to be honest, it can be really, really, hard and it can last for a while. This is a time in which hope and faith are critical for just getting through, but they can be elusive. A time of death is a time of struggle.
A season of ‘birth’ always follows a time of death, and in fact, a season of birth can’t come to us any other way. This pattern is hardwired into nature. Spring follows winter, a flower emerges from a seed, and God is always creating something new from what has been lost. Always, friend. That’s how He works. A time like this is about new horizons and opportunities, new possibilities that had not yet been imagined. A ‘birth’ season is about fresh air and wide-open spaces. It’s the stuff we held on for through the hard time.
It’s possible that people will experience this pattern once a year, once a decade, or even many times in a given week. Its frequency may change as we live out our lives and notice it. And this is not about changes in mood, friend, but it is about perspective. Christmas – death – birth is a pattern I can look for and to, and in the end, it might be the only thing that matters.
My mother experienced Christmas, Death, and Re-Birth to Heaven on those three days that November, ten years ago this week. From Heaven, I know she is rooting for me to finish my race in the same amazing way she did. And as I see 11:04, 11:05, and 11:06 all the time on clocks, phones, and literally everywhere I go, I remember that there is a time for everything, like it says in Ecclesiastes, and as my Mom always said, that “this too shall pass”. Oh God, the ten years without her have passed by so fast, but sometimes so slowly, too. So much has happened in this time that I would love to talk with her about. Ah, someday. Until then, I gather in the pattern:
Receiving, Letting Go, Being Reborn.
Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday
Christmas, Death, Birth.
In these seasons of life, friend, it looks like you and I will get lots of practice.
Thanks so much for listening today. If you need me, you can find me on Instagram @kerrycampbellwrites or on my blog at mylittleepiphanies.com. Thanks so much for rating, reviewing, subscribing and most importantly, sharing this podcast with a friend. That really makes a difference in growing our community, so thanks. If you’d like to support this podcast financially, there’s a way for you to do that in the show notes, along with some resources related to today’s episode, so do check all of that out, but before we go, let’s pray together.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.
God in this holy time, my Triduum, I lift up my Mom and all of our dear ones who art in Heaven. Fill them with light and love as much as they can hold and more in Jesus’ name. I pray we would experience them and learn from them as we find their patterns sewn into the fabric of our lives. May we look with hope toward the day when we will be together again. Merry Christmas, Mom. Happy birthday. Amen.
Well, thanks for listening, friend. I’ll see you next time.
Today’s episode is a short reflection on a particularly holy three days I’m observing this week. I hope it’s a blessing to you.
If you’d like to connect with me, find me on Instagram or on my blog. If you’d like to help support this podcast financially, there’s now a way to do just that, and thank you – visit me on my page at buymeacoffee.com! Thanks as always for sharing, subscribing, rating, and reviewing, as this helps our community to grow!
Here are some resources I hope will help you to engage with this week’s topic in a deeper way for yourself:
1. Last Day – an imagined conversation between God and my Mom about how she would want to spend her Last Day from me at kerrycampbell.org
2. Basics on the Paschal Triduum, by Busted Halo
3. Quote: “This too shall pass.” – my Mom (and probably yours, too)
4. Song: Make Me An Instrument, by Craig Courtney, Beckenhorst Singers