Whether you have had successful weeks of Lenten discipline or you botched it early on, here’s an idea for a way to make the daily pilgrimage through Holy Week. Download the template below, spend some time with the Holy Week story, and meditate on a word a day. Follow the steps below or make up your own version.
1) Read the Gospel for the day (listed below). Read it slowly–silently or aloud, maybe several times. Pay attention to each word.
2) Does one of the words jump out at you or shine brighter than others? If so, write it in the circle for the day. If not just choose any word from the reading and write it in the circle.
3) Write down things you know about the word. Listen to the word. Listen to what God might be saying to you through or about the word. As you listen and write, doodle or draw around the word. Invite your hand and your eyes into the meditation. Use just a pen or add color. If you need more space for writing words, use an additional piece of paper or a sticky note.
4) When you’ve finished writing and drawing, put down your pen and markers. Close your eyes, be still, and breathe for a minute or two. Don’t initiate words, but don’t keep words from coming. Let this be a time of alert contemplative prayer.
5) If it seems appropriate write a “tweet” about the word. For me it is a helpful way to collect my thoughts or to summarize what I learned from my time with the word. Keep the word nearby in your consciousness for the rest of the day.
6) On the next day, read the assigned Gospel and repeat the process in steps 1-5.
This exercise is an express version of a lectio divina. For a more detailed version see my March 1 post.
Here is an example for Monday of Holy Week from John 12:1-11. I chose the word perfume.
Holy Week Readings
Palm Sunday: Mark 11:1-11
Holy Monday: John 12:1-11
Holy Tuesday: John 12: 20-26
Holy Wednesday: John 13: 21-32
Maundy Thursday: John 13: 1-17; 31b-35
Good Friday: John 18:1-19:42
Holy Saturday: Matthew 27: 57-66
At the end of the week look at all of the words you picked. As a way to conclude your Holy Week time, see if you can write a 3-line story including all of the words.