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Holy Week Blessing ~ A Love Note from Your Online Abbess

Holy Week Blessing*

Godde of Paradox,
you call us to sit these coming days
in the heart of betrayal, abandonment, 
mockery, violence, 
to not avert our eyes 
but see ourselves in the story. 
Travel with us into 
the border spaces of unknowing
holding death and life, 
the liminal realm of in-between.
As we feel the suffering and loss of Jesus,
let us not rush to resurrection just yet,
but linger a while in mystery. 
In this temple of grief, 
strip us of our attachments, 
the identities we cling to, 
the securities we believe in,
disorient us 
so we might walk in a new direction,
lift the veils 
that dull our senses from the world’s sorrow,
give us courage 
to ask questions rather than seek answers, 
let loss carve a space within us to let love pour in
into this chalice of the heart.
Bring us into communion 
with all those who suffer
from poverty, hunger, war, abuse,
climate crisis, pollution, clearcutting, 
the whole of creation groaning
together in labor, 
birthing a new possibility,
one only dimly seen
in quiet moments, 
a glimmer in the eyes
a song in the throat. 

Dearest monks and artists,

Holy Week invites us into a world full of betrayal, abandonment, violence, and ultimately death. The Triduum, those three sacred days which constitute one unfolding liturgy, call us to experience communion, loss, and the border spaces of unknowing. Holy Saturday is an invitation to make a conscious passage through the liminal realm of in-between.

I love the wide space of Holy Saturday that lingers between the suffering and death of Jesus on Friday and the vigil Saturday night proclaiming the return of the Easter fire. For me, Holy Saturday evokes much about the human condition—the ways we are called to let go of things or people, identities or securities and then wonder what will rise up out of the ashes of our lives. The suffering that we experience because of pain or grief or great sorrow and we don’t know if we will ever grasp joy again. Much of our lives rest in that space between loss and hope. Our lives are full of Holy Saturday experiences.

In their book The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem, Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan write:

“Easter completes the archetypal pattern at the center of the Christian life: death and resurrection, crucifixion and vindication. Both parts of this pattern are essential: death and resurrection, crucifixion and vindication. When one is emphasized over the other distortion is the result. The two must be affirmed equally.”

Before we rush to resurrection we must dwell fully in the space of unknowing, of holding death and life in tension with each other, to experience that liminal place so that we become familiar with its landscape and one day might accompany others who find themselves there and similarly disoriented. The wisdom of the Triduum is that we must be fully present to both the starkness of Friday and to the Saturday space between, before we can really experience the resurrection. 

We must know the terrible experience of loss wrought again and again in our world so that when the promise of new life dawns we can let it enter into us fully in the space carved by loss. As the great poet of Hafiz reminds us, we must let our loneliness “cut more deep” and “season” us, so that we are reminded of our absolute dependence on the Source of all.

We often try to domesticate God and to make spirituality about happiness or feeling good. We try and tie things up in neat packages. The spiritual journey is about none of these. It demands something of us and calls us to stand in uncomfortable places while the deserts of our lives strip away ego and power and identity. It calls us to embrace the God of wild borderlands.

Threshold space opens us up to life that is vital, intense, and filled with unknowns. Borders and edges are the places of transformation, transformation that makes demands of us. Jesus’ journey in the desert was a willingness to dwell in the border space of that landscape and the walk toward Holy Week often fills me with more questions than answers.

Much of our lives are spent in Holy Saturday places but we spend so much energy resisting, longing for resolution and closure. Our practice this day is to really enter into the liminal zone, to be present to it with every cell of our being.

Make some time this week, and especially on Holy Saturday to sit with all of the paradoxes of life.

Bring yourself as fully present as you can to the discomfort of the experience. 

Rest in the space of waiting and unknowing and resist trying to come up with neat answers or resolutions. 

Imagine yourself on a wild border or standing on a threshold, knowing that you cannot fully embrace what is on the other side until you have let this place shape and form your heart. 

When you notice your attention drifting or your mind starting to analyze, return to your breath and the present moment. Allow yourself to feel whatever arises in this space. 

Honor the mystery.

With great and growing love,


Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

*Holy Week Blessing is by Christine Valters Paintner and from a forthcoming book of blessings (due to be published in spring 2026). 

Image from the bog in Connemara, Ireland © Christine Valters Paintner

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