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KellyGram – Holy Week

 

 

Last Sunday—Palm Sunday—marked the beginning of both the most solemn and most joyful week for followers of Christianity: Holy Week. As a believer, this is my favorite time of year; it is the time during which we observe the steps of Jesus Christ in the days leading up to his resurrection. The final days of Holy Week are the most intense, beginning with the washing of the feet on Maundy Thursday. From there, we go from the agony of the Crucifixion and the ultimate sacrifice on Good Friday to the Vigil of Easter on Holy Saturday. And on Resurrection (Easter) Sunday, we celebrate and rejoice in the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who, through his sacrifice, gave us salvation and eternal life.

In my lifetime, I’ve participated in the ceremonious Holy Week many times, and am grateful to be experiencing it yet again this year. Over the past few days, I have spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on the sermon delivered by the Reverend Susan L. Prinz on Palm Sunday. In sum, her message was this: universally speaking, our own self-contempt is the single greatest hindrance to our personal and spiritual development. In a time where perfectionism is a societal expectation, however impractical, we have become our own worst critics, berating ourselves for every failure or shortcoming. Many of us believe that this approach is productive and that it forces us to work towards becoming better. In reality, though, this negative inner dialogue is destructive and crippling. Until we can set those messages aside and be kinder and gentler toward ourselves, we will be an insurmountable obstacle on the path of personal growth.

Specific to the context of the Holy Week and Easter, Reverend Prinz reminded the congregation that the very foundation of Christianity is the principle that God’s love for us is so profound that he sent his only son to die for our sins, bestowing upon us salvation and eternal life. In His eyes, we are precious in spite of our past, present, and even future transgressions. And in order to grow into the best versions of ourselves, we must accept and rely on that love—but we cannot accept His love until we can love ourselves.

Regardless of one’s religious or spiritual belief, Reverend Prinz’s message rings true: we must be kind to ourselves and learn to accept our imperfections. We cannot grow as individuals until we can find peace in who we are, whether it’s through the acceptance of God’s love, through other religious practices, or through meditative, philosophic, or therapeutic exercises. This weekend, I encourage you all to take a moment to consider what behaviors might be obstructing your own path toward becoming your best self, then create a plan to clear your way.

Happy Easter, and God Bless! 

 

Mike Kelly

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