.- "We are living the holy days that invite us to meditate on the central events of our Redemption, the essential nucleus of our faith," said Pope Benedict at Wednesday's General Audience. The Pontiff then reviewed the upcoming rites of the Church and spoke of the significance of the Paschal Triduum as the "fulcrum of the entire liturgical year."
During the Paschal Triduum, a time which the Fathers of the Church also observed as a "new beginning," we are called to silence and prayer to contemplate the mystery of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord, recalled the Holy Father.
We should live these days "intensely," he exhorted, so that they serve to "decisively orient the lives of each of us to the generous and convinced adhesion to Christ, (who) died and arose for us."
The Pope went on to explain the different rites that will mark the rest of the week: first calling to mind Thursday's Chrism Mass in which priests and their bishops come together to bless the oils and renew their vows. This act takes on a "special" importance this year, he pointed out, as it falls within the Year for Priests.
Thursday evening we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist, he continued, when Christ "made himself truly present with his donated body and spilled blood which (is) the sacrifice of the New Covenant" and it also marks the constitution of Holy Orders.
On Friday, we remember the passion and death of the Lord, said the Holy Father, highlighting the wish of Christ to offer his life for the remission of the sins of humanity, "choosing ... the most cruel and humiliating death: crucifixion."
Jesus is "the key" to understanding the Last Supper, taught the Pope, which is the "anticipation of the transformation of violent death in a voluntary sacrifice, into an act of love that redeems and saves the world."
Then, there is the silence of Holy Saturday, which invites us to prayer, reflection and conversion to prepare us for the Easter celebration, continued the Pope, arriving "intimately renewed" to the song of "Alleluia that night." In singing we "announce the resurrection of Christ and proclaim the victory of light over darkness, of life over death," he explained.
Benedict XVI closed by inviting everyone to "live intensely this Holy Triduum" and extended his "cordial greetings" for a Holy Easter to all.