Encountering Love on Holy Thursday

Encountering Love on Holy Thursday

Lent 2011 was a tough season for me. I don’t know if it was realizing the enormity of our Lord’s passion and death or realizing the disgust of my own sin that caused Him to suffer greatly. Not a day passed that I didn’t shed tears caused by the heaviness in my heart.

A few months before that Lent began, I started to meet with a counsellor who was teaching me about the love of God and who Jesus was to be in my life. It was surreal. You see, I was raised in a typical family where I learned how to do Catholic, not why we were Catholic.

At the second session my counsellor gave me homework. He suggested I listen to a song called “Dance with Me.” I was curious for sure, but also skeptical. How can a song teach me about God’s love?

The first time I listened to the song I was struck by the beauty of the melody and words. I played the song a second time and my heart began to stir. The third time I listened, my eyes welled up with tears. My heart was moved deeply. The Lord was singing His love song to me and I was hooked! Over the next few months I experienced a honeymoon relationship with the Lord.

Then came Ash Wednesday of that tough Lenten season. I began to think about what this season was like for me as a child. It was a time of sadness, darkness, and obscurity. I found myself in great distress trying to reconcile the turmoil of Lent with the sweetness of my new found love in Jesus Christ. I was at war with myself for 40 days.

Holy Thursday arrived and I dreaded going to Mass. I had a hard time keeping my tears in check and was concerned that my emotional state would be on display for all the world to see. When Mass began I started to experience a peacefulness within that I wasn’t expecting. It was beautiful to see the liturgy being celebrated in its fullness and richness. I was awestruck.

I remember feeling so unworthy to be receiving our Lord that night but with each step toward the altar for Holy Communion I sensed fullness arising within my heart – elation to receive my Beloved Bridegroom. I received the Eucharist, returned to my pew, and knelt in humble gratitude. I was oblivious to the world around me, surrendered to the Lord.

In my heart’s mind the Lord was ever so present to me. A symphony of music filled my imagination and the Lord drew me into Himself, carrying me into a sensual dance of love. My heart was captivated by His loving embrace and I found myself being romantically swept off my feet by this love.

That night I learned that even though we encounter seasons of darkness with the Lord, in the end we will each rise up in newness of life because of His profound and passionate love for us.


*This article was first published in a 50 Day Easter Devotional, Arise, on April 12, 2019.

About Monique Van Berkel

Monique Van Berkel

She has a passion to spread a message of authentic love and life in relationships. She is an Accredited Theology of the Body Speaker through the TOB Institute. Through sharing of her own life experience and knowledge gained through her studies Monique leads people into a deeper appreciation of their humanity and sexuality.

Monique is the Founder and President of Catholic Woman CEO, a lay apostolate committed to helping women reclaim the truth of their feminine nature as God created them to be. She is available as a speaker for your event or organization. Find out more about her speaking topics here.