• September 10, 2021

Maundy Thursday 2020 – Visiting 7 Holy Places in Your own Home


This video describes a kind of journey within your own home for Maundy Thursday 2020.  This tradition is a sort of pilgrimage to various churches correspond to each of the seven places, or “stations,” that were made by Jesus between the Last Supper in the Upper Room to His crucifixion on the cross.  It is inspired by the practice of various Christians in Malta (and other countries) who visit 7 different churches or holy places the day before Good Friday. This journey through the habitual streets enables participants to perceive the sacredness of all life. May this journey through the different rooms of your home help us to uncover the hidden treasures we carry.

We find it difficult to just “stay at home”. Journeys and homes are so intimately linked to our being human. Both. We are not made to be stagnant. Our ancestors had to move around to get their food. Then they started farming and built houses. We cherish both: we love travelling and long to “feel at home”. In the major religions we find the theme of pilgrimages and temples. “Every devout Muslim hopes to make the haj to Mecca, Jews go the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, and Hindus go to Varanasi to bathe in the Ganges”. People journey to sacred places and return to their homes with renewed insights and assurance that their day-to-day life has a destination, purpose, value. Our life is holy.

“Sometimes I need
only to stand
wherever I am
to be blessed.”

― Mary Oliver

“ To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”
― Mary Oliver

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

― Mary Oliver

1. At the entrance – the door

The place of welcoming, where we wait for those we love, where others wait for us. At the entrance, at the door, we open ourselves for surprises. Someone who could knock without being expected.

Once Jesus was in a house. So many people felt welcomed and joined in. A group carrying a crippled friend could not find their way through that door. The only way was through the ceiling! He was addressed with kind words. What it must have meant for him to go out of that door recognised, loved, healed.

We pray that the quality of our welcoming in this house restores the spirit of all of us and those who come here.

“Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields…Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.”
― Mary Oliver

2. In the kitchen

Where we prepare food. In the kitchen, we take up the bread, vegetables, ingredients prepared by others; we appreciate the hard work of the farmer, the harvester, the baker … we complete each other, we never  work alone. And when we have some time on our hands we also make our own bread.

While in the kitchen, Jesus ponders how a very small amount of leaven makes the dough rise in such a surprising way. It resonates with his outlook on life. His trust that small gestures pregnant with love, justice and truth make all the difference. That true power lies not in empty shows but in the hidden actions in families, hospitals, supermarkets …

As we cook, talk, do the homework, may we grow in trust and be nourished by what is true, beautiful, good.

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”
― Mary Oliver

3. In the bathroom

The place where we become aware of our body in a special way … our fragility, vulnerability, greatness. Through the slow process of evolution as human beings, we came to stand on our feet, allowing our face to shine, communicate, and transmit love. That is the face you see in the mirror, that you prepare to meet the face of the other: faces calling for respect and love.

Before Jesus gave up his life for the world, he bowed down to wash the feet of his disciples. One who washes the feet of another will never harm that person. Loved in such a way, the friends of Jesus could become leaders of service not of manipulation, control, dominance.

We pray that in this bathroom we remember how we were loved and washed with dignity when we were born. May we dedicate each day to be of service for at least one person and show special care where we encouter someone in pain.

“Love yourself. Then forget it.
Then, love the world.”
― Mary Oliver

4. In the bedroom

The place of intimacy with ourselves, intimacy with our loved ones;

where we experience loneliness even in the presence of loved ones;

where we stay with our personal thoughts and dreams, projects and hopes, hurts and disappointments;

where we experience a delicate kiss, the reassuring hand, comfort of a familiar voice,

mother, father, spouse, brother, sister, guardian, friend.

The only scene where we find Jesus sleeping is during a fierce storm. He is sleeping in the part of the boat that sinks first. Woken up by his friends, he calmed the storm while asking “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?

We pray that during the storms of life, the darkness of the night, we remember that “you will not leave us at the mercy of the storm. Tell us again ‘Do not be afraid’”. In loneliness we trust in your love. Wake us each day with renewed strength and joy of life. Revive our silent hope.

“Tell me,
what is it you plan to do
with your one
wild and precious life?”

― Mary Oliver


5. In the living room

The place of everyone. The place where we eat, chat, relax in different ways.

The place of truth.

Sometimes it’s loud: bubbling with life, sounds of games, chats, tik tok fun.

Sometimes it’s silent: there’s pain, hurt, fear, anxiety, helplessness.

When one of his friends had already planned to betray him (Judas), Jesus organises a meal, breaks the bread and shares it, loves them generously. He surprises the betrayal with faithful love.

In our living room, let us be grateful for the grace of the present time. At the end of our journey, we could be surprised to discover that our life was woven by shared moments. We pray for healing of hurts, freedom from violence, joy in our sense of belonging.

“You can have the other words – chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity.

I’ll take grace.

I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it. ”
― Mary Oliver

6. In the garage/study

The place where we study and work; where we look at the world with a creative mind-set; where we risk making mistakes and contribute for our own good, that of our family and society at large.

During his time in his father’s workshop (carpenter) Jesus learnt how to appreciate the heart of each kind of work and profession. As a good storyteller, he opens our eyes to perceive

the sense of trust in the farmer who treasures the seed in the ground,

the courage to risk in the business person who sells everything when he found a unique pearl;

the wisdom of the teacher who passes on the best insights (both past and the present).

May this place restore confidence and joy in what we do. Each one has a special , unique gift to share with the world.  What is it?

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”
― Mary Oliver

 “The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”
― Mary Oliver

7. In the garden, balcony, at the window

The place of wonder, where we recognise we are part of creation; where we make space for plants, birds, cats and dogs, where we recognize that they are making space for us. The place where we are continually surprised by the fact that space grows when it is shared, how the whole becomes ours when we do not try to possess everything.

Contemplating creation leads Jesus to be amazed at the beauty of lilies, the promise hidden in the smallness of a mustard seed, the freedom in the wind and all those who are open to the Spirit of life rather than the rigidity of prejudice.

When we stand in the balcony, in the garden, at the window, may we breathe and embrace, feel life that has been given generously. May we be reconciled with nature, commit ourselves to care for our common home, rejoice in the newness of each day.

“Listen–are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”
― Mary Oliver

“I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.”

― Mary Oliver

This video was worked in collaboration with San Andrea School Chapliancy Team, Malta.

Read more:
– Corona Virus Poem: Doing Things Differently
– Top Pope Francis Easter Quotes

Fr Jimmy Bonnici

Rev. Dr Jimmy Bonnici is a diocesan priest from Malta. He holds a Doctorate in Spiritual Theology. He is very much interested in the interplay between spirituality and the human experience.

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  • I must congratulate everyone who worked on such reflections that they inspire me so much thanks for such sharing

  • This is lovely – thank you

  • This set of reflections is absolutely wonderful.
    Thank you so much.
    I love Mary Oliver’s poetry as well.
    I was reminded of a woman I knew many years ago who longed to go on a pilgrimage in her latter years. She was about to fulfil her dream one Easter and her husband fell ill and the parish excursion went without her. So she prayed the Via Dolorosa on her own stairs in her little house on her knees. I have never forgotten it.

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