We slowed our pace way down last week. The focus (I hope) was where it should be: on the symbolically rich and liturgically beautiful Triduum.
It still got crazy, (at times), as you will see. To the glory of God and to our amusement, (most times), we survived.
Here’s my list of the best of the best or, at the very least, the most notorious:
- I changed my blog header because, having had 40 days of purple, I was ready for a change. Well, what do you think of my weed-among-weeds, trying-hard-to-be- outstanding-in-my-field theme? The photograph was taken by an amazing St. Paul photographer who just happens to be our neighbor and the father of my boys’ best friend. Thank you, Wayne!
- I was very touched to receive an e-mail from a sweetie of a friend telling me that she had offered up her Good Friday stomach grumbles for a special intention I’d shared with her. Karen has a way of being kind and cute and profoundly faithful, all at the same time. I was so grateful to have her prayers that day.
- The Holy Thursday procession at our church had thirty-three altar servers. Thirty-three! If you can imagine how lovely that was to see, please do so.
- I told you that the Good Friday liturgy we attended was beautiful but I didn’t tell you why. After reading Matilda’s post about the girls in leotards at their church’s Good Friday liturgy (ye gads), I feel compelled to share. At the veneration of the cross, several men processed up the nave bearing the symbols of the crucifixion: a whip, a crown of thorns, a wooden hammer and several spikes, the soldier’s lance. And then our priests—three of them in all—bore a heavy wooden cross to the altar. At that point, the tears started flowing. One of the priests is in his 90’s, I believe. What a witness to his vocation.
- Mass on Easter Sunday was beautiful and only mildly distracting. We had a good seat on account of needing to be there an hour early for choir practice, and being close to the altar makes a big difference in keeping the little ones (and Mommy) focused. I always wonder, on these great feast days, if perhaps my heart might be touched in some special way. I know for a fact that God likes to surprise us. He is, after all, the Author of giraffes and kangaroos! (Two creatures that never cease to amuse me.) My consolation on Sunday came after communion, when I raised my eyes to see the priest purifying the chalice. I was struck by two thoughts in particular: one, how tender and careful was this servant going about his task in persona Christi, and two, how I hoped my sons would follow suit! More tears for the momma at that point.
- I held a beautiful newborn baby after Mass on Easter Sunday. This was, for me, a great joy and a great sorrow.
- Time to move on to lighter blog fodder with the recounting of “The Great Egg-Dying Debacle.” We did our Easter egg dying on Good Friday this year, which was a good decision on my part because it provided me plenty of penance. Suffice it to say that I let the kids “have at it.” They did their thing at the kitchen table while I stood at the counter and painstakingly blew the yolks out of a half a dozen eggs to make an Easter Egg Tree. This led, of course, to several spills and the dying of one’s pants & t-shirts in addition to one’s eggs. Camille evidently thought that the dye tablets were children’s vitamins and was on her second one when I caught her. (Thank heavens that Paas stuff is non-toxic.) By the end of the hour I was spent. I went to lie down on the couch while the kids cleaned up (a term used loosely). At that point Avila asked if she could have a hard-boiled egg and, neither wanting to discourage her independence nor move my carcass off the couch, I told her to go ahead and peel herself one. With half an ear I listened to her attempts to do so at the sink—I really was quite out of it—until finally I heard her complain loudly, “But Mommy, all these eggs are empty!” That’s right. She had been peeling Momma’s eggs.
- “My new favorite story (a.k.a. the utter deliciousness of the wine served at our Seder)” Given that we only had a half an hour for our Holy Thursday seder meal, I needed to delegate some of the preparatory tasks. John Michael was asked to run downstairs for a bottle of red wine, at which point we began the meal. “Mmm,” I commented when the bowl of wine was passed my way, “That’s really good wine!” Auntie Colleen and the kids (who were dunking their pita bread into the bowl with great gusto) concurred. When John got home from work later that evening, he said, “Oh. That’s a $50.00 bottle of wine you served.” I hung my head embarrassedly and he continued, “And it’s been down in the basement for ten years.” Well, at the very least I have good taste.
- “Camille & the Cayenne” There were many ways in which my 2-year-old assisted me in my personal sanctification throughout Holy Week. Typically this involved the testing of Mom’s patience to the 100th power! It’s true that our crosses are individually hewn, and many many times throughout Holy Week, as I was being shrieked at while changing a diaper or as I was hauling her down off the table top yet again, I thought, “Yes, Lord, she’s your Will for me.” Which is not to say that I was perfect in accepting His crosses. Especially when we were already running late for our Easter get-together and Camille decided that the deviled eggs I was feverishly assembling needed more than a pinch of hot pepper. No, in her opinion only a tablespoon would do.
- Finally, Diane wanted to know if I made it through Holy Saturday without caving. (I had talked about fudging on one’s Lenten resolutions on Holy Saturday.) Well, yes and no. I left the comment box closed. I left the cream out of my coffee. But by four p.m. on Holy Saturday it was Easter, because that was the best time for the rest of our family to get together. The logistics were tricky this year because Auntie Colleen had to catch her flight back to London at 11:00 a.m. on Easter Sunday. And so even though the bells had not rung and Holy Mother Church had not yet resounded with her beautiful Alleluia, we were celebrating.
I pray that the bride Groom was among us. I think, all things considered, that He was.