Sunday, April 4, 2010

The kind of joy that can't be contained

Happy Easter! As I've mentioned before, Holy Week is one of my fave times of the year to go to Church. There's just so much richness in the ritual and liturgies.

Participation is not, however, quite as rich or meditative or spiritual with a toddler in tow. For me. Or for anyone else who happens to be in attendance.

Holy Thursday's Mass begins at 7:30 p.m. Too close to bedtime. Also, not morning (which is really the only time she has much chance of behaving at Mass). Our Good Friday service begins at 3:00 p.m. Also afternoon, and a little too close to the end of nap. And also, LONG SERVICE.

Don't even get me started on Easter Vigil! Why on earth did I think THAT was a good idea?

She still takes a good picture at 9:30 p.m.
But don't expect her to fall asleep on the way home
just because it's a couple of hours past bedtime.
Or for two hours after THAT. Geez.

And yet, we attended all three. So, "A" for effort, but "C-" for actual experience.

I showed up every time armed with crayons and stickers and a big activity book. These worked fairly well in terms of keeping her occupied enough to stay in the pew. She was NOT quiet, though. She decided that whispering was beneath her and insisted on narrating everything she was doing or thinking for part of one of those services (I can't remember which, just like I can't remember anything that actually happened in the liturgies either).

Certain parts of each liturgy fascinated her. The washing of the feet. The incense. The candles. We had a few scary near-encounters with flame during the vigil service (and again, WHY DID I THINK THAT WAS A GOOD IDEA?). I let her hold her own candle. WHY?

But she had her moments. My favorite was her obsession with the "holy smoke". At the vigil, we were standing outside for the blessing of the Easter candle and Olivia saw Daddy (who was MC for the triduum) holding the incense and broke the reverent silence by practically shouting, "Holy Smoke! Daddy has the holy smoke!" She got a few chuckles for that one.

What struck me, though, was at the Good Friday service when everyone was supposed to be all solemn and reflecting and Olivia kept bouncing around and saying things like, "Look at Jesus! Can I kiss him?" Or waving at the (silent) procession and saying, "Hi Father! Hi Daddy!" It occurred to me that she's so full of life and joy and (at two years old) can't possibly understand the meaning and significance of Good Friday. All she really understands is the joy of Easter. And that's the joy she was expressing throughout all of the triduum.

Someday she'll get it. She'll understand the story and be able to sit and reflect on its profound significance. But for now, I am satisfied in knowing that she loves Jesus and knows that He loves her, and she's joyful about that. And she's relatively content to be in Church and participating with us every week.

But I think we might skip some of the triduum services next year. No matter how packed, it would have been easier for all of us if we would have just gone to the Easter Sunday Mass at our regularly scheduled time. It's all about the schedule. Why can't I remember that?

1 comment:

Lizzie said...

I didn't make it to any of the evening Triduum Masses this year. Lu has been difficult around bedtime, and well, I figure God led me to this vocation, He understands, right? Also, Olivia is just the cutest. I think children are meant to remind us of the joy and thanksgiving to bring to God! Good Friday or any other day.