I don't know about you, but as we approach the end of Lent, it never seems like it's long enough. But then, by the time we're nearing the last leg of the Triduum, I can't wait for the joy of the Resurrection. This Lent, I was determined not to miss a single day of Mass. This did not come easily, especially in the final days. Palm Sunday and then Monday and Tuesday, I got deathly ill at Mass. It was only by the grace of God and the saints that I called on that I made it through. Tuesday was especially dreadful. Except for the headache on Sunday, the other episodes came on without warning. Tuesday evening, I nearly crawled home from church. I think the devil finally gave up on me after that because by Wednesday, I was fine.
At the Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday, our priest washed the feet of 12 men, six on each side of the altar. At the conclusion of mandatum, he gathered them, six on either side, and together they bowed to the Blessed Sacrament. At the consecration, Father said the words in Latin, and then as he has done every previous Holy Thursday, the faithful were invited to kneel at the altar rail for Holy Communion.
We were blessed to have an outstanding cantor at both that Mass and again at the Easter Vigil. When he sang the responsorial, "Our blessing cup is a communion with the Blood of the Lord", I nearly started to cry, it was so beautiful. Same for the way he sang "Pange Lingua" as the priest processed with the ciborium to the altar of repose. Thankfully, people left in silence Thursday evening. We stayed for compline, and then headed to a few other churches for adoration.
Early Friday, we had morning prayer in front of the altar of repose, followed by Stations of the Cross at Noon and then the reading of the Passion, Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion at 3pm. Unfortunately, the good behavior from the previous evening did not carry over into Good Friday. At the conclusion of services, one particularly gregarious parishioner was really yukking it up in the back of the church. Call me rude, but you will never call me irreverent. I put my finger over my lip and slipped out the door in silence. Would people leave a funeral that way? Never mind, don't answer that question.
Saturday morning we again had prayer and readings from the daily office, and it was with great joy that I entered the darkened church that evening for the Great Vigil. My joy did not last long as the time I had hoped to spend in quiet prayer was disrupted by the usual suspects who are completely devoid of self-control. Apparently, the darkness is an invitation for them to talk even more. I threw my hands up in defeat. It didn't matter. The Mass was beautiful. I was happy to see that Father had the assistance of three of the servers from the Latin Mass crew. I was also very happy that some of the regulars at the TLM joined us for the entire Triduum. By and large, they do not attend Mass in the Ordinary Form at our parish but I'm hoping they will now do so more often. I'm also hoping they exert an influence on the well-meaning but talkative regulars.
They made Holy Communion more interesting, that's for sure. Most of them opted to drop to their knees and receive the Lord kneeling. I would like to have joined them, but with my back issues, I would have created an awkward and undignified scene trying to get up from the floor. I really wish Father would arrange some accommodation at the Ordinary Form for those who wish to kneel.
My son served his first Holy Thursday Mass and then his first Easter Vigil at a nearby parish. My husband went with him, which is just as well. My son was somewhat horrified that there were guitars instead of the organ at the Easter Vigil. My husband wasn't fazed in the least, which should explain to you by now why we rarely to go Mass together. I also noticed that at that same parish, an examination of conscience was prepared that listed social justice issues first and the Ten Commandment second. Interesting, to say the least. I called my pastor and asked him to please consider accepting my son as an altar server for the Novus Ordo at our parish. I worry about what else he will see.
Incidentally, the kids know they are expected to keep absolute silence on Good Friday between Noon and 3pm. My husband, who is really my fourth child, interpreted this to mean he could go downstairs and play his drums. He opted not to go to church with us on Good Friday as he normally does and when we returned home, he was banging away . I hope you all pray for me because some day, I really might throttle him once and for all.
I read in the newspaper today where the Chinese are cracking down on Christian churches. Apparently, you either join a state-run church or you join nothing at all. Easter has become more and more tenuous for Christians in Iraq since the war. And meanwhile, in this country, I have family members who couldn't be bothered going to Mass yesterday.
Sorry for the rambling.
He is risen. May all of us rise with Him.