Before I had kids, I had some really spiritually productive Lents. There was the one year in college where I wrote out a big list of all the things I would give up - things like drinking coffee, checking Facebook before the evening, and "wearing my hair down" - (my hair was pretty long at that point, and I'd noticed that I'd begun to spend way too much time and thought each morning primping it and making it look nice). Even when I spent a week in Italy, I continued to experiment with new ways to wear it pinned up. Including this unfortunate attempt at "Heidi braids" the day we visited Assisi:
|Not a suitable look for you, Christine!|
For the past 5+ years, I've been pregnant or breastfeeding during Lent. So since I'm technically dispensed from the need to fast from food - on the two measly fasting days a year that are left on the church calendar - I've definitely taken advantage of that, and not been very strict at all with any food-related penances during Lent. And I feel like this laxity has carried over into the rest of my attitude towards Lent and any sacrifices I choose for myself. I'll think, "well, I"m pregnant/recently post-partum! That's sacrificial enough for me this year!" And who knows? Maybe I'm not entirely wrong in thinking this way....but I will say, in looking back over how I've actually welcomed and celebrated Easter these past few years, as compared to in the past....I just don't think I've been living our holy or focused enough Lents.
We went to the Easter vigil Mass again this year. At our church, it doesn't start until 10pm, and ends sometime after 1am. It's long!
This year, still being so newly post-partum and dealing with a baby who doesn't like to sleep in her own cradle at night, I'm already feeling tired much of the day. I had told Tom there was a "100% chance" I would fall asleep if we decided to go to the vigil, but he still pressed for us to do it. Well, I was right - I probably slept through about half of it.
It worked out okay, though. All the kids slept as well - spread out across an entire pew :-)
For the small amount of the Mass I was actually fully awake for, I wasted way too much time stressing out over something I thought I heard our priest say to us. As he was going down the aisle, sprinkling holy water on everyone during the Renewal of the Baptismal Vows, he glanced at all of our sleeping kids, and I heard him say something like "they're too young to be here." I was so shocked that he would reprimand us like that, publicly, in the middle of the Mass. Didn't Christ say "let the little children come to me"? What does it matter if young children sleep through most of a vigil Mass? They're not bothering anyone, and there are still plenty of open seats left! At least we're all here as a family!
I spent the next twenty minutes thinking back over other little thing this priest had ever said or done that I wasn't entirely happy about, and basically letting myself feel totally victimized. Not the best way to spend the holiest Mass of the year.....So it's probably for the best that I decided not to go up during Communion, considering I'd spent much of the last hour asleep, anyways.
When Mass had ended, Tom made some comment about how cute the kids all looked, asleep on the pew. I sarcastically rejoined, "yeah, well, Fr. _______ didn't think so.". Tom didn't understand what I was talking about. After sharing what I thought the priest had said to us, Tom explained what had really happened. The priest had been joking about Flora - being less than three weeks old - as being "young to be here", and then had added that he "couldn't bless her yet" (since she has not been baptized yet, and thus has no baptismal vows to renew). Oh :-/
So I felt extremely petty for thinking all those thoughts.
|A friend of ours snapped this photo of all our sleeping babes after Mass. I know, I know, I look really sleepy!|
Easter Day itself was pretty nice. The kids were quite excited to finally eat candy again (I'd convinced them all to give it up for Lent). The weather was unseasonably warm - in the low 70s during March! During naptime, Tom and I took some time to pull out our rugs and furniture for the front porch, and get things set up for summer. Then we went to my aunt's house for a nice Easter dinner with the extended family.
Happy Easter to all - Resurrexit Sicut Dixit!