Today starts one of my very favorite times of the year, the Tridum!!!! What's a Tridum? It consists of Holy Thursday (today), Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Something special happens each night at Mass. Yes, you read that correctly. Three nights of Mass. Tonight is the foot washing. It's a reminder of how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. Then, tonight is also when the strip the altar. They remove everything from the altar. It chokes me up every time. Then, we have adoration lasting from tonight after Mass until tomorrow evenings Mass. Adoration is where you sit in front of the blessed sacrament. It is one of my favorite things to do. Why I don't do it more often is beyond me. Well, not really, I'm lazy. I need to work on that. We are invited to stay for adoration for one hour at any point in the 24 hours. It symbolizes the time when Jesus was praying in the garden and asked his disciples to stay awake for one hour (*If I get any of this wrong, someone please let me know!)
During Good Friday service, we have veneration of the cross. Another beautiful evening. Veneration of the cross is when a six foot cross (it looks six feet to me) and we are invited to come up and kiss the cross. It's a very beautiful thing.
Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil) is the culmination of the forty days of lent. It's also when those who have been wishing to become Catholic, who have went through RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) are welcomed in the Catholic Church. It's a long Mass, about two and a half hours. It is absolutely beautiful!
In preparation for all this beauty, my church offers many times during lent to attend confession. In the beginning of lent, I had no intention of going to confession. I'm heading for my silent retreat in April and I'll go there. Then, as lent progressed, my loving husband reminded me that I could do both. As a family, we decided to go to confession this past Monday before the evening Mass. Being so crowded opted to go last night. Confession was available from 6:30-9 last night. Having a class at church, I couldn't go till 8:30. when I got there, there was 50 people ahead of me. Did you get that? FIFTY PEOPLE! And, by the time it was all said and done, we left at 10:05pm. Let me make sure you got that. Confession was to be over at 9. I left at 10:05. There were FIFTY people in front of me. That's how awesome my faith and my parish Priests are. They stayed until every last one who wanted confession, received it. And, during this time, no one left. Again, let me repeat that. No. One. Left. By the time I was done, there was one person left and then the Priests would be done. It was absolutely amazing.
Now, as I'm standing in line (after the hour mark, I did sit down as my back was really sore) for a while, this woman smiles at me. It seems she knows me. I don't have a clue who she was, but that doesn't matter, I still smiled back. She looked a little sad at one point and was getting up for something so I gave her a big hug. A) I'm part Italian, B) I'm an emotional person, and C) I'm part of a bunco group called the Happy Holy Hugging bunco group. There was no way, I wasn't giving a hug. After a while she returned and I motioned for her to have her spot back in front of me. She was reluctant and was just going to wait for her husband. For some reason, I felt strongly that she take her place back, I mean, she waited all this time. And, after a minute or two, she took her rightful place in front of me. Now, as she's in front of me, we are chatting and she looks so familiar now, but I cannot place her. Then she introduces me to her husband "She (me) put on my chrp!!!!" All of a sudden, the cobwebs part, and the angels sing! I look at her and say "you'll have to forgive me, I don't know you're real name, I only know you as Sister Mary HolyWater!!!!!" Three years ago, I was part of a group of women who took a retreat to St. Marks Parish and she had attended. Now, she belongs to St. Jude's! She has been here for months! SO COOL!
Not much later, my time in the confessional was done and I was about to start my penance as my husband was had just gotten in on his side. Funny thing, while waiting in line, I said a Rosary with the sorrowful mysteries as they're my favorite. You'll never guess what my penance was! A Rosary with the sorrowful mysteries! Too bad I couldn't use the one I just said! lol As I'm starting the rosary, my friend Russ walks in. Now, Russ, I know through his amazing wife Vicki who passed away a few years ago. Russ is now two years away from becoming a Priest! He is such a holy man and a good friend of mine and George's! Russ walks right up to me, smiles and my face lights up! He's going to school in Boston and is here for Easter. He gives me the biggest hug and says "I saw you in here and I came to say 'hi'! And we chatted for a few. George even got to see him!
As we were walking to the car, sinless (for all of about five minutes because I like to say, 'If I'm breathing, I'm sinning' lol) I explain to my husband how I will never, ever, get used to that. To beautiful moments like the one with Russ. Call it left over baggage from my childhood, whatever you please, it just is foreign to me that people go out of their way to see me. Who does that? Oh yea, I do. It's okay for me to see someone and make a point to go give them a hug, or tell them I miss them. However, it just boggles my mind when someone goes out of their way for me. I could spend millions in therapy on that one!
As I was going to bed last night, I reflected on what a blessing last night was. Catching up with Sister Mary HolyWater, seeing Russ, going to confession, and being a part of something with so many people that was so bigger than any of us put together.
I don't claim to have it all together. In fact, I'm the poster child for not having it together! My faith while strong, sometimes, is weak at best, but it is there. I question God. I argue with God. I cry to God. I also laugh and joke and love with God. I am reminded that He doesn't care that I don't have it all together. It doesn't matter if my faith somedays is the size of a mustard seed and not a huge oak. What matters is no matter how small my faith is, it is still there. A little ember just there, that eventually will blow up into a big, roaring fire) I am excited for tonight as it begins such an emotional time for me. I warn you, if you see me over the next three nights, I will probably be crying at some point! I promise you I am perfectly okay. I am just having moments with God and that I am perfectly okay.
Happy Holy week, everyone!
Until next time, pray for all those who are coming into the church this weekend. Also pray for safe travels for those traveling to be with loved ones.