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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Elbow Grease



Barreling through Holy Week we have two left over questions from the other day. I think I'll save Eddie's question until after Easter. Sorry Eddie, but I have pews to polish.

Here is the other question, from poor old anonymous, which we have no time but to address it right away:
My question is, Easter is coming and I am not looking forward to it, and what do I do? I would rather rub along in a Lent-like manner. But isn't one purpose of Lent the preparation for Easter? I feel kind of repelled by the prospect of Easter resurrection joy at the moment.

Hopefully, as you rub along all Lent-like, the Easter joy will dawn on you. Because right now we are in the very thick of it.

Tomorrow is Holy Thursday, already! THE Holy Day of Holy Week (which by the way, used to be called "Great Week".....now we can't call it that anymore since the rampant overuse of the word 'great', as in 'have a great day!'). This is one big deal. On this day Jesus established the priesthood, had dinner with his friends and said good-bye, established the Eucharist, suffered alone, got arrested.....

So tomorrow morning there will be big cathedral Masses where all the priests get together and solemnly celebrate the fact that they have their jobs. The bishop will wash their feet and bless all the oils used for the Sacraments. Confessions will be heard. Very exciting.

In a solemn sort of way.

In the evening we'll all go to Mass (WON'T WE) . We go in the evening because we are celebrating the Last Supper of Jesus and His disciples and they were having their Passover dinner. Too far from the Temple to safely get a kosher lamb for their Passover seder, it wasn't until later that the eleven Apostles realized they had had Lamb after all. Judas wasn't around to realize anything anymore.

At this Mass we strip the altar and the church. We wash everything.

Here's another thing Jesus invented: Spring cleaning. Okay, he didn't invent it himself (although he did thoroughly clean out Limbo). But the tradition of spring cleaning started because of the Catholic church getting ready for Easter. (Hence my haste to answer questions today! I have to find our Murphy's Oil Soap coupons! As soon as Sister Mary Fiacre wakes up from her nap, we're outta here.)

We stop ringing bells after the Consecration at that Mass and we don't ring them again Easter. We stay up all night with the Blessed Sacrament to make up for the dozing disciples.

We've already covered what happens on Friday.

I should think, anonymous, that you would at least feel a little relief to have all your hard work pay off. Your Lenten sacrifice, the fasting, the contemplation.....you have to at least feel content to eat deviled eggs and ham and some chocolate in your nice clean house with your nice clean soul. Perhaps you were just rubbing along without applying any elbow grease.

Something is definitely missing. I'm thinking: gratitude. On Easter Sunday wear a new hat and make a list of all the things for which you are grateful. Not ten things...one hundred things. Eat a chocolate egg after each ten things. Have a delicious dinner when you're done.

If you don't feel a little more Easter-y, it may be time to see your doctor.

24 comments:

Suzanne said...

I live in a small town in Oklahoma and we are having Mass here in town (we share the priest with another town). I want badly to go to Mass, but I know they are going to do weird things like wash women's feet. Is that kosher? Should we just stay home and watch EWTN? What should we do, Sister?

Monica said...

Love the suggestion of the new hat... No, I mean the list of things for which we are grateful. Good family project!

Anonymous said...

Sister, I have a question about Lent and giving up--if Lent really ends on sunset of Holy Thursday, does that mean that we can end our penitential practice then, or should we wait until midnight on Holy Saturday to eat chocolate again?

Lisa, formerly anonymous said...

Gratitude --yes, you are quite right, that is what I was missing. Thank you, Sister.

DCMS said...

Suzanne, honey.
Go to Mass for Pete's sake. This is the Triduum! The Superbowl of liturgy! The single greatest time of the whole year- you HAVE to go! Watching EWTN is just not the same.
Who cares if women get their feet washed? We're His, too, I think.
GO TO MASS. Go, go, go! GO!!!!

Watching TV is fine for when you CAN'T go. But you CAN! And you SHOULD! It's the BEST THING EVER, so GO.

Sister Mary Martha said...

Where did you get the idea that Lent ends on Holy Thursday? Lent ends on Easter Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Sister, in regard to end of Lent: From americancatholic.org, lenten faqs: "Lent comes to an end before the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper on Holy Thursday. That liturgy begins the Triduum, the great Three Days that celebrate the central mystery of our faith."

Sister Mary Martha said...

fine, have it your way. Lent ends on Holy Thursday....and then the real suffering begins.

lisa, no longer anonymous, who never had cows, said...

Declaring the Triduum seems like a way to get around the question of when the "Third Day" begins --at sunset on Saturday night (Jewish law)? Midnight on Sunday (modern Europe)? Sunrise on Sunday (ancient Rome)?

Anyway, I don't suppose Sister approves of chocolate til after Sunday mass. Although at my church it comes with strawberries and champagne at the end of Easter Vigil, around 10 pm Saturday night! We are such wimps!

Anonymous said...

I'm not trying to beat a dead horse here. I did read every previous post, I went back and read every comment too. I took notes and googled lots of stuff I had never heard of before. I haven't studied this hard since college, which was a long time ago. But if I 'offer up' everyday aggravations, this frees souls from puratory? Aren't they there to pay for their sins? How does my suffering help them atone for their wrongs? Maybe I'll just stick to cows........

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be smartalecky about the end of Lent, I really want to know... I'd always thought Lent ended on Easter too, till our priest told us it ended on sunset of Holy Thursday. It seems to me like the spirit of the Lenten penance is to wait until Easter, and I know it's not a moral obligation like fasting, I'd just like to know if there is any teaching on the right way to practice it.

radio45 said...

On the end of Lent, I always figured that our Savior went the extra mile, so can we. And I always think of Paul in Philipians 13-14-"...forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on for the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." We are saints, but still in training, gaining strength by overcoming our weakness.I used to believe it ended midnite easter Sunday. Now I'm more apt to celebrate after the vigil. I guess it's a flesh and Spirit thing.

Catholic Mom said...

Well, if you must indulge after Holy Thursday Mass, go ahead, but remember, come midnight we start Good Friday which is a day of FASTING and ABSTINENCE!!! This means we may eat one full meal and two smaller meals that when combined are less than a full meal. No between meal snacks. Water is fine.

Perhaps the reason we don't usually break our Lenten penance until Easter is that the Triduum is actually one long liturgy. If you notice, there is no "dismissal" after the Mass of the Lord's Supper. When we pick things up again at the Good Friday Liturgy we are still celebrating the Triduum.We don't get dismissed until after the Saturday Easter Vigil.

Anonymous said...

Sigh - almost wish I had made THIS the year that I ceased to be a lapsed Catholic - but I am too old now, and have been away for too long to feel able to return.
But I keep my old St Joseph's missal on my bedside table, and I still remember the whole of the St Matthew Passion from having to learn it in school all those years ago - always read that on Good Friday afternoon, with hot cross buns and the appropriate music to accompany.
Good Friday makes me anxious - every single year. The world doesn't feel back on it's axis until Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Are you saying you are still a 'lapsed' Catholic? Dear Child of God's, do you plan on being younger next year? Easter is a new beginning, go to Mass THIS Easter. Start the process of returning to the church NOW. There are people reaching out to you. All you have to do is reach out to them. By next Easter your world will be back on it's axis. The yearning you feel to return to the church is Jesus yearning for you to come home-delight Him and come back. God Bless You.

cattiekit said...

anonymous of the cows:

"Offering it up" involves praying about your personal sufferings and for souls in Purgatory.

If we pray for the souls in Purgatory every time we think we've got it bad, then souls in Purgatory get some time and suffering shaved off.

Let's face it - on your worst day of calving season, you're not being roasted in non-consuming flames or anything. :>)

So, we offer it up. I'm sure SMM can correct me if I'm queasy on this point. :>)

Anonymous said...

anonymous 2, you brought me to tears - problem is that I was ecommunicated 30 years ago, for marrying before my annulment was final - (that took 4 years). Eventually, when it was approved, it was all sorted out, but I felt so hurt and so judged and rejected that I could not bring myself to go back; and anyway, while I was away, the Church changed,and I just wasn't comfortable with evangelicalism and overt emotion. (I'm British, raised in the French tradition - it's all intellectual).
So for 30 years I have read my St Joseph's missal, and lately, Dame Julian too, because she tells me that one day "all shall be well" - maybe it will, I don't know.
(The Church got the last laugh - my husband is leaving me after the 30 years.)
Right now a complete inablitiy to tear myself away from the carrion comfort of Despair is all I've got.......

Anonymous said...

My heart aches for you. May I ask, have you chosen to stay in misery to punish yourself or are you, in the spirit of Dame Julian, using your pain to draw closer to God? Twelve years ago, my mom was caring for her mom who required major heart surgery. One month later my dad was in a horrific car crash and had to be pieced back together. One month later my four year old niece died. I asked my mom how did she make it through all that. She said, first you say, 'God help me' then you say 'God this is too hard, why have You left me?' then you reach the point where God wants you and you say, 'God, carry me, for the next minute or the next hour or one more day'. God wants us to give Him our all. Now I am in tears because I know pain. God never stops loving us, no matter how many foolish mistakes we make or how many times we reject Him. You are in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers........

Lisa said...

Anynymous (cows) and Anonymous (30 years), I love you and I hope that your desire for God will move you to actions that are a comfort to you. All we humans are broken, like Jesus's body on the cross. And that body was resurrected and made perfect, and so can we all be, through miraculous love. Perhaps if you were to go to church on Easter --just to hear the music and be with others who share your desires --perhaps you would like it. How happy our good shepherd always is to be with His lambs. And if you then go home and eat marshmallow peeps and ham to the greater glory of God, perhaps there will be less of despair and longing and more of whatever is coming next. And whether you do or don't, you are in my prayers this Easter.

Listen, I am home sick today, and thinking about the mysterious fact that Jesus's suffering saves us. I do not understand how that works, but I believe it. So when I have some little pain --like today's sore throat and fever, I ask God whether please my pain might be allowed to do some good, some how, like Jesus's. That's what I mean by "offering up" suffering (or annoyance or grumpines) for other souls. I hope that I might be allowed in some myseterious way I do not understand, to suffer on behalf of others, so that they will not have to. I am not worthy of it, but I ask anyway. I've never asked to be able to help someone in particular, but today I do, and those someones are you. May God bless and comfort and protect you all your lives and especially this Easter.

Anonymous said...

This is anon of the cows, I am a practising Catholic, just as a convert there is alot I wasn't taught. I'm trying to learn. I also have an autoimmune disease so I feel sick every day. I am thrilled each day that I can walk. If my 'bad' days can be help to somebody GREAT! I am grateful for the prayers. My disease has no cure- as yet- but isn't fatal just very miserable. I like to focus on what I CAN do but now know there's someplace for the discouragement that comes with the things I no longer can do. Happy Easter Everybody!

Frater said...

Happy Dyngus Day Sister!

Peace
Frater

cattiekit said...

Frater,

You never fail to *slay* me. :>D

cattiekit said...

Actually, anon? I feel for your sufferings with the autoimmune disease. :>(

Most of the ones that come to mind readily would make someone wish they were dead even though they (the diseases) aren't necessarily fatal.

So, if I sounded flip I apologize? You really have a daily struggle. :>/

Anonymous said...

You need not apologize. I have Meinere's disease. Now I have somewhere to go with all the dizzies. I sit near the door for Mass as incense will take my feet right out from under me. I don't dwell on the bad but if it can do somebody else good, I say offer it up. Now I can and will! Thank you for the explaination. I do understand Sister when she speaks of Social Security tho. I have been a stay at home mom for over 20 years. When I reached the time to go back to work, I was disabled. I didn't pay SS so I can't collect SS. It's ok tho, the cows don't care if I'm walking straight.