Happy Easter my friends!
How was your weekend? How did your Easter celebrations go?
Thing here at Chez Lenaburg were quieter than in past years. My guy is happy with the quiet. Me? I prefer a little more action, but marriage is about compromise so when Jerry asked for a “quiet” weekend after explaining that he was still suffering from “post traumatic liturgist syndrome” i.e. the insanity of last years Triduum when I was working for the church, I was happy to oblige.
Let’s break it down y’all…shall we…
It was my Mom’s birthday so we decided to head over the bridge and take her to dinner. We enjoyed a celebratory margarita, sang an off-key version of Happy Birthday and then off we went to The Mass of the Lord’s Supper at a neighboring parish.
The church was packed and the choir top notch. Father’s homily on suffering was inspired and I may or may not have cried when they sang the Gloria and rang the bells for the first time in 40 days. One of the most moving moments was when Father was washing the feet of twelve parishioners from all walks of life. The choir sang the beautiful hymn “Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.” (Where charity and love prevail, God is there).
I sang along hearing the words differently than I have in the past. As the pastor worked his way down the line, my mind wandered to the year my Courtney got her foot washed. I thought back to how careful Father G was when he took my daughters small crippled foot into his hands and poured the warm water over it. He was so intentional with his movements not wanting to harm her in anyway. He then gently wiped her foot dry, bent down to kiss it and then helped me put her shoe back on.
I remembered the look on his face, the warm smile and eyes alight with joy in being able to honor my child in such a way. As the memory flooded my heart and mind, tears slipped quietly down my face. Here I was, in a completely different church, in a different diocese seventeen years later and my sweet girl was right there with me. What a gift to this Mama. My beautiful daughter letting me know she was at the table of the Lord, feasting with the King of Kings, and probably has the cleanest feet in heaven. Ha!
Where charity and love prevail, God is there. Courtney taught me the true meaning behind those very words. To serve and to love with humility and grace. She continues to speak to my heart, encouraging me to walk humbly with God and love with all I have.
I’m listening, my Sunshine. I promise.
Once the stations began, this sweet little man kept asking his mother “Mama, why are the soldiers being mean to Jesus? Mama, why did Jesus have to die? We love Jesus. He loves us Mama. Why are they being so mean?” He asked his mother these questions over and over and over and over again. She answered patiently every.single.time.
I was in awe. With every answer she made eye contact with her son, reassuring him that Jesus was alive and sometimes you love someone so much that you give your life for them. She was doing everything right and it was exhausting to watch. Little people are inquisitive and impatient and so filled with love for others, they just want everyone to be OK. After the stations were finished, I leaned over and told this beautiful Mama what a great job she was doing. I also informed her son that he asked some pretty great questions and complimented him on his good behavior.
You young Mama’s keep up the good work. Those years in the trenches are hard but gosh the hard work pays off. I promise you that.
At three we had our Good Friday service. The veneration of the cross is always a little overwhelming for me. To know that my Lord chose to hang on a cross, to be brutalized and beaten, to die a humiliating death, all for the love of me a sinner…well…it’s overwhelming to me. I am not worthy, but then He knew that and still gave His life freely.
Overwhelming. Powerful. Mind blowing.
How grateful am I to be loved in such a way? More grateful by the minute my friends. May I always strive to be worthy Lord. I believe. Help me in my unbelief.
There was Easter egg dying and donut making. There was a nap and we watched The Passion of the Christ (Definitive Edition) by Jim Caviezel. I always see something different each time I watch this movie. This year, I was struck by Simon of Cyrene. In the beginning he wanted nothing to do with helping Jesus carry the cross. But as time passes and Simon gets a taste of the hatred and bitterness shown to Jesus by the crowd and the Roman soldiers, you see him change. His eyes are opened to the injustice of it all. As they make their way up the final hill Simon begins to encourage Jesus. “It’s almost over. You are almost there. Just keep going. I’m here. It’s almost over.”
I don’t know why I haven’t heard those lines before. I watched the actors interplay and it was powerful. Simon reaching around Jesus and carrying the bulk of the weight. Jesus reaching around Simon and leaning on him for support. The heavy cross between them. They walked in sync, step by step. Then Jesus falls and the crowd goes wild, but Simon steps in to defend Jesus.
It’s a powerful juxtaposition.
All that came to mind was “Be Simon.” Reach out and help someone carry their cross. Hello Triduum. Lesson learned.
We changed things up this year. Instead of Easter Vigil we went to Easter Sunrise Mass at the historic church where our Courtney was laid to rest. It was beautiful. The sun rose as Mass began and by Communion, the sun was beaming down on our sweet girls grave. I know you’re thinking Mary, Easter Mass is a cemetery? I say why not. Jesus rose from the grave so that the gates of heaven would be open. Open for me, for you, for my Courtney.
After we spent some time with our girl, we joined some dear friends for dinner. Oh what a dinner it was. There was wonderful food and even better company. I haven’t laughed that hard in a very long time. I didn’t take one photo. Not one. I just enjoyed the time spent with those I love, those who have walked through hell with us and are still there, being Simon to me and my family.
It was a very good day. A wonderful Triduum. A good and Holy Easter. God is good, ALL the time.
I can’t wait to hear about yours. Share in the comments friends…
I would love to speak at your parish, women’s group or youth group. Contact me and let’s talk about your next event!
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