Wednesday, March 9, 2011
I took my eight to Mass this evening. I love cramming my family into an already full church. Seeing the people who have made a point to attend Mass, in nurses uniforms, suits, work boots and dusty shirts. I love thinking about their lives, and how we all made this effort to get to Mass on a busy Wednesday, how we all gathered with the Communion of Saints, for the Eucharist, and the distribution of ashes. Knowing that this is happening across the globe - that lifts me up, makes me feel like a part of this body of Christ.
My two oldest daughters had planned to go to Mass with us, then out to a movie. This didn't sit well with me, but I didn't stop them from going. It didn't sit well, because I felt that they were not getting the contemplative nature of the Mass. They were going because I wanted them to, because it was Ash Wednesday, and they just did. We talked about the ashes on the way to church, a little refresher for some, and an introduction to the littles who likely did not recall it from last year. My oldest said she was going to wash her face before they left, and I was again bothered by her attitude. She didn't want people looking at her with her ash smudged cross on her forehead. I tried to figure out how to explain to her that while we certainly don't wear the ashes as some sort of badge of honor, they are not to be disregarded, either. They are a reminder from whence we came, and where we shall return.
As I watched the people file out of Mass, I thought they were beautiful. Many of them tired from a long day at work or school, they all filed out of Mass, smiling, talking quietly. The ashes on their foreheads would be a reminder to all who see it that Lent begins today. That a period of reflection and prayer has begun. That the sacrifices we make will be to honor the sacrifice of Christ, not fodder for Facebook statuses.
As my family moves into the Lenten season, we are going to focus on why we do these things, as much as doing them, it's important for them to know why. As I feel my oldest slipping out and away from the faith, forgetting who and why, I feel the need to instill to a greater degree in the ones I still have here, under my watchful eye. I hope that as she matures, she will return to her former love and understanding of Christianity, and more specifically, the Catholic faith. I know these are growing pains, and many college students go through it. I did. I was waiting for it. I just wish it weren't happening at a time when she thinks I have no idea what I am talking about. That, too is not unexpected, but it still hurts. She is spending some time with her beautiful 14 year old sister, who maybe can help recenter her a bit, as her faith is strong and growing.
I am going to post some Lenten friendly recipes, because I know it's hard sometimes to find things that are simple, yet appealing to littles. Check back tomorrow - a recipe for Friday - Noodle Kugel! I learned to make it when I worked at a Jewish Community Center. I loved it, and would like to share a recipe one of the ladies there gave me - you'll love it!