This year I visited with friends and parted with, “Merry Triduum!” because I wasn’t sure of the correct greeting.
But then a different friend wished me an “Epic Triduum” which fits better, doesn’t it?
I didn’t take pictures of the events on Friday or Saturday. Sometimes it’s just better to be present than to rush and worry about capturing everything. So, I’ll just offer highlights, favorite parts of the past few days.
- I said it on Thursday, but one thing that struck me this year was being with everyone at the prayer services/ masses. Usually the church has eight options for Sundays…so, needless to say, you don’t see everyone when you attend mass. But, on Thursday there’s only one option. On Friday there’s only one option. On Saturday there’s only one option. Think of it: there are usually eight options…reduced to one. But, that’s kind of beautiful. You squish a little tighter in the pews and you see everyone you might not normally see, all together, in prayer.
- I think every year I understand less of these stories. Not that I don’t believe them, mind you. But, rather, I think when you’re little you’re more apt to take everything as it is. Your parents say, “…and Jesus was betrayed by His friends and a murderer was set free instead…” and you’re like, “Oh, OK, that’s that.”
But now, older, I kind of have more insight into the world. And this story is just stunningly, bloodily raw and unsafe. From the get-go, really. He goes to the Kidron Valley, to a garden, and Judas knows the place because, “Jesus had often met there with his disciples.”
Geez, it just makes the stomach sink. How awful.
The people he trusted most, the place where they had memories, there is where he was caught…
- On Saturday morning I sat at the table and made butter lambs: for our party, for Mrs. G’s party, and for other neighbors. I’ve been doing this since I was a child, pushing soft butter into plastic, recreating Polish tradition. Some of the molds are torn. One of the sides was missing from a particular mold, so I had to free-hand the back of a lamb. But, that’s Easter, too. Prayer and preparation can be in the foodstuffs and well.
- At the Easter Vigil, I stood under the stars on the giant stone porch just after sunset. I closed my eyes and I could smell the pine trees off to the side and feel the Spring-night wind on my face as we huddled around the Easter fire Saturday night. The wind was gentle and cool on my face; it reminded me of times in scripture when God is in the wind–like when He created the world or whispered to the prophet. Then those who were planning on being baptized and receive other sacraments filed outside and around me and I knew that the Holy Spirit was here, too, again, working and breathing under the stars.
- It was the elderly priest who offered my candle a light. At the Easter Vigil, the lights start off and the church starts dark…at one point, though, we all hold candles, newly lit from the new Easter light. I looked around at the church, lit with tiny lights, and it was beautiful.
- I remember settling into my wooden pew, closing my eyes in the dark church, ready to listen to the readings at the Easter Vigil. (Epic letdown! They only read THREE of the SEVEN! I WANTED ALL SEVEN! Greedy Catholic! I only get one Easter Vigil per year…make it count!). ANYWAY. I feel like the silent retreat cracked the door to a new level of spirituality, rushing out like light, and so it was special and extra-special to have that experience under my belt as I listened again.
What I’m saying is: I met God and the angels and the holy friends in the context of my imagination (holler, St. Ignatius), and it was super awesome to encounter them again in the readings. (Side note: angels are kind of like puppies…or high school jocks–tons of happy energy, with a little bit of klutz thrown in for a super endearing combo). (Other side note: I’d recommend silent retreats. And I’m the last person in the world who would be good at them, so you know it’s a heartfelt suggestion).
- Litany of the Saints. I love how more of them become my friends each year (Ss. Perpetua and Felicity this year! They prayed for/ sponsored my Ladies’ Retreat!) and when their names are mentioned I essentially give them a happy huzzah in my mind. I’m like, “Yeah! You’re in heaven! You’re awesome!” and then they fist-pump back at me and I’m like, “Keep praying! I want to make it, too!”
- All the new faithful. I clap hard when they join, these new members of the family, but really I wanted to join the man somewhere behind me who whooped like his team just won big–and, really, it did.
- This dewd behind me was clearly a trained singer. Dat Hallelujah chorus at the end of the three-hour vigil*? Shoot, boy. *(Still greedy, still wanted four hours).
- Hanging out with the fam on Easter. It was hours long, but time flies when you’re having fun. I was like, “Darkness? It is evening? I need to go to bed? I have work in a few hours?”
- I asked my brother what was astoundingly beautiful for him this year, fully expecting him to talk about the Camino. Instead, he told me about going to confession a few days earlier, encountering care and compassion, being prayed over. How good.
- On Dingus Day my leetle church was closed, probably because the pastor is shared with a few communities, and Triduum is busy in church-world. So, I walked to the other, intricate church across town and on the way I saw Mark and I was like, “The little church is closed, COME WITH ME!” So, he did and we talked Easter and Detroit and I told him I was really good at skipping.
- Then I saw a NEWLY ORDAINED DEACON and he was like, “Hey, Happy Easter!” and I was like, “OH HEY I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU!” and I was like, “How’s it going?” and he was like, “It’s the best, just the best!”
Love. People being where they’re supposed to be.
- And then, on the way back, a friend shouted to me from across the street, “Happy Dingus Day!” So I crossed the street and we hugged and exchanged Easter greetings and stories and isn’t holiday joy just the best?
- Today at mass one of the men who lives on the street and attends mass (soiled pants and all, full disclosure) stood up after communion, as we were all kneeling. He was near the front at the time; he walks all around during the course of the service. He knows some of the prayers, some of the parts of mass…but mostly he stands when he deems fit and shouts when he feels it fits (mostly shouting doesn’t quite fit in church) and generally plays according to a rule book with which none of us are completely familiar.
Today he stood, then, as we knelt, and blessed us as he sees the priest do. He blessed us several times, enthusiastically and over and over again, this man with the soiled-pants. But, I smiled and soon blessed myself, too, placing myself with the Trinity. And it was beautiful.
Happy, happy Easter! What did you love this year? What touched you? How was this year different than last? Comment. Or don’t. It’s your choice.
(Easter is a season, fifty days long. You’ve got forty-eight days left to party. Don’t disappoint me, party people).
Hallelujah is our jam.
Also, if you’d like, here are some things I made. Click on any of those circles for a click-through gallery with more info. I didn’t want to overwhelm with even MORE WORDS! (When I’m away, I miss you. Promise). Enjoy. 😀