Please urgently storm heaven with everything you’ve got for a special intention for a friend.
Readers will note that I have been trying so hard this year (since January 1, 2013) to keep a particular commitment. I figured that if I could post to my (other) blog every single day last year, I ought to be able to make it to mass every day as well. Is that an example of a bizarre priority shift? I don’t know. All I do know is that my dad, for as long as I can remember, has been a daily mass goer and I would like to be one as well. Truth is, throughout much of my life I have been a sporadic daily mass goer, if that makes sense. At different times I have gone faithfully for months on end and then “fallen off the wagon” (save for Sundays when I always go).
The reality is, though, that it’s tough where I live to keep this commitment. Ironically, though the Church is extremely vibrant in the Dallas, Texas area, She still doesn’t offer many close-by encounters with the Lord in terms of daily mass. Parishes are spread far apart, mass schedules are largely limited to mornings. As a teacher I appreciate the opportunity of a 5PM or even 5:30 evening mass. Given my proximity to a decent Catholic University with an active chapel, I know that if I wake up too late for the 6:30 AM mass at the local Abbey church, I can go to the 5PM at the college. The only problem is that this particular college does not have an evening mass on Friday’s.
So yesterday morning when I woke up just a tad on the late side I almost panicked that I would miss mass, essentially, for the first time all year. But something came over me. I think it was the grace of God giving me an infusion of the virtue of hope. In addition to going to mass, I have been praying for the grace to go to mass. I immediately thought about a lesson I had just taught my students on hope and how it is that virtue whereby we are enabled to trust that God will do all that He has promised. So I said my morning offering and asked Our Lord to get me to mass at some point during the day. I didn’t even freak out when my wife reminded me that most of the parishes in town were not having daily masses this week due to a priest convocation outside of the diocese.
Somehow, by the grace of God, last evening at 7PM I found myself in church trying my best to follow the Eucharistic liturgy in Spanish. God has a sense of humor.
It is an ancient custom in our faith to veil sacred images in the final two weeks of Lent. The idea is that, like so many other symbols of the faith, the visible instruments that remind us of who we are are little by little taken away from us as we approach Good Friday. This carries over ultimately to a situation wherein one enters a Catholic church on Holy Saturday in total darkness and total silence. The altar is stripped, the tabernacle is empty and wide open, the organ has been silenced, the holy water drained. Indeed, the imagery is one of death. All is gloriously restored in the Great Easter Vigil begun by the lighting of the Paschal candle, symbolizing the light of Christ.
For your pleasure, I have included several pictures of how my wife handled this task around our house. Again, I think it’s so important for Catholic parents to try to instill a deep-seated love of the faith in our children from an early age. Give them something to wonder about. Wait for them to come to you and ask “Mommy? Why is the crucifix covered in that purple cloth?” “Daddy, why are we so quiet today? Is it because of Great Friday?” That’s what my son calls Good Friday. Let us keep praying for one another. I believe that through our blogs, Catholic moms and dads, we’re strengthening each other and helping to raise better, more Catholic kids.
God be praised!
The title says it all, folks. PS: I’m still working on turning this blog into what I think it should be. All suggestions are helpful and appreciated.