Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Great Three Days

The Triduum is complete, and we managed to make all 3 days! This is only the second time that we have attended the Triduum as a family (though I have taken part in many of them as a musician, I generally went alone and attended Mass with my family on Easter Sunday). The other time was when Middle Sister was 4 or 5. She wore my First Communion dress (I had figured out by that time that it would never fit her when she was 7 and making her First Communion); I was in the choir; when she fell asleep, Big Daddy laid her on the window seat behind the choir where she slept until after the Communion song.

Little Brother was 3 For 3 in Triduum naps. On Holy Thursday he conked out, and we passed him back and forth for the rest of Mass, and for the walk (1 block) to the Repository and back to the car after the prayers there. On Good Friday he slept through the gospel and homily. Last night we got smart. We brought a small blanket. He was asleep by the third reading, and we put the blanket on the pew and laid him down. We only had one close call, during the blessing of the water, when he felt the water sprinkled on his face and rolled over--but I caught him before he fell off the edge. During Communion I waited until everyone else was back in the pew, and got in line later.

I want my kids to have a chance to see the church again while it is fully decorated. It looks amazing. There is an "empty tomb" with a white cloth and a crown of thorns. Behind it (casting a bit of a shadow over it when the light is right) is the empty cross, also draped with a white cross and a gold crown. Around the tomb are plants and more "wild" looking flowers. Throughout the rest of the altar and tabernacle areas there are flowers everywhere, as well as a water feature with a fountain. (Middle Sister was baptized at that fountain; Big Brother spent most of the ceremony bending over and paddling in the water with both hands. He was "extra holy" that day!)

I used to think that the way the church is decorated was not important. To be honest, I never paid much attention to the decoration in the church. The only thing I noticed was how near the flowers were to me, since certain Easter flowers really aggravate my asthma. Perhaps being "off duty" (not singing in a choir) for two of the three days gave me a chance to really look at what was around me. And surprise, surprise! These decorations were not accidental; God was in the details. Everything was carefully chosen and carefully placed to highlight the Truth that we celebrated and commemorated each day. Our Church allows us to use the five senses to experience what we celebrate: we see the priest, the crucifix, the water, wine and bread changed into the Eucharist, the cross, the empty tomb; we hear the music, the Exultet, the Scripture readings, and the silence; we smell the incense and flowers; we touch the holy water, the candles, the cross; we taste the bread and wine--the Body and Blood of the Risen Christ.

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