Although the days passed quickly this year, we are approaching the end of Lent with Easter Sunday and the Resurrection of Christ. This year especially, I have noticed that, even though I’ve been busy with my dissertation and still more essays this year, I have drawn closer to Christ. Not through prayer or alms-giving or abstinence, as I would have expected and have tried to utilise, but through my thoughts and observations.
So, for 7 Quick Takes Friday, I’d share some of the realisations and feelings this Lent has delivered to me.
Something I wish I’d been truly aware (instead of just knowing it, but feeling it too) of before this year is how much God is always there, always permeating our lives. I’ve been following the CATHOD blog since the genesis of this little blog, and I am enjoying their series at the moment about the challenges their volunteers have been doing as part of Lent, including things like cutting down the amount of water they use per day as solidarity for those in low income countries who have to walk miles daily just to get dirty water.
Only the last couple of days has it hit me that giving during isn’t just involving others; giving can be giving one’s self challenges to make one conscious of how much luxury the first world situation is. Maybe I can try and do something challenging, like cut down the amount of washing I do. I am sure I can live more cost-effective and world-aware.
Today has been one of my best days fasting that I have had. I don’t tend to fast except on days of obligation, but to focus the mind on God, it might be good to fast more often. I think I could do it tomorrow as well. I put on a nice dress, had a shower – I even walked 3 miles! What’s wrong with not eating? 🙂
I am definitely considering trying to make my Fridays permanently meat-free (as well as my usual Thursdays and Wednesdays). I mean, I can’t afford much meat as a student anyway, but limiting the amount of meat I buy can be beneficial for the environment and my giving up something I like on a long-term basis will help me to think of those who have no choice with their diets.
The only complications are when visiting friends and my tendency to have pizza on Fridays (and pizza is just bland without meat 😉 ).
Having not been to a proper Triduum before, I was surprised by the feet-washing part of the liturgy for the Celebration of the and the little note in today’s Mass saying “If you would like, like may follow the ancient tradition of removing your shoes before the Cross.” Surprised, but delighted, though. One of the reasons I was drawn to the Catholic Church is because I have always been naturally traditionally-minded.
I took off my shoes. Not just because it’s something different, but because of how it made me feel in relation to the Cross. Taking my shoes off meant respecting the ground on which Christ walked, setting God apart from mortals. It meant showing belief with my whole body, not just my voice and my mind.
What’s more, this Lent has brought me closer to the Church community. Not just with those I know from Sunday Mass and the musicians and readers there, but also the strangers I have sat next to these last couple of days. They’re not the people I would normally spend time with – or even see in daily life – but we know we are united through Christ, and that can bring a sense of community to anyone.
With each service, reading, performance I am part of, I feel closer and closer to God this time of the year. With it is a sense of Peace, that post-Eucharist floatiness, a mix of prayerfulness and quiet. Of all the emotions, this is the one that hits me the greatest after Mass, but I honestly could not wish for more.
Why sorrow? Well, this is Good Friday. Really this year have I felt the genuine sorrow of Christ’s sacrifice. No one should have to go through anything as tortuous as what He went through. Yet…indeed we still have prisoners and modern martyrs of faith, and people who suffer just for what they believe. Almost worse is it to not be able to openly practise one’s faith.
We are the lucky ones – who can go to Triduum and not find a seat because the church is so full – and we celebrate with very little prejudice. But there are so many around who cannot practise safely. Nevertheless, in Christ’s sacrifice today, He has saved us from sin.
God bless for the remainder of your Easter. 🙂