40 Reflections #34:
40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season
When the children were younger, for one hour per week at church, we longed to be that family. You’ve seen them. The family with the brood of children who sit with their missals in their laps, following the words of the readings with their fingers, answering the priests questions with “Genesis!” or “Luke – Chapter 12!” during the children’s mass, or flawlessly singing all the high notes of”How Great Thou Art”. During the mass, they are referenced by onlooking parents who tell their own children “see they’re sitting” or “that boy doesn’t have his brother in a headlock”. Finally, upon their exit, they receive oodles of acclaim from elderly folks grateful for parents raising the next generation with respect and goodness in God’s House.
Unfortunately, even after putting our kids through practice/training type masses during the week when they were young (seemed so brilliant at the time), Sunday mornings remained drenched with whines, untouched missals, Matchbox Cars stashed in pockets, and little eyes staring up at us asking to be held. To this day, my husband and I sway involuntarily from side to side like palm trees in church, ready to hold any toddler needing a better view.
Enter: Palm Sunday.
Simply knowing Palm Sunday is on deck in the Easter Season brings me great solace. You see, even though the kids are older, there is still a restlessness during mass. As we enter the church we are greeted by our warmhearted Monsignor who bellows out in his Irish lilt, “The Cahill’s are here! Must be time to start mass!”. On that uplifting note, we make our way in, praying (already!) the usher doesn’t scoot us up to the front row. We sit, and as mass begins, there’s a lot of blaming, loud singing, correcting, and “not touching” that goes on in the pew, followed by my shushing, and my daughter’s re-shushing.
But Palm Sunday has something for everyone. Palms. Pliable, soft, fresh, green reeds begging to be manipulated into works of art. This is the Sunday for a long homily when Father can freely cover the highlights of the New Testament and even throw in a few biographies on some saints. Everyone is busy forming their humble cross tied in the middle with palm strings, and there is a feeling of calm throughout the church as we exit.
This Sunday, I vowed not to get too many palms because my mom and dad taught us to take special care of the like you would a prayer card or rosary. So in that spirit, I placed our unused palms on the table in the narthex for the next fidgety parishioners.
As we climbed in the car, my youngest son said, “Mama, look what I found on a pew on the way out!” He passed me a handful of palms. “Oh great” I lied, “Let’s google how to make a basket when we get home.”
Dig Deep: During Holy Week set your prayer and running intentions each morning and see them through.
Lenten Challenge: Take time for others this week. Give praise, compliments, and love to all who cross your path.