Tuesday, March 25, 2008
This was taken right before we left for the Easter Vigil. I'm so glad we went to the Vigil service (especially since we missed the Christmas Midnight Mass this year due to transportation issues). The Easter vigil was very, very long (almost 3 1/2 hours), and very, very late (it started at 10:30pm, and combined with travel time we didn't get back home until 3am). But every single one of us just loves going to Christmas Midnight Mass and the Easter Vigil. I want to encourage those of you with kids to consider trying a vigil mass next year! We have gone to vigil services as often as we were able to for years. I think we first took J1 and A2 to midnight mass when J1 was almost 3 and A2 was still a baby. When my kids were really little, we would let them go to sleep if they wanted to before mass, then wake them up and carry them to mass in their PJs. Now that they're all a bit older, we just make sure we let them sleep in as long as possible the morning of the vigil service and they stay awake until we leave. Now, we are night owls, which helps - none of my kids are in bed much before 11pm most nights, so it's not much of a stretch for them to stay up until midnight or even 1am. But even years ago, when my kids actually went to sleep at a decent time of night, we could still make it work. We let the youngest ones (those who are younger than First Communion age) fall asleep in the pews during vigil masses. This year S3 and N4 were asleep about an hour into the service. J1 and A2 were awake and paying attention through the whole thing. (A2 is definitely ready for his First Communion next month!)
The Easter Vigil mass at our Latin Mass parish is just absolutely beautiful and amazing. We light the Easter Fire outside, then we all process into the church, where it is dark except for candlelight. The first third of the the mass is in darkness, with bible readings and the renewal of our Baptismal promises. Finally, my favorite part of the whole liturgical year occurs. The lights in the church are flipped on, the altar servers ring the bells, and the choir sings the "Gloria" for the first time since Lent began. Just so beautiful, so moving, to hear, see, and feel Jesus' resurrection!
If you get a chance, check out Pope Benedict's sermon from the Easter Vigil (you can find a transcript here: What Does the Prayer Really Say?) Lots to chew on here, definitely. I liked this part especially:
"(In Baptism) God’s light enters into us; thus we ourselves become children of light. We must not allow this light of truth, that shows us the path, to be extinguished. We must protect it from all the forces that seek to eliminate it so as to cast us back into darkness regarding God and ourselves. Darkness, at times, can seem comfortable. I can hide, and spend my life asleep. Yet we are not called to darkness, but to light."
Hope you all are having a very happy, peaceful Easter season! Blessings to you and yours from me and mine!