Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Lent, Easter, & Lots of Marbles

Alleluia! He is risen!

I love that Catholics celebrate Easter for a whole season of fifty days. Christ's resurrection is HUGE, so having a long span of time to focus on it is really, really awesome. Not only that, but we're currently in the Octave of Easter, which means that for the rest of this week, every day is a Solemnity.

I love that massively important religious holidays have entire seasons devoted to them for many reasons; but one of the big reasons is that it puts less pressure on us to do "all the things" leading up to the day, or on the day itself. For example, we planned to put on a little Easter egg hunt for our toddler. We figured that he'd enjoy it, and it'd be fun to see him run around and find eggs. When Easter Sunday came, however, it was cold and dreary and we stayed in our pajamas all day long. While we could've easily done an egg hunt inside, we were having too much fun playing with our "family Easter present" (an awesome marble run). But no worries! We have lots of Easter left to celebrate, so we'll eventually do an egg hunt, make more treats (I love making liege waffles to celebrate Easter), and generally keep the party going :)

I suppose I should mention Lent for a minute, so let's look back on it, shall we? At the beginning of Lent, I realized that the theme of Lent would be "the unexpected." I think I grew a lot during Lent and can see some good fruit from the "unexpected" theme (including one very awesome development in my life that I hope to blog about soon). Regarding my "Lenten plan," I somehow-miraculously-managed to finish my Lenten book  and I really enjoyed it. It was just dense and scholarly and took a long time to get through. I fell short on a couple of my goals, and towards the end of Lent, I struggled with finding the proper balance of things. Was I being "too easy" on myself, or was it good that I gave myself more slack because I've been taking care of a very active toddler while tired and pregnant? I eventually decided that this question didn't deserve much thought, because I should just focus on whatever ways God wanted to work in me irregardless of how closely I followed my "plan."
On Holy Thursday, we had unleavened flatbread and
shawarma-style chicken with veggies :) 

Going into the Triduum, I was pumped. The Triduum-the span of days from Holy Thursday evening to Easter Sunday evening-is so intense, so powerful, and it's my favorite liturgical season. I was very excited to attend the Holy Thursday liturgy this year, and I was grateful that our toddler seems to be at the magical age where he's old enough to pay attention and enjoy all of the "extra" elements (like the washing of the feet), but he's still young enough that he's not too active. Good Friday was immensely peaceful and prayerful. My toddler and I washed laundry and hung it out to dry and then relaxed on the grass and prayed the Stations of the Cross together (he would run around and occasionally wander over to pray a station or two with me). He thankfully took a nap, and I was able to spend quiet time with some spiritual reading and in silent prayer. The service that night was somber, beautiful, and reflective.
On Holy Saturday, we tried to keep a solemn mood over at our house. It can be tough to have a spirit of stillness when much of society is already celebrating Easter with festivals and egg hunts, but as we reflected on Jesus lying in the tomb, it was really important that we did not prematurely celebrate. It was a gorgeous day, so while my husband was out at a prior commitment, I went on a short run to soak up the sunshine and pray for those preparing to enter the Church that evening. I really liked doing this prayer run on Holy Saturday, and weather-permitting, I'd love to continue it in future years.

18 week pregnant belly!
My husband and I were a tad bit nervous as we traveled to church for the Easter Vigil that night. How would our son deal with the 2 1/2+ hour liturgy? He had fallen asleep for a nap in the late afternoon, so I was a little concerned that he wouldn't sleep during Mass as I had hoped. The one thing I kept thinking was It will be fine, because he'll like the fire. For those of you who haven't been to the Easter Vigil liturgy, at the beginning of the Mass, the entire church is dark and a bonfire is lit in the back as we ponder Christ, the Light of the world illuminating the darkness. Then, the fire spread (everyone is holding candles) until the whole church is lit with candlelight.

When the church plunged into darkness, we held our toddler right at the end of the pew he excitedly looked at the bonfire. "FIRE FIRE!" he exclaimed, so that everyone in the very near vicinity could hear. Thankfully, he was fairly happy and attentive for the rest of the liturgy (we were able to sit right in front of some friends of ours who have a baby and a toddler so he was happily distracted some of the time). The liturgy was beautiful, and it was such an awesome experience to see so many people receive the Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist for the first time. After the liturgy, we hung out at the reception and marveled at our toddler who was running around with our priest just before midnight. After a late (but epic) night, we were glad to sleep in the next day and play with marbles. So many marbles! I'm excited to continue this beautiful Easter season, particularly the Feast of Divine Mercy that's happening this Sunday. On that topic, if any of you are interested, I wrote a little piece on why (and how) I'm teaching my toddler about Divine Mercy. 

Happy Easter! 


  1. You are so brave to take a toddler to the vigil! That’s awesome!

    1. Thanks-I still don't know if we were being brave or just plain ridiculous. I kept telling him to fall asleep like his toddler-friend behind us, but at least he was happily awake. In all honesty, I think this year's vigil was easier than last year, because last year he was almost one, so not fully cognizant of his surroundings, but no longer in the "tiny baby who sleeps peacefully" stage either.

  2. Happy Easter AnneMarie and family! Love your walk idea, and how nice that things went fairly well at the long liturgies. That would make me smile to see a toddler excited about the fire - it's my favorite part too!