I enjoyed a nice day off today. A REAL day off. The kids had school, and I, conveniently, did NOT!
I started the day off with Mass. There is something that draws me there time after time, week after week, year after year - even on days off. I remarked to one of the other people - someone I've seen there a couple of times a week for a couple of years, but I have no idea her name - that "this" is the best part of our day. She agreed.
The homily today was about compassion - being in someone else's skin. And God is the model of compassion - having sent His son to "be in our skin". We are called to live out of this compassion. And to do this, the good father says, means we have to fast. Not from TV or chocolate, he says, but from the things we do that send us to confession - assuming that we are humble enough to go to confession. (That's what he said.) Fasting AND confession in the same breath?
OK - I get the point there, but don't you think that if I could, I would? Just avoid all the things that I end up confessing - wouldn't that make everyone's life better? Maybe it's just a matter of trying a little harder, submitting to God's grace a little more?
I came home, got the kids up and out of the house, opened car doors in the car rider line, and then came back home. I could get used to that, real fast! I prayed Morning Prayer in the peacefulness of my own house, and then decided - what the heck - let me check out the Office of Readings. In the back of my Christian Prayer book there are various biblical and non-biblical readings for various seasons of the year. I don't often look back there because life is just too hectic, but it's Lent, and I had time on my hands.
So I looked at the first "non-biblical" reading for Lent - a sermon by Peter Chrysologus. It was titled "Prayer knocks, fasting obtains, mercy receives". Sounded interesting enough. It is too long to put here, but I found it on the internet. I was impressed that a normal person could understand it. (In my search I saw that Chrysologus means "Golden-Worded"). The sermon spoke of fasting, prayer, and mercy and how they are intertwined. Worth the time to read it. The last sentence jumped off the page at me, though: "You will not be allowed to keep what you have refused to give to others." There's food for thought there.
This started off to be about my day, but it has meandered into other territories. I had a list of things to accomplish and I think I scratched off all of them except getting the car inspected, because "Monique just left and we're short-handed." Doctor's office, school board office, scout office. Done.
Picked up the kiddos from school, and they accompanied me to the Stations of the Cross at church later in the evening. There were lots of people there! I would estimate that the church was nearly half full; I was amazed. Kid # 1 pulled on my shoulder at about the Third Station and asked, "Mom, are these the REAL Stations of the Cross? I pointed to the cover of the booklet that said "Biblical Stations of the Cross". I have no real preference; I know these booklets smell a whole lot better than the ones we had a couple of years ago with the "Real Stations", but I was informed by both offspring afterwards that they prefer the "real" stations. Apparently there was too much "background information" with these; they would rather jump right in with Jesus being condemned.
And so the day draws to a close and so does this post. There was one other thought that I saw that I wanted to pass along to those who might not have seen. Pope Benedict in his Ash Wednesday address noted, "Man is dust and to dust he shall return, but he is precious dust in God's eyes, because God created man for immortality. " Precious dust.