And Holy Week was... outside time.
The Scientist Dad defended his dissertation on Monday: He is now officially a PhD! It was a little Easter-before-Easter for the family. Then he whisked me off for three days at the beach--just the two of us (plus in utero child). And, just like our honeymoon, we pretty much just napped the whole time.
Then it was Triduum. I've been getting sick again at night--not hyper emesis, to be sure, but some extreme nausea--so we split Holy Thursday and Good Friday. I went to the Mass, and he hit the Good Friday liturgy. But we boldly (brashly?) took both girls to the Easter Vigil Saturday night. It was very good. Miriam got punch-drunk at about 9.30pm, and Bella spent most of the night in Daddy's arms in the back of the chapel. But both girls seem to deal with exhaustion by getting quieter, rather than fussing, which was a blessing! Miriam was captivated by the three adult, full-immersion baptisms as well as the nine confirmations. She's been chanting the saint names repeatedly for most of this morning.
It was a great grace to watch the children experience the Vigil Mass and the joy of Easter morning. The added weight and aches of late pregnancy have drained me of the usual emotional gifts of the Triduum--the highs and lows just weren't there.
But that in itself is a great gift: So many adults commented last week about which liturgies make them "feel right" or which songs they "simply have to sing at Easter." I know. I am the same way. Good Friday without "O Sacred Head" just seems wrong. And the butchered version of "Adoro Te" (why can't we just stick to Hopkins' masterful translation?) was a real let-down on Holy Thursday.
Things aren't going to be perfect this side of the Jordan. The hope and goal is to grow, not so that our feelings become more acute and not so that our emotions feel ever greater pleasures, but rather so that we grow into other Christs, alter Christus.
In the neuroscience world my husband inhabits, "religious people" are often dismissed as being "those whose brains activate the religious feeling more than usual." The world tells us it's all about the feelings.
The feelings are a gift and great pleasure, but they are always at the service of a greater good: Drawing closer to the person of Christ, who is alive. "Closer" means that our wills are more and more in conformity with the Father's. Our lives are becoming an ever more prevalent "YES" to every moment He gives us--with or without the feelings.
This was my Lenten lesson.