Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter and the Church (or Leesa Is Going to Hell)

It you have read me for a while, you probably know I am Catholic. If the guilt and Holy Water are not a tip off, my moral views are similar to that of the Church. Yeah, I am a total whack job.

And for those who don't do the whole Catholic Easter experience, Church is a big part of Easter. Here is the run-down:

1. Holy Thursday. This is the start of Holy Week, where the priest washes 12 people's feet. Those with foot fetishes must enjoy this mass. I had my feet washed once by a priest, and the whole time I was thinking, "I hope I don't have fuzz in between my toes." The next Easter I paid closer attention to the feet washing thing, and you really can't see other people's feet unless you are on the alter.

2. Good Friday. This is the mass which is, in my estimation, the most depressing of the masses. It is all about crucifixion, and you exit the Church in silence. One year, a priest actually made us drive nails into a board to symbolize the crucifixion. I wonder how much counseling was generated after that.

3. Holy Saturday (aka Easter Vigil). This is the marathon mass. It is normally 4 to 5 hours. Yes, folks, a whole lot of stuff happens at this Mass. The new Catholics are entered into the Church, normally a mixture of 2nd graders and adults.

4. Easter Mass. This is the most well-attended mass all year, where the C&E Catholics are found. C&E = Christmas and Easter, for those who just like to go to Mass on the big occasions. You know, like the relatives you see at weddings and funerals. They are part of the family and loved, but you don't really know them.

This is not really what I wanted to talk about, though. Consider this as background.

My husband attends Church with me, but sometimes he will skip if he thinks he can get away with it. When we were dating, he would attend Mass four days in a row. Now, however, he may attend two of the four Masses. Perhaps three.

This year, I attended Easter Vigil by myself. I mean, my husband did not want to spend that much time in Church. And this year, someone sat by me. Some guy sat by me, and it may have looked like we were a couple. In Church, I felt . . . uncomfortable. Not because I was doing anything wrong, but because others may have mistaken me for someone else's wife. Sounds weird, but it was an extremely uncomfortable feeling.

Here I was in Church, thinking about the gift Jesus gave us, feeling ashamed of how things appeared to others. Of course, then I started thinking about the kind of company Jesus kept. I hear Mary Magdalene was a real J-bunny. Crap, I think I just made fun of a saint, and I just went to confession last week.

Where is the delete button?


Under the Influence said...

I just wrote about E&C church goers myself. I am afraid in the recent past, my family became E only people since we didn't even manage the C part this past Christmas. I am hoping to fix that, not by adding the C back in, but by starting to attend church more regularly, like we used to!

We are Lutheran and we follow the same Easter Season church schedule from Thursday to Sunday. Foot washing included.

Advizor said...

It is a strange feeling, having someone think you are a "couple" with someone you are not.

I had a very good friend in Houston, with whom I would go running as often as possible when I was in town. At the end of one run, we saw some friends of her and she made introductions and, since I was wearing gloves (it was chilly), they couldn't see my wedding ring.

Later I found out that they had assumed I was her new boyfriend that they had been hearing about. While I was flattered, my friend is quite beautiful, it felt very strange.

LarryLilly said...

I was an altar boy for a couple of years back when mass was said in Latin. As altar boys, you did your first service on a weekday. The whole class (in my year, 8 boys) would go to each and every mass since it would help us learn from other's screw ups. But only two would actual do the service on any given day. Since i was at a catholic school, and the school and church were on the same grounds, we would get posted to do service about every four days, PLUS we always had at least one sunday service since we had 5 services each Sunday.

What always impressed me where the daily churchgoers. The older, truly devout. One couple i remember was a middle age, probably late 50 year old, where the wife had a physical ailment that made her take about 20 minutes to go from the back of the church to the front. Her husband would always be at her side helping her left side as she would walk from pew to pew holding on with her right. They were there the whole time i was at that school, 6 years in all, and I always would think of them especially on Good Friday mass.

Never saw them at the after 8 am sunday service, they were there always at the first 7am service, every day of the week. that is devotion in the truest sense of the word, to each other and to their God.

Tim said...

Great one Leesa! it brought back alot of memories. 16 years of catholic education, altar boy through high school (yes we stole the wine) and I remember as a kid, the best part of Holy Week was getting out of classes to go practice for all the services. It is always sad now since I am divorced and remarried, we can't participate fully.

Funny what goes through your head in church.

SSC~ The Domestic Diva said...

I was raised catholic and then I stopped. It was too much for me. I couldn't handle it I was honestly wanting to be a nun before I entered High school. Clearly that changed.

I like the new reformed in a sense; Christian that I am. Not to step on any toes. I loved the catholic church but what really did it for me was when I was going to take communion at the church I was attending for years. The Father asked me if I was sure I was a catholic. Maybe he was just upset I wasn't going to be a nun!

Anyway back to you funny that you were so concerned about the guy sitting next to you at church. Out of all the places you would think church is the one place that wouldn't judge others yet that is where the biggest hypocrites sit.

Not talking about you, more your fear of others in the church.

Grant said...

Next time you go to confession, get a leg up and confess the things you'll probably do in the near future. "And then next week I'm going to make fun of saints and blog lascivious remarks about hot Japanese women." Then you'll be covered.

kathi said...

Never heard the term J-Bunny, no idea what that means. I'm well aware of who Mary M. is, though, so I suppose I can conjure up my own definition.

Four days...wow. I went to a catholic wedding once, and it was too long. Maybe it's a catholic thing. :)

Leesa said...

Under the Influence: Yeah, Martin Luther kept in the best parts of the Mass, and threw out the corruption of the Church.

Advizor: Yeah, that is the feeling.

Larry: I went to daily Mass but a few times. And there were few in attendance.

Tim: You could participate fully if you do a bunch of stuff through the Church. It normally involves lawyers and Rome, but you get to drink the watered down wine after that.

SSC: I think the Catholic Church looses more people from treatment at the Eucharist.

Grant: Er, you are not Catholic, are you? You have to not try and commit the sins. You can't say, "I will try not to but I will probably ridicule a saint on the Internet in the next few weeks.

Kathi: Grant uses "J bunny". I think it means beautiful/hot Japanese woman. Since Mary M was "Jewish", I sort of implied a different meaning.

Tim said...

We tried that Leesa... Did I tell you that my first wife was Satan?? ha ha

Xmichra said...

lol.. the nailing of boards??!!! wow..

I grew up being a good little catholic girl, and remember the four day ritual. I remember even more, the decission to combine confirmation with saturday vigil... SEVEN HOURS TWENTY MINUTES!! I just about got sick I was so thirsty...

I get really antsy about things that appear to be but which are not. I think in situations where decorum is required it gets intensified. I had similar thoughts at my daughters x-mas play two years ago. Sitting beside a man who's niece was sitting right beside my daughter, so we were even taking photos in the same direction. I wanted to just blurt out something obvious like "your niece is beside my daughter!" just to make it clear to others...lol.. however my craziness passed and I let it go.

Ian Lidster said...

Thank you for the theological lesson. Really, it was very interesting, and your always infectuous Leesa wit made it even more so.

Gary Baker said...

My first lesson in Catholicism was watching "The Trouble with Angels" with Rosalind Russell and Haley Mills. For any of you who might not have seen it, I would recommend it. It's a delightful, if dated, comedy. I think what I find so appealing is that it treats everyone in the story as a real person. So many writers seem to treat devout characters as 2-D, cardboard cutouts. It gets depressing.

It may be true that the biggest hypocrites are sitting in church. I hope so. Frankly, I can't think of any place more likely to help them overcome their (our) hypocrisy.

d.a.r. said...

Just found your blog via brown-eyed girl (saw your comment re: MILs and was immediately drawn in because I feel the exact same way...). I adore your blog. This is a great post. My husband also thinks that our bed is a better place to be than mass. I have quit asking him to go, and I think that makes him feel guilty so he comes along as well.

And yeah, we drove nails into wooden crosses this year. It was really awkward, especially for the 90 year old man standing in line in front of me.

I go with my best friend now that my husband is deployed...she has a baby and we always joke that we look like a lesbian couple and what other people must think of us...

Malach the Merciless said...

Ahhh, now you see why Malach is a lapsed Catholic!

Leesa said...

Tim: sorry to hear about it. I have listened to a talk on the subject, and I am not sure this issue has anything to do with reason.

Xmichra: I don't think you are crazy at all.

Ian: lesson from a sinner, I suppose.

Gary: thanks for the suggestion. It looks interesting.

d.a.r.: oh, you are so sweet.

Malach: your Catholic experiences helped make you who you are.