Monday, March 28, 2016

A blessed & contemplative Easter, and reflections on the impact Mother Angelica had on my faith life...

A beautiful (but dreary skies) good morning to you all on this Easter Monday. *heart* I know, I know, my schedule has been all wacky lately. I'm back to my usual teaching schedule and yet I'm blogging on a Monday. Why, you reasonably ask? Well, I'm *making* time, because I have a lot on my heart this morning, and when that happens, I simply HAVE to write about it.

I'll start back with the Triduum and work my way forward in time, if that's OK. Grab your tea. :)

I was able to attend all of the Triduum liturgies at my parish, and it was SUBLIME. I was mostly solo this year, aside from the Good Friday service which Anne attended with me, and then Easter morning when all four of us attended as a family (bliss). So it gave me a lot of time for prayer and thinking.

 On Holy Thursday, I was sitting in the pew and teared up when the Gloria began for the first time since back in Ordinary Time. I spent some time by the altar of repose after the Mass, thinking about how quickly life goes by, and how grateful I am for my own. And on Good Friday, with a very active Anne squirming around in the pew with me, I was humbled beyond measure when we returned to our seats following the veneration of the cross:

"Mommy, I didn't get a turn! I want to kiss Jesus too!"

"Oh! I didn't know you wanted a turn too, Honey. The line is rather long right now, but when the end comes closer to us, we'll slip in the back of it, OK?"

"Yes. That's our chance, Mommy."

I mean, did you ever? SO.PRECIOUS. I just couldn't stand it. And indeed, when a break came in the line, Anne hustled me up for her chance to kiss Jesus.

And then came the Easter Vigil. It's just...


We didn't even have any Catechumens receiving the sacraments this year, and that's when the waterworks REALLY come out! But even still, that liturgy just brings me to my knees.

My parish, just after the Easter Vigil concluded.
I arrived early, so that I could finish praying my rosary before Mass began. Excitement is always in the air during the preparation for the Easter Vigil, and I wanted to be a part of it. Indeed, as you can see from the photo, Father starts the fire INSIDE our church, lol! We live in WNY. It's COLD here frequently for the Easter Vigil. And this year was no exception, a biting wind howling outside.

When the procession began from the back of the church with the Easter candle, all of us lighting our candles from that one, the church completely dark aside from those little flickering flames, I couldn't help but think of... all of you. I thought about each of you who has reached out to me over the course of the past year or so via the blog or email. I also thought of my Twitter community, who I cherish so deeply. Just before the vigil, I was tweeting with a friend who may be coming to WNY to visit family this summer, and so I may get to meet him in person! (BROTHER JOSEPH!! :0)  A few of our mutual friends joined in the string, and several of them had all met in person prior to this, and thus we were comparing notes as to who has met who in real life.

And so all of you were on my mind and heart as those little candles increased in number, and the Exsultet began. As anyone who has attended the Easter Vigil knows, the Exsultet is, ahem...LONG. ;-) But beautiful! And standing there with my small candle, I thought about how close I felt to people who are geographically very far from me. But we are all united together in the faith, and in our prayers. We are the Church Militant! And I feel SO BLESSED to have you all as a part of my life. So then I cried again, about that. :0

#SoEmotional #GodBlessMyPatientHusband

Easter morning we hid baskets, ate chocolate, and headed to 10 am Mass as a family. An absolutely beautiful day followed, including an egg hunt and a dinner that we hosted for our parents, complete with a preparatory tornado session of me spring cleaning the house. ;-)

Yesterday evening after our company left, all of the dishes were washed, and the kids were in bed, I sat down to lose myself in my Twitter feed for a short respite. Immediately, I saw that Mother Angelica had passed away.

Mother Angelica, to sum it up in two sentences, is very important to me. She was also, in the years before social media came and blessed us all ;-), partly responsible for me coming back to my Catholic faith and feeling a part of the global Church.

So I saw the article, and everyone talking about it on Twitter, and then I started crying again. Do you see a theme here for this Easter season? :-)

Mother Angelica was one of those people that lived during my lifetime, but whom I never had the opportunity to meet in person, yet had an enormous impact on my life. When my spiritual life was at its' lowest, and I saw an Advent candle icon on the corner of my television screen on EWTN, it evoked a strong emotional reaction in me toward my childhood faith. I count that moment as critical in my reversion back to the Church. And that moment happened as a result of EWTN. And EWTN happened because of Mother Angelica.

I started watching the evening shows: "Mother Angelica Live," "The Journey Home," "The World Over," and "Life on the Rock." By watching those, I felt a part of something larger. There were *other* people out there who loved the Lord and who loved their Catholic faith. And by watching those shows, recorded live, I felt like I was a part of it in some small way. I felt part of a *community.* Long before Facebook and Twitter, this provided meaning and depth to me in a way I couldn't articulate back then. I just knew that it was terribly important to me.

Now, I can see how this has all come full circle for me. My community here and on Twitter feed my desire for fellowship with our larger community of faith. But EWTN got that all started for me at a time during which I needed it the most. Just prior to that, I was headed down a dark path. If that small seed of faith within my heart had not been reawakened, who knows what would have become of me.

I absolutely loved Mother's joyous laugh, her sense of humor, her ability to seemingly put everyone at ease and have straightforward, off-the-cuff conversations with them. Her faith made mine come back to life. I will always be grateful to her for that.

And so, with the rest of her global community of fans, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike, I mourn her passing. The poignancy of her death coming on Easter has not gone unnoticed. I miss her already.

How about all of you? How was your Easter? And do you have any memories of Mother Angelica to share? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments. :)


  1. We got to the Vigil Mass realllly early. The last time I went, there were many more Catechumens than this year, and it was packed. Not so much this year, but that's okay. I was able to pray my rosary, too.
    I was hit with the SAME feeling when we were lighting the candles, and through the Exsultet! All of the names of people I have met over the past year came into my heart, and it was like we were all there together. It was a really beautiful moment (and by moment, I mean a long string of moments).
    I loved being there to support Jake! It was great to watch him receive his sacraments. When Mary asked him later how he felt, the only word he could use to describe it was "light." :)
    I think I'll be going solo to the Vigil next year and then joining the family for Easter Mass on Sunday. They enjoyed going because of Jake, but I don't think I'll be able to get them to come again.

  2. Aw, Samantha, yay!! It was quite a meaningful long string of moments, to be sure! The darkness and candlelight really call such feelings to mind. I am SO thrilled for Jake and for you all. What a beautiful way he had of describing it! Indeed, I would love for our family Easter Mass to be the Vigil, but I doubt they would all enjoy the long haul that is the Easter Vigil Mass as much as I do. So it'll likely be a "me thing," with family Easter Mass in the morning. But that's OK! I'll take it. I find such poignancy in both.

  3. Unfortunately my Easter shall I put it?...not good. :( My son started throwing up Saturday evening, so we didn't get to do anything together as a family on Easter - my husband and I had to go to separate Masses and split up attending family events so we could stay home with him all day Sunday. Poor thing, he didn't get to dye Easter eggs or even eat his candy. So disappointing in so many ways!!! Please pray that the rest of the family doesn't catch his stomach virus... I have out of town family visiting next weekend, and I really don't want sickness to ruin another special event!!

    1. Oh Cindy!! I'm so sorry! Prayers for healing & solace for all of you.

  4. At Easter Vigil this year, my husband and I entered the Church - he by profession of faith and me by baptism. What a mountaintop experience! We were both raised Methodist and raised our children in the Methodist church. Our son converted when he married our precious daughter in law and encouraged us to learn more about Catholicism - and now here we are! It's been such an amazing, joyous journey!

  5. BETH!!! Oh my goodness, welcome home!! You're going to make me cry again! :0


Thank you for commenting! I read and appreciate every single one, and I will respond to each one personally!