Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Thursday 101/365

My day started with the Fed Ex man. I went out to meet him when he drove up and carried in a very nice sized box. In the box was this beautiful package. Apparently this is my birthday gift from my mom. But my birthday isn't for 2 more weeks!!
That means I have to stare at this lovely thing for two weeks!

It's currently sitting on the breakfast table where I can stare at it all day long, and William says I'm not even allowed to touch it. Sigh. It is really beautiful.
In other news, and most importantly, today is Holy Thursday.  I'd never heard of Holy Thursday before this year but Catholics world wide observe and celebrate it every year. It's the Thursday before Easter and it celebrates the night Jesus had his "Last Supper" with his friends.

I went to my first Holy Thursday mass tonight and it was wonderful. I don't know if all Holy Thursday masses are celebrated the same way everywhere but I would totally recommend checking it out sometime. It was a much longer service than the usual one hour service, but it was very uplifting and very interesting.

When I walked into the church they handed me a little sliver bell. At the beginning of the service we sang a very happy "Hallelujah" song and every one in the church rang their bells. They ran them all very loudly and vigorously. It was super fun.
Apparently during the time of Lent no bells and rung and all the masses are very somber. It's a time of reflecting and there are no bells or celebrating. So when Holy Thursday comes around it's the first time that bells are rang and it's a time of celebrating. It's a time of remembering the first time Jesus gave his disciples the Eucharist (or what Protestants call Communion). 

Anyway, the night before Jesus was killed he had dinner with his friends and he washed their feet as a sign of love and service to them. So, after the Priest gave his homily he washed the feet of all 11 alter boys. It was very sweet and very moving. He then gave communion to each boy before serving it to the rest of the people in the church.

After communion the rest of the crackers, which represents Christ and to Catholics is the actual body of Jesus, was taken out of it's special holding place, wrapped several times in very lovely fabric and carried out of the church building! Then, after a while, the priest came back and took everything out of the front of the church. All the candles removed, the drapery on the alter, the decorative tables, even the flowers were taken away. And then they turned out the lights.

They told us that "Jesus had left the building".

On the night before Jesus was killed he had dinner with his friends and then he went to a garden to pray for his friends.  So tonight the church created a little garden in the school gym with flowers and candles. After the official mass was over many of us when home. But many people stayed to pray, think, or read spiritual books.  They told me that "the garden" would be open till midnight and anyone was welcome to come and "be with Jesus".

It was a very interesting night and I came home on a high. It was totally different than anything I've ever experienced before. I loved sitting there watching the priest fold the drapery from the alter and thinking about how the same thing was happening in catholic churches all over the world.  It was a night of being somber and prayerful but also of being joyful and thankful.

At the end of the service everyone returned their bells, but I brought mine home for Baby Girl since she stayed home with William.  I thought she'd really like it and I wanted to share something of my night and this wonderful service with her.

If they could see how happy this little bell made her I'm sure no one would mind that I took it. She ran around saying "BELLLL" and shaking it and giggling...
and then she put it on her nose and ran around the house laughing until she dropped it.
Happy Holy Thursday. My the love and peace and joy of the gifts God has given us be in your heart and enrich your life.

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