On Holy Thursday, I wrote about how I intended to deal with the C&E crowd--how to avoid sinning against charity while attending Mass on the most important day of the liturgical year. Well, here is how I dealt:
I didn't have to. My daughter once told me, "Jesus conquered the Devil, Mama. He conquered him, CONK, right over the head!" That is what happened to me. I was completely conquered by Easter, right over the head. It was right in the middle of renewing our baptismal vows:
Priest. Do you reject Satan?
Me. I do.
Priest. And all his works?
Me I do!
Priest. And all his empty promises?
Me. I DO!
Priest. Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth?
Me. I DO!!!!!!!
And so on. I was utterly conquered with gratitude that I could say those words. Sometimes following the faith seems like a chore, or like an impossible ideal that constantly scoots away from me. On Easter morning, it seemed like a pure gift. It had nothing to do with me or my efforts or my achievements. It was simply the Church saying, "Hey, you. We have something you need. Come and get it."
The folks in the pew in front of us were not saying the words. They were chewing their gum and looking uncomfortable, and my heart lurched with pity. I remembered an image from Humanities class many years ago: the life of man is like a sparrow who flies in from the dark and cold and storm into a mead hall. For a brief moment he streaks through the warmth and brightness, and then out the other end he goes, back into the dark and the storm.
How tragic to flit into the house of God for an hour, and then to point yourself back into the dark again. How ridiculously lucky I am that the Church looked at my muddy, squirmy family and says, "Come, you don't have to leave! Why not build a nest here?"
As the world becomes more and more hostile to our faith, it's easier and easier to see the Church for what she really is: a safe haven, a place of warmth and delight. May the risen Christ conquer you all over the head with the blessings of Easter. And this is Friday, but a Friday in Easter, don't forget to raise a tankard of mead in His honor!