Remember, Man, Thou Art Dust

For Ash Wednesday I took the girls to Dom’s office (he works at the chancery) to join him for Mass and then lunch. A nice bonus Cardinal Sean said Mass.

We got there just in time. The chapel was crowded but some people generously moved in so we could all sit together. For the first part of mass the girls were very good. As we sat down I’d noticed a smell and so I had to take Phia out as the first reading began for a preemptive diaper change. Then she was fine through the second reading, gospel and homily. She strained in my lap to see the Cardinal when he began speaking his homily; he has such a deep gravelly voice. Both girls got ashes smeared on their foreheads, which was a little surprising. I didn’t expect a babe in arms to get them.

But at the offertory Sophie started to get a bit fractious. I pulled out a little board book that retold the gospel story of Jesus walking on the waves. (Not my favorite, the illustrations are not lovely and the text is downright clunky and ungracious.) This occupied Sophie for a bit, though she started chattering fairly loudly in excitement.

Then as the Cardinal started into the Eucharistic prayer, she began to fuss and fret at full volume. There was nothing to do but hustle her out into the lobby. We sat there for the duration of Mass. Even though she calmed down as soon as we left the chapel, I knew she was too cranky to go back in. She’d just start crying again. So I let her eat some raisins and rice cakes and I watched part of the Pope’s Ash Wednesday procession on the lobby’s television screen.

As people left Mass many stopped by where we were sitting to ooh and aah over Sophie. Several commented how nice it was to hear a baby at Mass. Not too many small ones at the Pastoral Center’s daily Mass, I guess.

After that we accompanied Dom to the cafeteria for lunch. I had a grilled salmon on spaghetti and shared a fruit salad with Bella. We sat with several of Dom’s coworkers and had a nice visit. Then Anna, one of the ladies in Dom’s group, took Bella up to their office area for a piece of chocolate. (This morning when Dom told her we’d be coming to his office for Mass, Bella announced: “And after Mass, Anna will give me some chocolate.” Two year olds have an amazingly long memory and anything that happens once can be elevated to the status of ritual.)

It was nice to begin our Lenten journey as a family. I suppose that since I’m pregnant and not able to fast, that missing out on the Eucharist is a sort of fast. At any rate, it’s a sacrifice mothers become resigned to having to make every once in a while for the sake of everyone else’s peace.

7 Responses to Remember, Man, Thou Art Dust

  1. Brian Flaherty February 26, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    Yeah but we give something up because it is interfering with our relationship with God.  I think people just give something up that they like with no real connection as to why they are giving it up.  Perhaps it is their “sacrifice” but in the end, are we any closer to God because of it?

  2. mrsdarwin February 27, 2009 at 3:30 am #

    I’ve been giving up sleep for Lent—that is to say, I’m getting up early.  I’m using that early time to say Lauds.  I wish that the rest of my day would fall effortlessly into place…  Baby steps, baby steps.

  3. Melanie Bettinelli February 27, 2009 at 3:45 am #

    mrs d,

    See today’s post. Looks like I might be giving up sleep too. Sometimes—actually, usually, in my experience—God has His own ideas about what I need to give up.

  4. Melanie Bettinelli March 3, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    It was kind of a joke, toungue-in-cheek.

    I’m not actually going to discuss what I am giving up on my blog. But as I see it the point of fasting as I see it is to give up something that gets between you and God. That might be, will be, different for everyone. I don’t think necessarily jumping on the bandwagon and fasting from Facebook or blogging just because everyone is doing it is a good idea. Fasting should involve some personal discernment.

  5. Peter March 3, 2009 at 2:46 am #

    Some have suggested a blog fast, a version of the Facebook Fast that someone suggested.

  6. Melanie Bettinelli March 5, 2009 at 3:58 am #

    “I didn’t know you gave up something that was *getting in the way of* your relationship with God. That is a new take for me, and one that would seem to be less about “giving up” and more about “becoming spiritually healthier.”

    I thought you gave up something that you liked or were accustomed to because the daily abstention from that thing would be a daily reminder of God during Lent. But the thing itself wasn’t necessarily bad. Like chocolate. Yum!”

    Yeah, well they’re not really two different things, more like two different emphases, two sides of the same coin or something like that.

      When you say something is getting in the way of your relationship with God, that doesn’t necessarily mean the thing itself is bad, just that your attachment to the thing might be a tad to strong. Chocolate is good, great, in moderation. But if you eat too much, maybe not so good. In the past I’ve given up reading novels and watching tv for Lent and replaced them with trying to pray more and read spiritual books. Every time I thought about doing them, it reminded me of God but I think I became spiritually healthier too. Thinking more about God is spiritually healthier. Recognizing that we are too attached to things that are good in moderation helps us to keep God in mind. Something like that. I know I can say this more clearly but I’m tired.

  7. Stephanie March 5, 2009 at 4:55 am #

    When my mom was pregnant with me, it was Halloween and apparently she was addicted to small-sized Milky Way bars. I’m sure this is related to your post somehow wink.

    I didn’t know you gave up something that was *getting in the way of* your relationship with God. That is a new take for me, and one that would seem to be less about “giving up” and more about “becoming spiritually healthier.”

    I thought you gave up something that you liked or were accustomed to because the daily abstention from that thing would be a daily reminder of God during Lent. But the thing itself wasn’t necessarily bad. Like chocolate. Yum!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes