Blessed Feast of the Assumption to all!
I must confess that, having spent far too many years away from the Church, I have only recently become aware that there are such things as holy days of obligation! As a result I’m not aware of which feasts are prescribed such a day, and I’m even more often surprised at which aren’t. So, having finished a morning cardio workout and suddenly becoming aware of what day it was, I was on Duck Duck Go for an answer at 9.30. The mass was at 10.30. I looked at the children still in their pyjamas and I confess, my heart dropped.
I don’t know how I managed it, it could only be by God’s grace, but they were dressed in HDOO finery, I got showered and looking not too shabby myself and in the car with time to spare. That never happens on a Sunday when I start getting ready a considerable amount of time before hand. Like I said, grace in action.
As we arrived at the church there was a small procession of youngsters in white forming. There numbers were too many for alter servers, although their clothes were very similar. Then it occurred to me; this profession du foi that I’d seen in the newsletter was their confirmation.
It’s a blessing here in France that feast days align with national holidays, so when you’re out of practise you get a reminder (as in this morning). But also Catholicism is still in evidence in the culture. So during this time of year you will see large photos of youngsters in their robes, candle in hand in photographers windows, the robes themselves hung outside dry cleaners, cake toppers of confirmation and communion in bakery windows… This is because these events align with the liturgy and therefore are celebrated, or at least have their presence felt, in the wider society. Yearly reminders that Someone is waiting for you.
The church was full and the atmosphere celebratory. My youngest has grown, of course, since we moved here 20 months ago and I was struck by this as I watched her twirl and dance to the opening hymn. It felt like a heartbeat away since her presence in the church meant we felt compelled to sit away from others.
The evidence of her’s and my eldest’ evident maturing have left me a little sad. I felt myself longing for more children which, unless an actual miracle happened, is sadly impossible for us. They love each other so much, kissing and hugging throughout the day. I’m sure this devotion will remain as they continue to grow, but this time and its innocence is so short. Sometimes I have to stop and force myself not to be too busy with life and things, this time is too precious.
It was such a joyful mass and my girls enjoying Bible stories on CD in the car home made these thoughts of their development continue. How do I dig deep furrows to ensure that the Gospel is implanted profoundly in their hearts, where no weeds of doubt will settle and separate them from God?
I’ve spoken a few times of what I want to achieve with this blog (here and here) and at present I’m satisfied that I’m starting to introduce joy of the faith through decorations and devotions to God, Mary and the Saints. Nevertheless I want to extend this in the coming years so that the joy of our faith is never far away.
I’ve decided that this year I will be celebrating Joan of Arc, Therese of Liseaux, and the archangels to add to my celebration last year of All Souls, All Saints and the feasts of Advent prior to Christmas. In that time I want to continue to develop their prayerbook as well as other little Catholic practices. However now I’m starting to think of not just these medium turn plans, but longer term ones as well.
Today should have been a Feast Day. I mean a physical as well as spiritual feast. Why didn’t I prepare one? I‘ve already said that with the prayer book I wanted to start a family recipe collection that specifically celebrated the feasts and when the new liturgical year begins I’m going to start then.
I’ll be focusing my first year on the HDOO and will be planning in advance – just as I do for my wreaths. If you have any way of celebrating feasts through food please let me know in the comments section. I love to learn from others!