The stuff of life
Sunday was an amazing day. The Romanian Catholic Bishop, John Micheal Botean, came to visit our parish. We were in church 3 hours, and loved every minute of it. There were sung Matins, with 6 cantors, the church in semi-darkness, with lots of candles burning. I sure wish I would have had my camera. My own dear husband is one of the cantors, and I was edified watching him pray in such a beautiful way.
Then the 10 altar boys processed out from the altar, through the iconostas, dressed in their cassocks and carrying their folded vestments. The bishop blessed the vestments, and the boys processed back to the sacristy, and robed for Liturgy. Then began the Vesting of the Bishop. It was so beautiful. The Bishop stood in the aisle of the church, about 1/3 of the way back, in his cassock. One of the deacons began chanting the vesting hymns. With each article of his vestisure, there was a unique prayer comparing each article to the armor of a warrior. I wish I had the text to share with you, but trust me to say it was dignified, symbolic, humble, prayerful, and holy. Then the lights went on, and Divine Liturgy began. I have only been to a Pontifical Liturgy one other time, and it is a stunning service. When the bishop gives blessings during the Liturgy, he holds two candlabras, one with two candles, representing the two natures of Christ, and one with three candles, representing the Holy Trinity. Every motion, every prayer, every puff of inscence and procession are full of ancient and timeless theology. What a great way to pray!!
Then, we went home to eat and change, as the parish picnic was that afternoon. It turned out that more than a few people lived far enough away that they didn't want to go all the way home, so they were just going to wait at the church, with no food, for 2 and a half hours. So, they were promptly invited to our home, where I had such delictible delights as hard boiled eggs, bagles and cream cheese, OJ and coffe. Simple, but it did the trick. The biggest suprise was that the Bishop came over, too, as he needed a little break after that awesome Liturgy. I am glad I didn't know he was coming or I would have been all frantic trying to get the house and yard perfect. It was a great honor to give hospitality to our Bishop.
Then, off to the picnic. My four year old son went straight to the ponies, and he didn't leave the entire picnic. He was SO cute to watch. Earnest, delighted, and as thrilled as could be. He rode each of the four ponies at least 10 times. He didn't even eat until the picnic was technically over, so as not to miss a second with those ponies.
I found such exquisite delight in him that day, but then found out later that someone I respect very much suffered an incredible tragedy with her 4 year old son at nearly the exact same time. This in so heartbreaking, and I just can't make any sense of it. I am grieving so much for this family, and holding my own son even more closely to my heart, and hugging him more tightly when ever I have the chance. *sigh* Please pray for this family.
Anyway, then we came back home with a few other families who wanted to continue the party, grilled up a slew of hamburgers, and continied until midnight. What a full, full day. So full of life, sadness, grace, and eternal questions. Boggles the mind.
So, yesterday, we had many of my oldest's friends over to spend the night because my courageous husband is taking my son and 6 of his friends to Six Flags today. Also, 4 of my brother's children spent the night, so we had 15 children sleeping here last night. We couldn't believe it. Only 2 had to sleep on the floor, and it was quiet by 10:30. I guess we have the perfect situation for hospitatlity. Praise God!
So, that's the latest. I will attempt to fix my picture situation and add the hilareous photo of my son when he opened his brand new Swiffer. It is priceless.
As I close I would like to include a prayer for Joshua Michael and his family, should you care to join with me:
O Lord, You are the joy and solace of the afflicted and the sheild of the fainthearted. In your compassion, comfort those who are in mourning. Give rest in the bosom of Abraham to your departed servant Joshua who died in the hope of rising to eternal life. For you are a gracious God and You love mankind, and we glorify You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (+), now and ever and forever. Amen.
May his memory be eternal!