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April 21, 2011


Thank you for sharing this, Beth. Having been raised Catholic, I also like the ritual sense of the high-drama church holidays. But I really appreciate what you've said here: "I like Holy Week, because the light that comes through is always stronger than the darkness - and I think that's the point of actually observing a so-called penitential season." All my life I've been trying to sort through the legacy of faith as it has been complicated by the history of colonialism in my context: my (our) sense of guilt is doubled at least by that much. I'm still trying to get to that goal you also describe: how to live a life that is "lighter, happier, clearer, and better able to cope with [self], with ... relationships, and with the ups and downs of life."

Great post! I had an intriguing encounter with a woman at work yesterday who asked me why it was called "Good Friday" when crucifixion is so gruesome. I talked about the idea of atonement, that the crucifixion was necessary so that we could all go to Heaven, but I said that I didn't believe that. I said that I believed that Jesus came to show us how to live right here and now, not in some distant day. I talked a bit about God and love (and let me hasten to add, I wouldn't have said any of this, if she hadn't asked questions; I'm not that kind of evangelist).

At the end, she said, "I like this idea, this God of love." She acted like the idea was brand new to her, and I thought about how sad it is that the idea of a God who loves us is so unfamiliar to non-believers.

What a thoughtful and interesting post. Thanks Beth.
I always feel a little displaced at Easter, as if I should be celebrating something but am not permitted to join in. Perhaps because I can't really accept the version of Christianity that appears to have been created, modified and adapted to fit in which whoever was in power at various times during the last 1600 years or so. And all that wealth and power residing in the Vatican. And the way in which religion tells people to be meek and non-complaining until they're required to go fight in some Holy War.
But still Easter always touches something inside me.
Perhaps I need to see the religion of my forefathers through my own, slightly sceptical and very scientific eyes and find a view of it that fits with my own beliefs and ignore that which clashes and grates?
Apologies, you got me thinking...

Hearing you sing brought me back to church on Good friday...great voices. The anglican ritual is different...a lot more singing...wet somehow alike the catholic...the church, the priest...
I was in a filled Nicaraguan chruch on "mercredi des cendres" thanking God for having protected me throughout my journey there...it was easy and simple to do so then. Here, it's a lot more complicated for me to pray. Nevertheless, thank you for inviting me.

I long for the serenity you find in your belief. And I envy your self-knowledge. These posts about your church and approach to religion always make me want to visit Montreal. I think I imagine there is something special up there.

A very contemplative post, perfect for me as I "catch up" with Lent and Easter after focusing so intently on my surgery preparations and recuperation. I have fallen away from weekly mass, from being an active participant in a parish, and so too, my family has followed suit. It makes me smile, though, when they are all so concerned about not eating meat on Fridays, which I always considered an anachronistic observance in a world where seafood is much more costly than the price of meat.

At the office, there is a lot of talk about what people gave up and how they are doing and what services attended, and the Ash Wednesday rush to get ashes. I try to stay quiet about it all and not join in. I agree to get ashes with them until I am told that no, we won't stay for Mass, we'll just run in and get on line, and then leave, so as not to take more time than our half hour lunch. I decide it best to either go to Mass or not, rather than focus on walking around for the rest of the day as a "good Catholic" with ashes.

Then I caught myself one day, being smug and superior and considering myself not wanting to be the Pharisee telling everyone what my sacrifices were. I realized that those wanting to talk about what they gave up, about the food baskets they assembled, about the charities they give to, were perhaps providing a service, perhaps motivating others to do so. Who was I to question their motivation? And most of all, who was I to question since I was not doing any of these things?

Thank you, Beth, for providing me with an Easter morning morsel to chew on.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.