MS negotiates Holy Week
Friends- my blog takes an aspect of my life living with multiple sclerosis and then pokes gentle fun of that aspect. For me, religion is a big part of my life and thus, is where this particular blog post developed. Please don’t let the religious topic alienate you as I think whether or not you attend Church, you will relate to some of the things I mention.
BUT, if you’re looking for some faith based fun and inspiration, all the better!
I grew up a casual Catholic, receiving the main kid/young adult sacraments while hardly ever going to church. Then I unofficially stepped away from my faith for a bit- meaning, I got lazy and just didn’t think about it too much.
Somewhere between 10-15 years ago God compelled me to walk back into the church of my childhood and I instantly realized all that I had missed. The point being, I am now a practicing, pretty devout (although that word is hard to define,) Catholic. And so I should be pretty familiar with how and when things go when it comes to Mass.
Leave it to multiple sclerosis to throw that off a bit!
You can probably guess some of the obvious ways that MS tries to mess with my faith, like when it comes to fatigue. Since there is a shortage of priests (anyone thinking of becoming a priest- do it! The church needs you and no worries, the vestments are way cooler than they used to be!) my parish priest is actually the priest of two parishes which means Mass on Sundays is at 8:30 AM.
Who the hell, oops, I mean heck, is even up at that hour???? There’s no way MS is going to let me get out of bed at that time every Sunday. Luckily, there is a vigil mass the night before.
Of course the cognitive difficulties don’t help, especially since just last year the powers that be revamped the wording of some crucial and common elements of Mass.
(Ok, they actual made these changes several years ago but it seems just like yesterday.)
When someone says “Peace be with you,” if you respond “And also with you,” you haven’t been to Mass in a really, really long time.
Or you have MS.
(If you start thinking of Darth Vader that just means you’re a child of the 70’s.)
If you are Catholic and are constantly trying to figure out the best time during Mass to use the restroom without being too disrespectful, you may have MS.
And you would think the whole stand, sit, stand, kneel, stand, kneel, sit again thing would be tough but since it’s really the only exercise I’ve been getting lately, I’m ok with it.
But this Holy Week MS threw some different church related issues my way.
It started at the Palm Sunday vigil. My friend and I had gone together and we both wanted to make Lenten confessions. She went in first and was in there for a really, really long time!!
What could she possibly be confessing too??? The whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa?
Since our priest had to start Mass soon I was getting pretty anxious, so much so that as she opened the door to the confessional, I grabbed her and yanked her out!
(Ok, that’s not quite true. There was actual a guy ahead of me. It was him who I really yanked out.)
Back in our pews, we suddenly heard this booming voice from hidden speakers welcoming us to church. Mass usually starts with a hymn. I grasped the pew and began looking all around. Was this it? Was Jesus returning to Earth, right then in my little parish?
Ok, if it was, that would be a good thing but I must have looked a little panicked anyway as my friend giggled and reminded me that the voice was our Priest using a microphone from the vestibule behind us, blessing the palms before the opening hymn.
I’ve been to Palm Sunday masses several times. I should have known this but I guess this little bout of confusion is a good reminder to be prepared, HE can return at any time.
Then there was the issue of where to put my palms. They are long and delicate and there is really no place to put them. My friend was on the inside of our pew and nobody was next to her so she had tons of room to lay her palms down. I did not. I certainly couldn’t put them on the floor- these were a symbol of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem; the floor was no place for palms. It didn’t seem right to put them behind me in case I crushed them or sat I them. This became quite a frustrating problem. I finally to decided to put them in the little box where the church keeps the missals.
My palms promptly started to fall to the floor. I saved them just in time and then did my best to carefully prop them in the spot so that they would safely stay there. The problem was solved just as my priest arrived to bless them and I had to quickly disassemble and raise them, only to get them blessed and start the safely propping process all over again.
My friend just shook her head in disbelief.
MS and I managed Holy Thursday and Good Friday ok. The next issue came at the Easter vigil.
Due to the two parish issue this service was being held at the OTHER church. My priest needs to alternate this service yearly since it is a long Mass and this year was THEIR turn.
I don’t like it. I like my church. My church is perfect. My church does everything perfectly, including collection.
See, at my church we have ushers who have baskets with long handles and all you have to do is toss your money into it. If your aim is bad, that’s ok because the ushers enjoy playing a fun game of catch the bills with their baskets and it always works out ok.
But the OTHER church has a basket they pass around and I’m just not used to that. I was at the vigil with another friend and when the basket came to her, she went to hand it to me and my hand did one of those MS jumpy/leapy things, the same jumpy/leapy thing that causes me to accidentally flip my flip phone into the air. (And my friends want me to upgrade to a smartphone- yea right, like that would be smart. Total MS random thought, if I am constantly, unintentionally flipping my flip phone would I actual learn to be smarter with a smart phone?)
Anyway, back to the collection basket. When my hand did the jumpy/leapy thing that could also be clumsiness but I’m blaming MS like I always do, my friend accidentally jolted the basket and some of the money fell out. She grabbed it and put it back in but was totally mortified. Personally, I thought it was kind of funny.
I didn’t think much of it, until the second collection when the usher wouldn’t give us the basket! Clearly, he no longer trusted us. Wow. Those parishioners at that OTHER parish are so uptight.
Or, perhaps, he was just saving us the embarrassment of another basket fail. Maybe he was actually trying to make it easier for us- no worries for the clumsy ladies- he was on it.
And even though the choir at the OTHER church wasn’t my church’s choir and the stained glass windows weren’t the stained glass windows at my church, they were both pretty cool.
And the people were pretty cool too.
And I suppose Jesus probably doesn’t love THEM more than he loves us. So I guess the point is, we are all in our faith together and we are all brothers and sisters of Christ.
No actually, as this is an MS blog the point has to be about MS.
So, the real point is that, me, life, faith, and God, we can all handle whatever MS decides to throw at us! And sometimes, we’ll even make a joke about it. Or turn it into a blog..
Happy Spring Everyone- HE Is Risen!
(Well actually, he rose like four days ago but my blog comes out on Fridays so there you go…..)
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