Thursday, April 20, 2006


Shrouded for Holy Week
My friend Bobbi wanted to know why I gave things up for Lent.

"Is it a spiritual thing, or more for discipline?"

I stumbled over my answer, something about sacrifice and wanting to spend that time thinking about what choices I am making everyday.

Lent is gone now and I have a whole selection of candy around the house. I can eat it whenever I like. And I do.

Bobbi is Jewish. She celebrated Passover during the first days of Holy Week. She told me, when we were at dinner last night, that she just spent the whole week not eating bread. I realized I don't know anything about Passover. I remember the angel passing over the houses that had the blood of the lamb on the doorstep. I remember that story. But I don't know much about the holy day itself, and how Jews celebrate it.
Candles at Bromton Oratory
My in-laws are lapsed Jews. The Phillips family came from the Mendoza family, a settlement of Spanish-Portugese Jews in London. My husband and his father and brother look Jewish. But they aren't anymore.

I stopped into the Brompton Oratory in Knightsbridge last week, during Holy Week. It was Holy Thursday. That's the day that Jesus washed the feet of his followers. As it says in the mass it is "the night he was betrayed." The figures of all the saints were shrouded in purple drapes. It was afternoon. A few people, women and men, old and young, were kneeling, here and there, praying. They were alone in their thoughts, but together in their prayer. One woman was saying the rosary in front of a shrouded bulk that was Mary, hidden.

I lit a candle. I prayed too, for my family: my old family and my new one. And for my future family, that I want to have. I thought of each person, individually. And I prayed thoughts for my grandparents, who Mom tells me are always looking out for me. I wondered where they are now, now that Purgatory doesn't exist any more.

I don't think 40 days and 40 nights are enough, but I can make do with that for one small promise.

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