Monday, June 16, 2008

I thank Thee, O Lord my God . . .

. . . that Thou hast not rejected me, a sinner, but hast granted me to be a communicant of Thy holy Things. I thank Thee that Thou hast granted me, unworthy as I am, to partake of Thy pure and heavenly Gifts.
--Thanksgiving after Holy Communion

If there's ever anything to be said for preparing in advance, it's this: When it came to the point yesterday, I almost missed what happened. I don't mean that I didn't get there in time or anything. I mean, it's all kind of a blur in my memory. I don't remember feeling so much this way at our wedding, but I think Julie did. The first thing she needed to do when we got home from our honeymoon was look at the pictures and video, because going through the event itself, it was so hard to take in what was actually going on. In this case, I was so preoccupied with making sure the kids got through everything, that I didn't have much time to contemplate the significance of what was happening. If I had come expecting just to focus all my attention on the liturgy, I would have been sorely disappointed. That's where the days and weeks (years, even) of preparation were a true Godsend.

Actually, the comparison with a wedding is kind of apropos--and not my idea, either. Julie asked me last night if I felt any different after being chrismated. I didn't particularly, and she said it's probably like when people ask at a wedding if you feel married. After thinking a bit, I did remark that it felt somewhat different being in the service, knowing it was going to end with actual communion, vs. so many times when I've been in a service and known it was off-limits. I guess, to stretch the comparison into possible sacrilege, it's kind of like a wedding when you've preserved your virginity until marriage.

As was more or less expected, Jenna didn't exactly cooperate on her sleep schedule. The past few days she's been sleeping until about 6:00. In general, that's better than what she was doing, getting up around 5:00, but this time it might have worked better if she'd got up earlier; she might have been ready to take some kind of a nap before we left. As it was, she was just about ready for a nap but didn't sleep in the car. She was kind of irritable when we arrived, and grumbled until I held her instead of our Godparents. (Does having the same Godparents make us brother and sister?) Even then, she still did her fair share of screeching, grunting, and wriggling. She was also kicking Ian in the head through quite a bit of it, but he seemed to appreciate the distraction, so I didn't intervene too much. The water was a shock to her, but she recovered quickly enough. (At least she was awake--poor Aidan was practically asleep until he hit the water.) After the chrismations were over, and we got her dressed, Julie took her out in the car to nap until it was time for communion.

Ian was looking forward to getting baptized and quite the trooper in the event. He cooperated with two anointings, getting breathed and blown on by Fr. Gregory, a public haircut, and of course the baptism itself. They were trying to get him to kneel down after he got in the water, and he just went ahead and stuck his head in. Fr. Gregory went with it, said the right words, splashed some water to get his back wet, and the thing was done. He was hungry after getting dressed downstairs, so since kids aren't absolutely required to fast, we let him have a quarter of a bagel. We knew we were supposed to get back up in the service for the procession at a certain point, and it came while he was still eating. He had to drop everything, and we ran upstairs, joined the procession already in progress (Orthodox conga line?), then went back down afterward so he could finish his snack, and got back up for the homily and the rest of the service. Communion went off without a hitch, though I was so preoccupied with making sure Jenna got through it OK, that I'm pretty sure I forgot to cross my arms after handing her to Laura. Jim shepherded Ian through the process, who was excited that he got to grab bread out of the basket and share some with Grandpa and Grandma.

Possibly the most poignant moment--because I didn't have to do anything with either of the kids and could actually take in what was going on--was the prayer for the catechumens, when for the first time in a year and a half, I didn't go up. I just stood there and prayed with all my heart for the catechumens who will soon follow.

I'll probably post some pics when they're available.

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