I never thought I would see the Lent - and Holy Week - in which I did not make it to Ash Wednesday Mass, or to Maundy Mass, or to confession. So there's a first. Yet it's also a first in which I stuck to my Lenten vows.
How did I not make it to those three? It's called a new job. What, how did you not make it to confession? Well, I did make it to confession, in a sense. I went on a Wednesday evening after work this holy week (I got off early) to a parish that has regular scheduled confessions at that time, but at the time I went, there was a notice posted on the doors that said there was no confession tonight because all the priests have gone to some chrism mass. I went into the church nonetheless to just make sure, and sure enough, no welcoming little green light with the door ajar, but people practising their voices for Easter vigil Mass.
I don't know how true all that "intention" stuff is; you know, if you make the effort to go to confession and something prevents it that is out of your power then the absolution still applies. Though, of course you still have to confess as you would when you get the opportunity, or make the opportunity.
Once, I lined up for confession (well, I was the only one in line) before a Vietnamese mass, and the priest came out and said to go to him after mass for confession and that I could go up for communion.
Once, I was in line for confession (at the same parish) before mass and the time for mass came about before I could get into the confessional (same priest doing confession as does the mass, and there were people before me) and the lady who was standing next to me explained that I could go up to communion, explaining the intention thing.
That the Sacraments transcend time and our linear undertsanding of it is no stumbling block to me, but I wonder. I once listened to a priest tell about how Mass has already started when you make the intention to go...very profound stuff. Yet the Sacraments operate within time.
I know this new job is God's will for me (I may explain it later), and think He has been showing me something this Lent and Holy Week (of course God is showing everybody something all the time). I'll admit that I have too often gone into confession as though the whole thing was dependent on my own strength, or my own effort; not predominantly, but there is a tinge of it; sometimes more than a tinge. But a tinge is enough.
Maybe there is a part of me that doesn't quite believe in God's forgiveness, or more accurately, believes in the forgiveness but doesn't quite own it. No, it is perhaps a matter of trusting more and more, which if we do not do, we relapse; we start to go backwards.
Recently the word that has been growing in my mind is that everything, everything, comes to naught. And that this is good news. For everything will come to naught but for a New Thing. (This is sounding more grim than I intended...words slip, slide, perish, not what I really intended and all that.) The light of the resurrection blasts away our Lenten offerings and devotions, our good intentions with the bad ones (not an excuse to cease devotions, offerings, and intentions, etc.). In the midst of our strife we are called away, and some simple questions are asked of us: what did you do for Me - clothe Me, feed Me, shelter Me, visit Me?
I love Holy Saturday, for its mixture of both Good Friday and Easter Sunday, or as a space between them both, being the silent aftermath of one and the tingling anticipation of the other. I wish everyone would speak in hushed tones on this day; this day of each-man-to-his-own, before the stone door is rolled away. Instead of getting their turkeys and hams.