Birthday Weekend and Spanish Mass!

My husband and I spent this past weekend celebrating my birthday: the big quarter century.  Yahoo!  He knows how I like to be surprised, and try as he might, I still found out what he got me before my birthday (accidentally, of course)!   It was a great weekend complete with flowers, breakfast in bed, SeaWorld (although it rained) AND the beach (to make up for the rain at SeaWorld the day before!).
Me clobbering Mike at SeaWorld

Me clobbering Mike at SeaWorld

Also, my friend Angela made me a birthday cake a mere 24 hrs before her water broke and she went into labor!  [FYI: the baby was born on Saturday, one day after my birthday…so close!]  AND I got the office ceremonial “Happy Birthday” balloon passed to my desk.  After three years that thing still has air in it!
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The drab office next door…at least mine has windows!

It was an awesome weekend and I’m especially thankful for my husband who went to the ends of the Earth to make it all possible.  To top off the great weekend we also went to Spanish Mass on Sunday night.  I think in the last month we’ve definitely gone to mass in Spanish more than in English and despite not being anywhere near fluent in Spanish, I get a lot out of it.  In fact, I really enjoy it.  The Mass is liturgically exactly the same in whatever language you go to it in [part of being part of the Catholic (universal) Church], although culturally you can observe different things.  For example, at this Spanish Mass they always recognize people who have a wedding anniversary or birthday in that month and the whole congregation sings the “Happy Birthday” song (the Spanish version)!  Obviously this was especially cool for me this past Sunday :)  Also, when we say the “Our Father/Padre Nuestro” right before sharing “the Peace/la Paz”, everyone holds hands and sways and sings it in the most beautiful melody and its almost like time stops because the whole world is at peace.

See for me, going to Spanish Mass is a bit nostalgic too, because it brings me back almost three years ago to the time that I wasn’t Catholic.  I had been to Mass in English many times before, but I would go with Mike to Spanish Mass since I think it reminded him of home (and also, yes, Spanish Mass is usually later in the day and everyone knows Mike likes to sleep!).  I can remember sitting there in the pew, not knowing anything about what was going on and not even caring because I had some alone time with my thoughts to just contemplate who I was becoming and where I was going and to just…be.  It was a good time to just reflect.   It was also where I first saw deep reverence for the Eucharist.  Culturally, Hispanics are more traditional in that they don’t take the Eucharist (communion) without having first gone to confession and being absolved of any mortal sins (which is a teaching of the Church although some cultures tend not to adhere to this as well anymore).

Translation: this was the first time I saw professing Catholics not go up to receive communion.

Huh?  Why weren’t they going up?   Wasn’t that the whole point of being Catholic, so you could go up and thumb your nose at everyone sitting in the pew and tell them they were going to hell?  (The sad part is that isn’t really an exaggeration from what I thought…I know, sophisticated).  Before I guess I just saw communion as a time to focus on what I wasn’t: Catholic, and therefore I was excluded because they excluded me, (as opposed to be being the other way around).  It wasn’t until I went to Spanish mass that I saw people truly revere the Eucharist and respect the true presence of Jesus Christ enough to know when they weren’t in full communion with Him and His Church and be humble enough to admit it.  To respect this great God that has given us so much, including these amazing Sacraments, and to honor them.  It wasn’t about being exclusionary, being mean and not letting people into the “cool club”, or just trying to get people to join so that the Church could take all their money.  No, it was and is about communion and coming together in a common belief and celebrating this unity.

Yes, it was nice to focus on all the things worth celebrating on my birthday weekend :)

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2 thoughts on “Birthday Weekend and Spanish Mass!

  1. Happy Birthday!! I’m sorry I pestered you with emails during it – I wouldn’t’ve if I’d known! :) It sounds like you two had a great time!

    “Wasn’t that the whole point of being Catholic, so you could go up and thumb your nose at everyone sitting in the pew and tell them they were going to hell? (The sad part is that isn’t really an exaggeration from what I thought…I know, sophisticated). Before I guess I just saw communion as a time to focus on what I wasn’t: Catholic, and therefore I was excluded because they excluded me, (as opposed to be being the other way around). … It wasn’t about being exclusionary, being mean and not letting people into the “cool club”, or just trying to get people to join so that the Church could take all their money. No, it was and is about communion and coming together in a common belief and celebrating this unity.”

    Well said, and a great reflection of my former sentiments! I was completely me-centered, except when I saw a chance to criticize the Catholics I thought were being hypocritical. (Not that I’m not still self-centered – but I’m trying to do better!)

    On a semi-related note, I read somewhere that the difference between Protestant and Catholic worship is that Protestants focus on pleasing the congregation and Catholics focus on pleasing God. I thought that was a very interesting way of looking at it.

  2. So I’m super-late in reading your blog, which is strange, because I love blogs & used to keep one regularly (anyone remember xanga?!). However. I had to comment on this one. I absolutely love your love for your faith. It renews mine. I just wanted to share that w/ you.

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