Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Fast Supper

 I always have it in my head that we should have a nice family dinner on Holy Thursday.  It is, after all, the day on which we recall the Last Supper which Jesus ate with the apostles and at which He instituted the Eucharist.  And, of course, Jesus and the apostles were in turn celebrating an important meal, in that they were eating the Passover meal in remembrance of the delivery of Israel from slavery in Egypt.  So it seems like a good time to slow down and have a good meal together.

Of course, there's also a directly conflict with trying to do this, which is that we're also invariably hurrying to get to mass, at which MrsDarwin typically has some kind of musical duties.

So in the end, what we often find ourselves doing is rushing through a nice dinner and then desperately trying to get everyone out the door to church.  

This year was no different.  Via the wonders pandemic-working from home I'd told myself that it would be no problem to knock off work by 4:30, make paneer masala and rice and naan, and have everything on the table by 5:30 so we could be out the door by 6:30 for 7:00 mass.  How I still have these fits of optimism after twenty years of familial experience I don't know.  

The difficulty with a tight timeline is that the accumulation of five and ten minutes delays which would be no problem at a normal time quickly accumulates and so once again we had our nice dinner in fifteen minutes (with an additional five minutes for desert!) and then did the mad dashing around the house to get people into church clothes and locate all the shoes which had mysteriously wandered off.  

You can see why God told the Israelites to have their sandals on before they had the Passover in Exodus, because otherwise Moses would have been chasing everyone around saying, "I just saw that shoe?  What did you do with it?" while Pharaoh was busy changing his mind and saddling up the chariots.

I suppose the secret to all this is not to be juggling a work day for one spouse and errands for the other while trying to have an early meal.  Or maybe my memories from when I was growing up of having a leisurely dinner on Holy Thursday and going to evening mass are actually from different years and we didn't try to pull off both in the same night.  

But it's of a piece with the overall Triduum experience was we tend to live it.  Celebrating these days with younger children always seems to be a balance of the devotions you want to do versus the reality of managing small people who may have a devotional sense but can only maintain it for five minutes at a time.  The older kids, of course, are different.  Indeed, as I write this the fifteen and seventeen year olds are driving off to do adoration for the last hour and a half until midnight.  But you can't expect that from the younger children so we saw the older ones out the door and are engaged in our own more prosaic tasks here.  The day will come for us, but not for another seven to ten years.

Though I suppose there's a scriptural echo to each of these complaints.  One can feel like a bit of a failure that the younger kids aren't those rare angelic creatures who reportedly want to sit quietly in adoration for long periods from a young age, but then Jesus couldn't get his followers to sit in prayer for an hour at a time either.  If even the apostles took more years of experience before they could sit in prayer for hours, there's probably for the younger offspring to develop the ability as well.

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