Ahem, this post has lots of reflection and is quite long; feel free to skip to the pictures throughout. :)
So, as the title of my blog suggests, and if you have followed for a while (or know me personally), you already know I have indeed followed God’s call to be here in Honduras. But, it seems that I have strayed a little from talking about it in my posts. I can’t say I have done this purposely, but I think it’s a good representation of how my faith falls in my daily life. If you do know me, it’s a struggle I have in general, and something that I always strive to be better at. If it’s something I struggle with at home, with an awesome diocese (what up, Arlington?! Woot!), amazing friends just a call away, and resources up the wazoo, then I think it’s almost expected to struggle when those things are taken away and you are thrown in with all different types of people who don’t all share the same faith. It has indeed been hard, but God still uses the little things (and it helps that my roommate is Catholic, and NPH is Catholic, of course!) to remind me of His love and His desires for me.
I don’t tell you all of these things for you to feel bad for me. I have said from the beginning that I am going to be honest with you all, and that means sometimes talking about the things that are hard, awkward, and we like to turn away from. But, I love talking about my faith, all aspects of it, so this shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone. I actually think I am like an open book- for better or for worse.
With all of that out of the way, the rest of this will be about the lovely Semana Santa we had here on the Ranch that led up to Easter. In typical Jen fashion, I had all of these great things planned for Lent at the beginning (not before, let’s be serious. I didn’t realize Ash Wednesday was even upon me until the night before!), and have failed. Miserably. (I know this normal, sometimes we struggle to pray more, fast more and prepare in general for Jesus’ Rising, but these things should be done.) And, then all of a sudden we celebrated Palm Sunday last week, and we headed full force into celebrating this special season of the liturgical year. The time here seems to fly by more quickly than I anticipated!
As I noted before, the external clinic was closed, and I was “in charge” of the internal clinic. All of the employees have the week off, so the university /high school students and volunteers run the show for the week. There was some confusion in the schedule at the clinic, so I ended up being there everyday, instead of being “on “call” some of the days. It was really ok. I feel like I know the internal clinic a bit better now. And, again, thank goodness Bill and Susan (doc and PA) are here, it sure makes thing run a little smoother, and not have to worry about taking all the kids to the hospital. And, we saw some interesting things including a bad burn (from burning trash) and a crazy bog bite! I love learning new things.
Holy Thursday came about, and thus began the many things for the triduum. We had Mass and Eucharistic Adoration (you know I love me some good adoration time) in the evening. It had been SO long. As soon as I walked into the tiny capilla (chapel), I felt like Jesus was giving me a hug. It was great. I was really looking forward to being with Casa Suyapa (each Hogar had a time slot), but they had finished right when I got there. That was a bummer, but I enjoyed my time nonetheless.
I brought I Thirst: Saint Therese of Lisieux and Mother Teresa by Jacques Gauther to reflect upon. (Fitting for the time of year… nice job, God) It’s a pretty intense book, as it has taken be a while to read b/c I find that I stop every few moments to reflect on something. These were the words that struck me that night:
“Love that has been given to us should not stay in our souls.
It needs to reconnect with its source and it wants to continue through us its drive to give of itself.”
~Father Marie-Eugène, O.C.D.
How fitting. The reasons I am here are to love the kids, and the people that I help in the clinic. I have received SO much love my entire life, it is only fair to give of that love to others, just as God calls us to do. It was a great reflection, and just what I needed to hear, during this lull in my faith and to remind me of what the heck I am doing here.
I was energized for The Way of the Cross on Good Friday the next morning, but wasn’t able to make it because there was no one in the clinic. I was sad about that, as I heard it was a pretty cool thing to attend because the entire ranch participates and the last few stations are live, acted out by some of the younger kids.
But, I was able to attend the Veneration of the Cross that evening and was really happy I went. It was a bit longer than I anticipated (think, almost 500 kids processed to kneel and pray at the cross), but it was moving and special. During his homily, Padre talked about the symbolism of rope (with knots, it was similar to the one that Jesus was whipped with) and how the knots represent our sins and the knots in our hearts that prevent us from loving God and others. He passed some rope out that we tied knots in, and then when we went up to venerate the cross, we put our knotted rope on the cross. Watching it fill with so many pieces of rope was an awesome image to remind us that Jesus died because of those sins that were weighing Him down. It was really neat, and something that I won’t forget.
Friday evening, some of the volunteers and I dyed some eggs!! :) I hadn’t dyed Easter eggs in a long time, and it brought back some good memories. Thanks, Caroline!
Saturday was spent having good conversations with the other volunteers, relaxing, doing laundry, spending some time in the clinic, and eating.
Finally, Easter was here! Alleluia! Let’s be honest, not all of us (actually, were any of us??) were looking forward to waking up super early for the 4am sunrise Mass. But, we did, and it was beautiful (and long as it was the vigil mass. We weren’t expecting that!). We all gathered in Buen Pastor (the boys side) and started with a huge bonfire, where Padre threw in all of our pieces of rope (from the veneration of the cross) to signify throwing away the old and new life beginning. The Pascal Candle was lit and then we all lit our own that stemmed from the original.
We then processed back to the chapel and Mass began. There was one baptism, and it was one of my boys, Alberth!! :) It was really sweet. As a whole all of the kids did really well during mass, even though we didn’t end until almost 7am, and we all had been up since 3.
This was the only pic I had of him smiling. :) And, our baptismal font is brand spanking new!
The rest of Easter Sunday was pretty tranquilo (calm), as everyone napped and relaxed for most of the day. It ended with an AMAZING Cena Amistosa (friendship dinner) with all of the volunteers. It was so good that it deserves its on blog post.
Thank you for making it this far. I hope that you had a wonderful and blessed Easter with family and friends.
Blessings to you all!