For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Ash Wednesday and its customs, please make a very strong mental note of my handy tip at the bottom of this post.
So tonight, as usual, my social anxiety was in high gear. As the priest put it recently, some of us haven't exactly been racking up the Frequent Faith Flyer miles as far as attendance goes. He's hilarious.
In one of my typical caffeine-fueled rants, I was interrogating my oldest daughter, Evelynn on the rules and rationale of eternal etiquette. This was mostly for the benefit of the younger child since it's people like her I'm sure the priest was referring to.
Me to Evalynn: What if a person forgets what to do and say and when to do it??? Like how does everyone know what to say to the priest when he hands out those stale wafer things and which leg to bend and when to do it and why???
Evalynn: They can just look around and do what everyone else is doing. That always works for me.
(This child is brilliant and I am totally tweeting that tip later.)
Me: And how strict do you suppose the "right hand in the Holy Water, right knee-bending" rules are? Do you suppose there are ever any instances when a person could legitimately substitute a left limb for the right one???
Evalynn: Probably not. (She was clearly annoyed with me already.)
Me: Hypothetically speaking, what if I was an amputee and it was my right leg that was gone? There must be some fine print somewhere that says it's o.k. to substitute the opposite limb when genuflecting...at least on a case by case basis. Don't you think? Like if a person just had a knee replacement or if their right leg was gone altogether? I wonder if each case of Mass Modification requires a special waiver from the Pope. I bet they have to apply for some sort of Papal Permission slip or something. Otherwise people would be all bobbing and bending randomly. (I was well on my way to a full-on frenzy and we hadn't even left home yet.)
Chloe: That would be fun! It would look like they were break-dancing.
Evalynn: What ever you do, do not start giggling. You're supposed to be serious at Mass. That means YOU, Chloe.
Chloe: But what if I have to fart?
Me: If she farts, I'm not going to be able to control myself. But back to topic of limbs.
What about people like Gramps? He's got one arm. Fortunately it's his right arm that he's still got so he can totally comply with standard mass procedures. But what if it was his right arm that was missing??? Would he then, by default be expected to dip his prosthetic in the Holy Water?
It seems super dangerous to encourage people with hooks for hands to be splashing in bowls of water and waving their weaponry around in crowded places. They could totally poke out someone's eye or even their own, which would be really bad! Because then they'd have only one arm and one eye. And when they would leave at the end of Mass, they would probably just keep driving in circles.
Evalynn: Mom. Really?
Me: Why do you suppose those bowls of Holy Water in the back of the church are smaller than the big one in the middle of the church by the hot tub?
E: It's not a hot tub, mom. (Rolls eyes)
Me: I wonder if the water in those little bowls is less Holy than the water in the big bowl? If so, our friend, Julie and her family who sit in the WAY BACK on the right side should probably be informed that they're less blessed than the people who get their Holy Water from the big bowl. I should probably tell her in case she doesn't know this.
E: It's called a font, not a bowl. And besides, it's not the size of the bowl that matters, MOM. It's ALL Holy Water. (She talks in italics to me a lot now that she's a tween.)
Me: I'm just saying, as long as they were making bowls for Holy Water they should have just made them all the same size. How do you spell font? F-o-n-t? Like the letter styles on a computer? Seems like a weird name to call a Holy bowl of water.
Me: Do you suppose the water the Priest drinks during Mass is Holy Water too?
E: It's probably just ordinary water. We don't really drink Holy Water.
Me: If it's not Holy Water he has in his cup up there, then it must be bottled water. Tap water would just be lame. No, wait. I bet it's filtered at least. Or spring water. From way up high on a mountain somewhere. Probably in Tibet.
Actually, that doesn't make sense. Tibetan Monks are Buddists. So Tibet is definitely not where the
church gets water for our Priest from.
E: Listen to me, MOM. No one drinks Holy Water. It's just for blessings and sacraments.
Me: It just seems like someone important like a priest should get to drink special water. I bet he doesn't even have to pray like we do. I bet he has God on speed dial. I saw a review for an app the other day that was written by a priest. Evidently, even God likes Android over Apple. I bet his ring tone is angels singing Hallelujah too. Do you suppose there are exclusive rate plans for clergy? Probably not. They probably have unlimited divine talk and text.
Me: Are there ever exceptions to that drinking Holy Water rule? There must be exceptions. Like what if I was in the desert and dying of thirst. Could I take a little snap off of my flask of Holy Water then???
Do you suppose anyone has ever mistaken the little Holy Water bowls in the back of the church for drinking fountains? Because they totally look like little drinking fountains and that would make total sense to me. You know. Because then people could quench their spiritual and physical thirsts at the exact same time. That would be a REALLY good idea.
I think I'll suggest it to the priest after Mass tonight. And while I'm at it, I should suggest that he offer Skype or Google Hangout Mass for people who can't make it in person. I should maybe ask him if Virtual Mass is a plan that's in the works.
E: NO! Please don't, mom!
Me: I wonder what would happen if someone did mistake one of the little bowls of Holy Water in the back for a drinking fountain??? They would be all fumbling around, looking for the button to turn it on. Things would probably get really awkward fast.
Speaking of awkward, I should probably tweet a friendly little tip when we get home.
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