Our little family has been trying to make Sunday, well, special.
In the rough and tumble of life with small kids, this does not mean living out the fantasy of high culture I entertained before I was married. We do not play string quartets together, for example, or feast on delicate cheesecakes.
I wish I could say we studied Scripture or something.
Actually, most Sundays are a big scrabble to get to Church, where I run in four different directions, persuading, teaching, threatening, exhorting, and herding my sons back to the pew. I try to listen to a word or two, to ponder in my heart for the week. I hope that my children will come away with something to remember. We place ourselves, mentally, in the chalice on the altar, remembering that in spite of us we are lifted up to the heavenly Father, who loves us so tenderly.
Will is the cantor for the Latin Mass here in Peterborough. He and his friend John form a two-man schola. While the rest of the Pemberton family rolls under or lolls about or jumps over the pew (depending on age and ability), Will and John sing the beautiful, ancient Gregorian chant. It is a very real, visual reminder of our place in the Church at this time of history—there was a time when the cultural treasures of the Church, that is, the beauty of music, art, and liturgy, were a free gift, the gift of centuries of dedicated men and women whose quiet lives produced something worthy to be handed down from generation to generation.
It's exciting to think about the future, and what it will hold. We didn't choose to be born in this time, yet here we are, with the obligation to choose, as Gandalf tells Frodo, "what to do with the time we've been given." I don't know what trails our children will blaze, or where they'll lead. Maybe they will help to grow a uniquely Canadian expression of Catholicism, just as there is a uniquely West African expression at Keur Moussa. All we know is that we have to give them the tools.
And that brings us back to Sunday. One of those tools is joy, not the feeling of joy (because alas we can't magically produce it), but the activity of joy, doing joyful things together—having brunch in special dishes, special clothes, a special lively baroque playlist on itunes, a windy hike, a board game with papa. It's a humble start, but as the Sunday liturgy proclaims,
...."the joy of the resurrection renews the whole world."