Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Vita Consecrata (On Dealing with Kids in Pews)

It began about the time our Joseph stopped sleeping through Sunday Mass. A frustrated, whining insistence to God that he should make our children behave in church. After all, we put in the effort to get there, shouldn't their guardian angels take over the childcare for a bit and give us a little breather?

As I wrestle with one boy to sit still, or feel vanquished to the cry room with the fussy, hungry other one, I often wonder, why bother?

Surely there's more to the toddler mother's Mass experience than serving a purgatory on earth (to be saved yet through fire by the incessant wiggling and corraling of children?)...

"There is a youthfulness of spirit which lasts through time; it arises from the fact that at every stage of life a person seeks and finds a new task to fulfill, a particular way of being, of serving, and of loving." -- John Paul II

JP II (the Great) encourages me in this simple revelation, and I feel a slight surprise of hope. I've been trying to experience the sacred, calm reflection of Mass as a joyful & single youth. I remember the holy reverance that first captured my wonder, and how I couldn't help but encounter the holiness of God through every Mass.

But in the survival mode of parenting in the pews, I lost the Person for want of the experience. Jesus is just as ever present, and I have the opportunity still, to encounter Him in the sacred worship of Mass.

"...at every stage of life a person seeks and finds a new task to fulfill, a particular way of being, of serving, and of loving."

Christ is offering a new experience of Him in this season of motherhood.

I love seeing our son learn the Mass, and so our faith. He sees our love for Jesus in our reverance. He sees Christ's love for us in the cross. He offers little prayers with the greatest of saints, by lighting a candle, and extends a small hand of peace when we say, "Peace be with you." And when we sing our worship, he's unencumbered to clap and to dance.

Thank you to all who are understanding of our little ones. Say a prayer for us if we can't seem to settle their restlessness. Or even better, come be an answered prayer, and invite them to sit with you...


Looking at St. Francis' deer: "Mama, I really like this dog!"