My family has been traveling and on vacation the past week and a half, which is partly why my blog posts have been infrequent.
I’ve always been the kind of Catholic to take liberal use of the “travel dispensation,” regarding Mass attendance while traveling. Until this trip.
Our current chaplain encouraged, “If you have stopped in a town where there is a Catholic church, I expect you to make every effort to make it to Sunday Mass.”
Last weekend, I attended Mass by myself at a cathedral. This week, we knew we would be home in time for our local civilian parish’s evening Mass.
At one point, my husband offered to stay home with the kids, so I could attend Mass quietly and reverently. As tempting as it was, I knew my son hadn’t been to church in just over a week, we had missed the beginning of Lent due to a family-shared stomach bug, and I just wanted to go as a family.
I should have taken my husband up on the offer to go alone.
My son didn’t want to go to Mass. When told he had two choices – to go on Sunday, or to go every day this week, he emphatically exclaimed he would rather go, “None-days!” My son has taught me long ago, when I make him go to Mass on days where he doesn’t want, he refuses to participate, and is absolutely miserable. Which makes me miserable.
But, he’s four and is a child, and therefore doesn’t get to call the shots.
I was so excited to attend Mass – I was ready for new fire to be breathed into me, since our Lent has, thus far, been lackluster at best. We entered our church, and my son insisted on sitting up toward the very front – of a marbled church, with wooden pews, and very high ceilings (read: no noise reduction possible).
I couldn’t hear the priest the entire Mass … we surmised something was wrong with his microphone. The only thing I heard from the homily was how Adam and Eve were content to blame someone else for their choice of eating of the forbidden fruit, and how even today, we are always quick to push the blame onto others for our actions. I didn’t get anything else out of the homily – no inspirational moment, and no conclusion of the small part I heard, simply because I couldn’t hear.
At the time of Consecration, Little Miss was fooling around while I struggled to hear the words of the priest. She hit her nose on the pew, which cued an instant ear splitting scream, tears, and wailing as I frantically rushed her up and out of the back of the church. When we returned as everyone stood to recite the Our Father, I noticed her nose started bleeding. And, I had removed baby wipes from my diaper bag. Thankfully I still had some napkins buried at the bottom of the bag…
I failed to remember that most Eucharistic Ministers don’t confer a blessing upon those who go up for Communion, and we wound up not sitting in the priest’s Communion line. I felt like a fool, having my son and non-Catholic husband come up for Communion – after I remembered neither would be getting a blessing.
After yesterday, I just feel defeated.
I know my children need to attend Mass, and need to get into the habit of doing so. I am struggling to identify why my young children should be forced by their mother to go to Mass on a weekly, or several times a week, basis. I am struggling to figure out why I feel the need or desire to lead them in faith-based activities. It would be so easy to just give in, and say, “Alright, you don’t have to…” or, “Never mind, I will go by myself.” I feel as though I am setting myself up for these struggles and challenges, and if I were not practicing my Faith (with the big “F”), things would be so much easier at times.
Perhaps that is what Paul meant when he warned in the New Testament that being Christian would not be easy…
Perhaps that is what Jesus meant when He gave the example of a camel passing through the eye of a needle being easier than entering the gates of heaven…
Because, this week, as a mom, it isn’t easy.
So, I am struggling this week, but still linking up with “My Sunday Best” over at A Blog for My Mom.