It’s Friday morning, and if you are anything like me, you are beginning to steel yourself for taking your children to Mass this weekend. Will they be quiet and reverent? Will they cause a scene, ensuring everyone is looking at you as you fumble your way out of the pew and sanctuary? Will they be redirected easily to pay attention to parts of the Mass? Will you be able to get anything out of Mass?
I have heard the stories of parents splitting Mass attendance – so each parent can go and focus on, or participate in the Mass. I have heard other military wives confide – if their spouse is deployed, they don’t take their children, which means they don’t go to Mass themselves. I’ve even been tempted to walk away from Mass and not return. So, I get it!
This past Easter Sunday, I was sitting in the pew, initially stewing because, although we had arrived fifteen minutes early, there were no seats available up toward the altar. On Easter, those in the front pews were the parishioners who usually attend Saturday evening Mass – and I was unrighteously livid for a hot minute because, “They made sure no families with small children could sit close!”
I then began the weekly task of trying to entice the children to pay attention to the front, instead of each other, or the adults surrounding us toward the back, who were more than willing to play with the little ones! Both of our children – actually, all five children in the pew that day – were phenomenal… it was one of our best family Masses in a long time!
However, as my anger at our pew location subsided, and the rest of the chapel began to work its way through the Mass, I got half-way through the chaplain’s homily before realizing I had no clue what we had read, or what the chaplain was saying.
I felt the familiar internal question,
Why do I make my children come to church?
They are young enough they aren’t required to be here… so, why am I forcing this?
Why do I do this to myself?!
Before I could celebrate my pity-party of one, I felt the answer deep in my soul.
God doesn’t mind that I am distracted through the readings. He doesn’t mind that my focus is on keeping children quiet and redirected. He doesn’t mind that I have no idea what the chaplain said during his homily.
God wants us there – ALL of us there!
He wants us there for the Consecration and reception of His Body and Blood!
We are all there, accompanied by all the angels and saints, to create the Last Supper, and to abide by His instructions to receive Him into our own bodies and souls!
So, I may miss the readings and the homily. I may not fully be paying attention to the words of prayers while I coax our four year old to sing along with us. I may have to run in and out when Little Miss gets loud and frustrated that she’s not allowed to run out of the pew… or, when she bangs her head on the pew.
As difficult as it is leading up to the moment, I am ultimately there for the Consecration and the Eucharist.
The readings and the homily are icing on the cake – and, if my current status of life, as a mother to small, rambunctious children prohibits me from fully paying attention to what is going on in the Mass, it. is. okay! Someday, I will have the ability to focus attentively on Mass, but right now is not that time.
This weekend is Mothers’ Day in the United States. I encourage all my readers to take your children to Mass!
Don’t let the whispers, the side-eyes, the children’s shenanigans, your own feelings of defeat, or the anxiety that can come from wrangling small children single-handedly keep you from the most precious moment we have been given in this world – the moment the bread and wine become Our Lord’s Most Precious Body and Blood!
Take your children!
For, as Matthew 19:14 states,
but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”
Better late than never, I’m linking up with Rosie over at A Blog for My Mom, for her My Sunday Best series! Head over and check out what some other fantastic bloggers wore, and their insights for Mass last weekend, and be sure to check out Rosie’s blog on Sunday for her new link-up every week!
And, even if you aren’t a blogger, but you have Instagram, we’d love to see you participate by showcasing what you wear this Sunday (Mothers’ Day!!!), and putting a little reflection on your Sunday best – just use the hashtag #mysundaybest with @rosiehill425, so we don’t miss you!