Reeson’s Ramblings :: October 8, 2017
A Sunday School teacher asked her little children as they were on the way to Mass, “And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?” One bright little girl replied, “Because people are sleeping.” While some people may be sleeping during my homilies, there are perhaps better reasons to try to maintain some sense of tranquility during Mass.
We are blessed to have a vibrant and growing parish with so many little ones. It is imperative to remember that the words, “all are welcome”, are not just the words to a song but the way we live at St. Columbkille. Our Cry Room is not large enough to accommodate everyone, so some parents find it helpful to retreat for a time to our Narthex, the area where the baptismal font is located, where Mass can be heard, and parents can help their children regroup before returning to their pew.
One Sunday morning, a young child was “acting up” during Mass. His parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew, but were losing the battle. Finally, the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out. Just before reaching the safety of the foyer, the little one called loudly to the congregation, “Pray for me! Pray for me!” Let’s all remember to pray for the little ones and more importantly for their parents!
Someone from St. Pat’s Parish in Elkhorn recently shared the following touching message with me. With permission of the author, I am sharing it with you:
To the Mother with four little ones in church on Sunday morning, thank you. Thank you for allowing us to witness what a wonderful mother you are. Thank you for allowing us to squeeze in next to you, thus trapping you in the middle of the pew, no place a lone, mother-of-four ever wants to be trapped in. There’s no easy exit option when a child melts down. No way to snag a child from the aisle as they return from giving their offering to Father.
In the middle of the middle pew, you feel under a microscope. I know, I’ve been there. When your child lets out a wail because the other child took something from him, you feel the eyes turn your way. When the crayons are strewn down the pew and you can’t gather them up in a neatly confined area, or the snacks leak and spill and you wonder who around you is noticing and taking note. I don’t. What I notice is you’re here. You got up, got dressed, and managed to get four little ones to church. It is much easier to stay home.
During those trying times at Mass when it feels like yours is the only one screaming, know that she’s not. When you realize you’ve missed all the readings and more than half of the homily in effort to keep the peace and you question why you even bother coming. That you’re not getting anything out of it and certainly your children aren’t. Know that they are. And so are you.
For them, they learn that church is important, even if it’s the most basic lesson of being there every Sunday no matter how hard it is. They pick up little things; prayers, hymns, routine, community, acceptance. For you, you may not get that wonderful feeling of your cup running over, or God’s grace touching you; but you get my support, my encouragement, my sincere prayers of peace.
One day, it’ll get easier. One day, you’ll be in my shoes and see the Mom sitting next to you trying to keep her cool in a hot and crowded church while your own children sit quietly. It’ll come. With time. But only if you keep coming back. Please, please come back.
Please come back every Sunday and remind us all of God’s love. He doesn’t want us to hide our children, he wants us to bring them forth. He wants to see them in His house on the good days and bad. He wants the congregation to hear them; whether it’s tears of frustration at one-year old, hesitant prayers at six, or in awe of receiving communion at eight.
Let us as a congregation be reminded that all are welcome. Judgments are left at the door for there is no room for it in God’s house. You are a wonderful mother. I hope to see you again next week. I pray you have a better day.
The Mom of three next to you