We’ve taken a lot of little ones to mass. When one or both of us ends up standing in the back with fussy children, it crosses my mind that we are wasting our time. The kids aren’t listening, we can’t pay attention, and none of us are getting a single thing out of mass!
Of course that’s not true.
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
Every now and then, we are blessed with one of those miraculous mornings at mass—you know, when all the kids actually brushed their hair and they kneel, pray, listen, and sing their little hearts out to Jesus. This Mama sure is proud and appreciates hearing the scripture readings and homily!
Usually, though, we have our fair share of sneaky elbowing, accidental kneeler dropping on brother/sister’s foot, and fighting over sitting on my lap. My personal record is nursing a newborn, balancing a toddler and preschooler on each knee, and snuggling up against an older child on each side. All at the same time! My poor husband sits lonely (or is it peacefully?) at the end of the pew.
Despite the wiggles and frustrations during mass, my kids let me know that they ARE listening. They do know Jesus from the mass.
Sometimes I catch Maren (my feisty 4-year-old) shoving her little fist in her glass of water at lunch and making the sign of the cross. I’m sure it’s an “ancident” (a Maren-ism for accident) that she splashes everyone around her.
At bedtime, Maren reminds me that Jesus has His arms out wide to give her a hug. This is how I distract her during mass, pointing to Jesus on the crucifix with His arms outstretched to hug us all. I can’t imagine a happier way to fall asleep!
Last week, Joel (my 5-year-old) kept singing in his beautiful little voice,
“When we eat this bread and we drink this cup we will play with Him until He comes!” He has many versions!
“Jesus, HAM of God, you take away the sins of the world. Have mercy on us.”
To all the parents out there with young children, don’t be discouraged. Consider your kids’ crying and screaming at mass to be joyful singing to the Lord. Jesus’ love IS sinking in. He will pour His mercy out on your family, even if you can’t notice it right away amidst the constant potty breaks and thrown sippy cups.
All your sons shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children. Isaiah 54:13