Recently, daily Mass attendance was a topic of conversation on a Catholic homeschooling board I am a part of, and I heard once again that this is something I need to do. "If today you hear God's voice, harden not your heart." I've been working on instituting more discipline into my life, and I have somewhat of a fledgling weekly routine, so I decided Thursday would be my day for taking the kids to Mass. Today is Thursday.
I have to tell you, I was not looking forward to this. My kids are not the sweet little angels that fold their hands neatly in their lap and sit, stand and kneel with the congregation. My 5yo boy likes to alternate giving me kisses and an angelic "aren't I being good?" smile with flopping his body around in the pew pretending he's just been shot. My 2yo girl likes to alternate "singing" loudly from the hymnal with digging through my purse to find my lipstick to smear all over her face while I'm attempting to pray.
They're cute. They're hilarious. So long as it's not your job to keep them "still and quiet" for the duration of Mass.
Now I don't have unreasonable expectations. I don't expect them to actually sit still and be quiet for the entire Mass. I expect to have to remind them of appropriate behavior. But I do expect my 5yo to respond to my reminders without "sassing" me. When I ask him to sit up, I expect him to sit up, not to let his tongue hang out of his mouth and kick the pews.
By the time the final blessing rolled around I was exhausted and discouraged. A kind older woman who had been sitting behind us came and told me I have beautiful children and that she "had to chuckle" because she's been there. She told me I was doing a good job. I appreciated her kindness, but I didn't believe her. I felt like a miserable failure.
We went home and I put the 2yo down for a nap, and, after some quiet time, my son and I had a snack together.
Suddenly he raised his cracker, broke it in half and said, "Take this all of you and eat it. This is my body." He turned to me and handed me half of the cracker. Then he asked, "Can the water be the blood?" Uh, sure. "Take this all of you and drink it. This is my blood." He handed me the cup.
Then he said something I don't quite remember about how Jesus makes him happy.
"How does Jesus make you happy?" I asked.
"He shares. He shares his body and his blood."
Well okay then, I guess it wasn't a complete waste of time taking him to Mass.