Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Let the Little Children Come to Me"

Our diocese has a live televised mass each Sunday at 10 am. This week our pastor was saying the mass and it was intended to be a "Children's Mass" like he says every weekend at the Sunday 9:45 am service where we are regulars. Therefore, he extended an invitation to (indeed, begged) members of the congregation to come to the downtown chapel for mass where the television program is filmed. Now, there is a reason that we go to the children's mass and that is because our children are not always on their best behavior. They have gotten much better over the years, but they still have their moments. The prospect of attending a mass where they would be televised filled me with fear. I hemmed and hawed about it all week. Their less-than-stellar behavior at the mass we went to on Wednesday for the Holy Day did nothing to allay my concerns. As of last night, I had decided I would just take David. He's older and by himself is not likely to raise a ruckus. Isaac and Bernie could go to a different mass.

I knew that decision would mean less stress for me, yet I didn't feel great about it. The passage from the gospels where Jesus said "Let the Little Children Come to Me" kept ringing in my ears. Jesus wants the little children around him and that means at mass as well. What kind of message was I sending by telling Isaac he couldn't go to this mass? This morning, when Isaac got up, he said he wanted to go. He promised to be extra good. I still had my doubts. After all, it can be difficult to trust a 4 1/2 year old. But, we went - all of us.

We sat in the very last row of the very small chapel, which somehow looks much larger on television. Many of our friends were there as well. Perhaps it was the change of scenery or the large monitor showing what was being televised and the clock counting down the time that kept their attention, or maybe it was the threat of losing their allowance if they didn't behave, or perhaps it was divine intervention, but somehow, they were quiet. I held my breath and prayed as they went up to the altar for the homily and again for the Eucharistic Prayer. "Please, please let them be good," I begged God. And somehow, miraculously, they were. I was so unbelievably thankful. I gave them big hugs after mass and told them how proud I was of them. If only they good be that good every week!

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