Saturday, September 28, 2013

Let the Little Children Come: Be warned, we are!

Receiving the Kingdom of Heaven like a child
At the elevation of the Eucharist during a peaceful and quiet daily Mass about five years ago my then two year old son Luke yelled loudly: "Never like Jesus! NEVER, EVER NEVER!!!"  This was because of my miscalculated strategy to hush his fidgety self down by trying to redirect his attention to Jesus on the altar.  He would not have it, he was much more interested in crawling under the pew. I had to slink out of my seat, trying hard to resist the temptation to dunk him in the holy water font as we made a noisy exit out of the sanctuary. 

On another occasion a nice woman was leaning  forward from her seat in the pew just behind us to chat with Luke and he PUNCHED HER IN THE FACE!  To be fair to Luke, she did not read the pretty obvious signs that he was uncomfortable with her face in his  - I did, but I could not get to him in time, since he was about three kids away from me.  (My husband who was next to him was nicely playing his part as Mr. Oblivious.)  There was no serious harm done, since Luke was not even two, he merely knocked her glasses askew.  But yet again I was hauling a screaming child out of Mass.  I have more stories like that.   So many that I am a bit dubious of what is meant by accepting the Kingdom of Heaven like a child.  I am certain that others who happen to be seated around us are wondering as well, especially the woman who moves to another pew if we happen to sit behind her.

Even more discouraging, just across the isle is the perfect family whose five children sit ever so peacefully and - as far as I have noticed - have never needed to be removed from Mass.  Mom can even serve as an EMHC and Dad can lector, because their kids sit so nicely.  So while my youngest (which now is Max) roars like a dinosaur or grunts like a pig  (“Ha ha, I a pig Mama!”) during silent meditation time, they sit peacefully meditating – imagine that!

Stephen's 8th Grade Graduation Fam Picture

But I wouldn't trade places for a minute. Their family is beautiful in their peacefulness, ours is maybe more of an example of perseverance.  And that is okay.   Because when it comes to revealing the Kingdom in this world, it is never as neat and tidy as our sentimentalized ideals would lead us to believe.  That messiness means that we are not all meant to reveal the Lord in the same way and you have to have the humility to let God lead you and your family where you are to the very special place that He has just for you.  It means that God wants you to come to Him now as you are, not when you are perfect (then you wouldn't think that you needed him).  I need Him, my husband needs Him and my children need Him now and forever.  So even if I have the opportunity to leave my little ones at home, which I can at times, I frequently choose to bring them with me anyhow.

So, let the little children come!  The quiet, shy ones; the rambunctious, naughty ones; the fidgety ones; the distracted ones; the noisy ones and let us all trust that the Lord who desires their presence so much will shower His graces upon them, and us.

Heidi Knofczynski

However, I do wonder at times if our Lord had in mind my oinking little Max.*

Peace and grace to all!

*just to update anyone reading this Max has not oinked at Mass for the better part of three months, now we are just working on keeping him in the pew.