A few months ago, I took all seven of my kids to first Friday adoration. Some of them were not exactly being model children in church, and there was loud whispering and lots of shifting and elbowing. Though we only stayed for ten minutes or so, I was afraid we were disturbing others; I was afraid people might be annoyed with us; I was afraid bringing them was the “wrong” thing to do.
But in the middle of all that, while standing in the back of church with my playful toddler, I felt Jesus giving us all a big, joyful hug. He let me know how happy he was that we visited him.
It’s a memory I hold onto and have revisited often because taking the kids to church is hard and doesn’t often come with good feelings. That memory for me is a confirmation that the kids visiting Jesus delights him, and that he wants us to bring them in spite of our doubts and discouragement. Even if all we see are wiggle-worms eager to be free to play, in the presence of the Holy Eucharist, the Lord is touching their souls in ways we can’t see. And they are delighting his heart.
This has brought into focus for me how so much of what we do as parents doesn’t come with blissful feelings, and how important it is to pray for faith. Often we can’t see good results until many years later, and we can spend a lot of time doubting our decisions, second-guessing ourselves and our spouses. Frequently the only way to get through each day—each hour—is purely by trust in God’s Word: “For we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 4:7).
May our trust in God’s goodness and love for each of us grow daily. May he encourage and strengthen us, especially in times of discouragement and doubt. We have Jesus’s promise that we will be richly rewarded for persevering in these times: “You have seen me, Thomas, so you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (Jn 20:29).