First Friday Adoration as a family—sounds like the perfect idea. There will be so many graces in the chapel that the children will just sit quietly in awe of the presence of Jesus, and it will be a picture-perfect moment of little saints in the making. We had a couple of minutes of bliss when we first walked in, where I was feeling on top of the world as a Catholic mother, and then my three-year-old started pulling on the diaper bag looking for snacks. My six-year-old wanted to go sit in a different spot in the church, and then my seven-year-old started asking loudly how much longer we must stay. My husband and I tried to shush them and point up to the monstrance saying, “Look, there’s Jesus,” but they had no interest. Obviously, we have failed as parents, because our children do not want to sit in the adoration chapel quietly with Jesus (because every other three-, six-, and seven-year-old in the world would understand the true presence and would love to sit quietly in adoration). I tried to tune my children out and have my own quiet prayer time, but the noise was making it impossible to concentrate.
My frustration was growing as the kids got noisier and wigglier. “This is why,” I think, “I struggle with my prayer life. The kids are always in the way. I cannot go to daily Mass anymore; I struggle to get through a Rosary. If I did not have kids bothering me, I would have the most wonderful spiritual life.” After a few more minutes, my three-year-old was done, and we were in the back. Family adoration fail. Again.
Later, when the kids were having rest time and I had some quiet time, I thought back to our outing and how wrong I was about the whole experience. I should not be looking at my children as roadblocks to my spiritual life, but rather as the way God is bringing me closer to him. Romans 8:26 says: In the same way, even the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs that cannot be put into words. Sometimes, I have no idea how to live out my role as a mother, but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I hope to keep figuring out how my life is a reflection of Christ and seeing how God is bringing me ever closer to him through my vocation.