Taking young children to Mass is like playing a card game with nothing but a deck of wild cards. You really never know what you will get. Will they be good? Bad? Or downright ugly? Such is life for Catholic moms who accompany young children to Mass.
Even so, one of the most beautiful moments that I have ever encountered at Mass came by way of a young, rambunctious girl who just happened to sit by my family one ordinary Sunday. Throughout the Mass, the young girl, who was just about a year old, had been sitting quietly up until the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Then, like a lightning bolt, she stirred awake right at the consecration of the Holy Eucharist; from that point onward, she never sat still, nor was she quiet. Up and down she bounced, speaking excitedly about what she was seeing and witnessing in front of her. When it was our turn to proceed to receive the Holy Eucharist, her mother looked relieved to have the break from the pew dance that her daughter had decided to have. After we all returned to our pews and had all quietly entered into prayer, and just as the music ended and the sanctuary filled with reverent silence, the young girl let out an excited, “Yay! Yay! Yay!” Not a single parishioner refrained from smiling; even the embarrassed mom cracked one.
What a gift it is to see and experience God through the eyes of our children. It is through their eyes that God can really come alive. “Yay!” This simple, joyous exclamation is the perfect word for our Easter season. On Easter morning we find the tomb empty. We learn that our Savior has indeed risen. “Yay! He is Risen! Yay!” We are gifted the opportunity to share his love with our children. “Yay!” We are joyous that our children feel and are guided by his grace.
The next time you are at Mass and find yourself wrestling young children, separating the siblings who just cannot stop picking at one another, or nudging your “I wish I was anywhere but here” teenager to take an interest in the liturgy, take a breath and listen. God is speaking to you. He is present, extending his love, grace, and joy to your hands, heart, and soul. Exhale, mamas. The “Yays” will come in the moments we need them most because, as Easter shows us, he is with us. “Yay!” He always is.
The child is the beauty of God present in the world, that greatest gift to a family. – Saint Mother Teresa