The Sunday morning wrestling match began with a late start. Instead of the usual 6:30-7 am wake up we miraculously all slept till 7:30 (score!). Except, on Sunday’s we need about an hour and a half to get everyone ready for Church. So, we were behind schedule. We watched as 8:30 rolled around and decided to shoot for the 10:30 Mass instead.
In this time period I laid Reagan down for a morning nap. I fed Cooper breakfast and got him dressed. I ran upstairs to get myself dressed and came back down to find Cooper undressed running through the house. I wrestled him to the ground trying to re-dress him with no luck. Reagan woke up so I attended to her. Once she was ready, I bargained with Cooper carefully, hoping we could get out the door in time.
Eventually, everyone was dressed and loaded up. But as always, the fun had just begun. The pews were already filled by the time we got there so we found ourselves in foldable chairs in the back of the Church. Cooper quickly began searching for a way out into the aisle. We kept him contained most of the Mass until the women at the end of our row decided to leave after communion, and we no longer had a built in fence of strangers. Cooper wasted no time.
He began chanting, “Jesus, Jesus!” and then proceeded to run down the aisle toward the altar. I was holding Reagan and my poor sister was soon sprinting after Cooper. She caught him in time and brought him back. All was well.
This is a typical Sunday. And not just for me, but for everyone with little ones. It’s exhausting work to get them to Church and to get them through Church. There’s shushing, and rocking, and chasing. There’s wrestling matches in the pews and lots of snacks for entertainment. But Jesus says, “let the children come to me, and do not hinder them.”
Do not hinder them. Wow.
I am struck by that statement. As parents, this mostly falls on us. By simply showing up at Mass with our little ones we are presenting them to God and providing the opportunity for their little hearts to be open to Him. He desires a relationship with them. We are the means by which they are learning this.
Sometimes, you have to leave Church because a child is acting out. Sometimes, you swear everyone hates you because you can’t get your child to be quiet. Sometimes, your child calls out to Jesus and runs toward the altar, and after the embarrassment passes you are left wondering. What is Christ calling him too? In what small, beautiful ways are they developing a relationship even now? Am I hindering Him or helping?
Even when it’s hard, take heart. Our job is to help them learn to listen to God in their lives and to follow His call.
Do not hinder them.