A recent post by Kendra from Catholic All Year got me thinking about how important the Mass is not only to our children and our families, but for us as moms personally.
Kendra's post was heartbreaking in that a parish priest asked her to stop coming to Mass with her child. This breaks my heart for so many reasons. Of course a child of all people should be welcome at Mass at any time no matter what the behaviour! Of course a family should be supported, encouraged, and frankly, lauded for bringing their family to Christ and the Church! And a mom coming to a weekday Mass with her small child I think should be regarded as a minor miracle by any and all priests!
But what especially breaks my heart when I think of a priest discouraging a mom from attending Mass is when I think of all the times that I've gone to Mass and the Sacraments in times where that's all I had.
In times of spiritual struggle it can be incredibly difficult as a mother, and I would say almost impossible, to get any personal prayer time. And I mean the type of prayer when you need your soul soothed and comforted. Our whole lives are an act of prayer in service of our children as mothers, and I know I've spent many an hour praying "Jesus, I trust in you" over and over as I rocked and rocked a screaming infant. Or tried to pray the rosary while up all night with a sick toddler. Or the many, many times I throw up petitions during the day in moments of frustration for patience and love when I feel I have none. But the real personal prayer that comes from simply spending time in silence waiting for the Lord to speak, or even just touch our heart in the quiet of adoration or personal devotion, are hard to come by as a mom.
There are so many times where I have felt completely spent, exhausted, and frankly, left not knowing what to say to God, but I still went to Mass and just allowed myself to come close to Christ. Physically close. Leaving all my failures, trials, and attempts at virtue on the altar in sacrifice. Many times, when times are tough and my faith feels small the sacraments have been what have held me together. Heart and mind, body and soul, as a mother and a wife. When I don't know what to say to God about His plans for my life, when I don't understand what He's doing, the Mass still makes sense, the Mass and the Eucharist still prop me up. The grace still flows even when I feel incapable of accepting it. There have been times where its the only time all week I've given my heart time for Christ.
I know that many moms don't have a Catholic support group or Catholic mom's to help them or talk to. I know many moms aren't married to a man who shares and understands her faith with whom she can lean when the ardors of faith aren't there but the crying of children never stops. I know many moms don't have a spiritual director who can help guide them through the confusing feelings, hormones, and thoughts that seem to muddle God's reaching out to us. I know many of us don't have the time or ability to get to adoration, pray a rosary alone, or even sit in silence to reach out to our Lord. But in all circumstances the Mass and the sacraments remain the same. Perpetually open to our tired hearts, our failed attempts at love, and our confused and muddled souls. A direct, physical, personal shower of grace that feeds us and sustains us no matter what.
So even when we only hear five minutes of the entire Mass due to trying to help our children from climbing the walls and screaming, even when we don't think we've offered our full attention, we still fully receive Christ. He keeps us going through another week, another day, another moment of being a mom. Even when the Mass is all we have in our prayer lives, it still gives us all we need.
(I've already waxed poetically about how I feel about cry rooms-boo!, and bringing children to Mass-yay!, if you would like to check that out as well! I'm also linking to Jen's crazy idea of blogging everyday for seven days-I have little confidence I can do it!)