Mass can be a Mess with Little Children
Yesterday was definitely one of those mornings at Mass that makes you wonder about your worth (as parent and as a receiver of the Eucharist). My family is notoriously late for Mass, well according to my husband's standards of arrival anyway. In order to secure our front side pew where I can interpret the Mass for Faith, we try to get there at least 15 - 20 minutes early so we don't have the embarrassment of asking the person who has already gotten themselves comfortable there to move*. People are always super understanding, but it makes my hubby very uncomfy - hence our early arrival.
Yesterday, although a little later than usual, we were happy to find the pew empty but were met with the cumbersome Advent decorations that rendered our normal pew and interpreting location unusable. There were two enormous Christmas trees covered with requests for the poor. While inconvenient for our purposes, I can hardly argue with the importance of such things, so we moved to the opposite side of the Church and prepared for Mass to begin.
Shortly into the morning's Liturgy it was clear, Faith wasn't as easily accepting of the new location as we had been. At least that is our guess, it may have been a combination of changed routine and hungry belly as she still struggles to express emotions with us. All I know is before I had even finished interpreting the first reading, I had to physically remove her from the Church. I thought she'd spend a few minutes outside pulling herself together and we'd return to finish Mass. I was wrong. We were not even able to complete the task hanging out in the hallway - she just was unable to pull herself together. Feeling warn out and inadequate, I retreated to the car with her to wait for Kevin and Adam.
As I sat in the car, trying not to give extra attention to Faith (so she wouldn't see this as a treat to have mommy all to herself and consider a repeat performance next Sunday), I looked to the heavens for consolation. I was actually glad I had left my purse (and more importantly my cell phone) in the pew, removing my normal technological distractions to have this quiet time with God. Staring at the wispy clouds and delicate blue skies I questioned the lessons to be learned in this mornings train wreck. The hardest part of this whole incidence was my missing reception of the Eucharist.
One thought that loomed large was my great need to visit the Sacrament of Reconciliation, since the new academic year had begun for my Confessor (also a college professor), we'd fallen off our weekly schedule. I knew I had made some seriously poor choices over the last three weeks and wondered if I was being kept from the Blessed Sacrament because of my sins and obvious unworthiness to receive. My frustration with Faith's behavior that morning, was certainly adding to these feelings of lacking.
While, I do not deny my need for Reconciliation (which I was happily able to receive later that day at my parish) it was in reading today's reflection by Fr. Scott Hurd in the Living Gospel Daily Devotions for Advent 2014, I realized a very important truth between Jesus' willingness to come to me and my worth.
When we pray, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof," before receiving Holy Communion, it's not meant as a put-down...It means instead that we don't need to be found worthy in order for Jesus to enter our lives, come to be with us, or "enter under our roof." Jesus is happy to come to us; he wants to be with us, and he's delighted to receive an invitation from us.
In the light of a new day and equipped with Fr, Scott's reflection, my thoughts on yesterday now consist of realizing I missed an great opportunity to invite Jesus into that difficult situation. I never once asked for his assistance with Faith's behavior, and then I literally left him in the Church when I refused to go in to receive him because I felt unworthy. As Fr. Scott reminds us, being "not worthy" implies a lacking, a need for help, redemption, grace and healing (to name a few) - and no one can provide those like Jesus.
Today I will invite Jesus into my every day life especially the interactions with my children, co-workers, and friends.