When you’re 6, sitting still during Mass is so hard.
At Sunday Mass our little boy was looking every which way, smiling at the people behind us, dropping things on the floor, wiggling and wriggling and craning his neck to see everything he could—in every direction.
“There’s a baby crying, Mama. Way back there. See?” he whispered.
“Mm-hmm. Ssssh. Use your quiet church voice,” I whispered back.
Then, as we were saying the creed, he started rummaging in my purse. I glanced down and saw that he had found a small notepad and a pen.
My first thought was to take the pen away, but he was sitting very still—for once—in the pew as he started drawing a picture.
When he was finished, he handed it to me.
“Mama,” he whispered. “This is for you.”
Then he made another.
“This one,” he whispered, “is for God. See, this is us going to church. And this up here is the Eucharist with the bread, and then this over here is the tabernacle.”
This came from our child who didn’t even want to go to Mass today. In fact, I didn’t realize he knew the words “Eucharist” and “tabernacle.”
Maybe when we take our children to Mass, they are paying closer attention than we think they are. Maybe they are retaining pieces of the celebration we think they are missing. Maybe, just maybe, the wiggling and crawling under the pews and the giggling and the loud talking and all the other ways young children misbehave—intentionally or not—have nothing to do with how much they are opening their hearts to God and hearing His Word.
Of course, I might have been surprised to see that picture, but the recipient? He wasn’t surprised at all.
“People were bringing little children to him, for him to touch them. The disciples scolded them, but when Jesus saw this he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. In truth I tell you, anyone who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ Then he embraced them, laid his hands on them and gave them his blessing.” Mark 10: 13-16