My dear friends,
“Know also that you will probably gain more by praying fifteen minutes before the Blessed Sacrament than by all the other spiritual exercises of the day. True, Our Lord hears our prayers anywhere, for He has made the promise, ‘Ask, and you shall receive,’ but He has revealed to His servants that those who visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament will obtain a more abundant measure of grace” St. Alphonsus Liguori.
Recently my husband and I have been striving to have our whole family spend 15 minutes in Adoration together daily. While we were in Adoration the other day I was struck by what happened. On this particular day Gianna was extremely talkative, squirmy, and did not want to be held. I was chasing her around the back of the chapel as she crawled about. I also held her hands to walk with her back and forth from wall to wall. For some reason I felt as if my demeanor was tired or exhausted and maybe even frazzled. As if when someone looked at me this person would think, “She must be tired chasing her child around all day.”
As Adam took over to hold Gianna I took some time to focus and asked Jesus in the Eucharist how we as a family could be a light to the world and bring joy to others. I was struck by how special it was to have Gianna there at Adoration with Adam and I. My family before the Creator of all things! Before Adam and I had Gianna I would always become so joyful upon hearing a baby at Mass or in Adoration. I told myself, “That is what I want for my family. I want to bring my own children to Mass and Adoration with me. Even if it is tough. Even if my children are rambunctious. I just want to bring them to our Lord.
“Upon the disciples rebuking the children from going to Jesus to receive a blessing He said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs’” Matthew 19:14.
To be completely honest I was actually tired at Adoration that day and maybe I did look it to the people near me. Maybe I did look like a frazzled mother chasing after her child as well. However, I remember thinking I am entirely happy right now! Rightly so, I should be happy that I am here. That God has given me this faith and that my husband and I are able to bring our daughter to Adoration with us. This is such a privilege for us to be here with God, the Creator of the Universe! It seemed that our Eucharistic Lord immediately answered my question. This is how we can be a light to the world. This is how we can bring joy to others. By first being joyful ourselves, internally and externally, receiving our joy from the Creator of it.
Since getting to know other Catholic mothers I have noticed how we as mothers can fall into the temptation of thinking and saying to one another, “It is so hard to bring my baby to Mass or Adoration. It is burdensome to be at the back of the church with my child when I would rather just sit in the pew in silence. It is not suppose to be this difficult!” However, this is the joyous gift of life given to us from God Himself!
As Catholics we are pro-life from conception to natural death. This means that when we go to Mass, Adoration, Church events, and when we are with other Catholic families there is going to be life. If we as Catholics are devoutly living out the teachings of our Church then there should be children at Mass, in Adoration, and at Church events. This should give us as Catholics such immense joy to be open to life and to uphold the dignity of life from conception to natural death.
“Hear Mass daily; it will prosper the whole day. All your duties will be performed the better for it, and your soul will be stronger to bear its daily cross. The Mass is the most holy act of religion; you can do nothing that can give greater glory to God or be more profitable for your soul than to hear Mass both frequently and devoutly. It is the favorite devotion of the saints” (St. Peter Julian Eymard, Apostle of the Eucharist).
I actually love going to daily Mass with my family (I hope I am not the only one)! I was greatly encouraged when I heard that Ss. Louis and Zelie used to bring their whole family to Mass everyday (at 5:30am mind you). All of their children who lived to adulthood entered into the religious life. I am sure it was not always easy for their family to go to daily Mass, but that advanced them in virtue and love. The great thing is that through their strivings for holiness Louis and Zelie are now saints! Not only this, but their youngest daughter, St. Therese, became a saint as well and became a doctor of the church (there are only 36 of those)!
As I was discussing with a wise friend of mine about bringing Gianna to Mass and Adoration she said this, “Gianna might not know what is going on by means of her body and physical senses, but her soul understands and is having the faith seeped within it. Her body may not know, but her soul knows.” Wow! What she said stuck with me and I have brought this to prayer with me many times.
I love this painting of Jesus and Mary. My friend Leana commented that she loves how Jesus is depicted as moving in His mother’s arms. It does look as if Jesus is trying to move in His mother’s arms just like normal little babies and toddlers do. (Of course this also represents Jesus’ fate as He consents to His Father’s will. “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” Luke 22:42). Jesus is fully human and fully divine. This means that Jesus once was a baby and a toddler too learning and exploring the world. Gianna is learning about her faith right now as a baby especially by the example Adam and I set for her.
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth” John 1:14.
Now imagine the impact a joyful and devout family who prays together, goes to Mass together, and goes to Adoration together would have on others! At the end of our lives I am sure Jesus and Mary will be so joyful to let us know that they loved seeing our children at Mass and in Adoration with us. They would be utterly thankful to see their little milestones as they grow. Think about how much infinite joy Jesus (and all of Heaven) would have to see your little one through means of the Mass and Adoration. Just as He blessed the children who came to Him when He walked the earth He will also bless children today. Jesus is waiting to see these children, do not hinder them. Jesus is waiting to give you and me, our children, and our families blessings, even if people rebuke our efforts. Jesus is waiting. Will you bring your family to see Him?