Monday, March 29, 2010

Mama vs. the Cadets

Yesterday at Mass, I had one of those moments. You've probably had them before... those (hopefully) rare times when you feel that you just might really lose it, and you don't care who sees or hears you...

We are ambitious. We've moved from the balcony at church down the second row. Not sure how we picked the second row - but it seems to always be empty, so it's been ours for the last several weeks. We are trying to get a bit more out of the Mass and hoping that the closer proximity will help our children understand a bit more of what is going on. And, so far, it seems to be working. Except for a few moments last week when Colleen screamed out "RAISINS!" at the top of her little lungs. Yes, that was us. Anyway, we are trying.

So, yesterday, we arrive early and are all neatly parked, with a few kids on laps so they'll be a bit less squirmy. Apparently it looked like there was a space or two available. Half way through the readings, two Cadets with their heads buzzed so very close, came up next to me. "Ma'am, ya mind if we take those seats?" I looked. I didn't see any seats. I said, "I don't think we can fit two people in there." I didn't think we could fit one in, but I was trying to be nice. And they said, "Oh, thanks!" and wedged themselves right in, stepping over my children and making themselves right at home in the middle of MY pew.

Mama wasn't happy.

My happy vision of a perfect Palm Sunday Mass crumbled. 

Emelie and Jonathan were shoulder to shoulder like grumpy sardines, Katherine was on Curt's lap and Colleen had taken my spot, so I was sitting on the very edge of the pew with her behind me. I kept looking over at those two bald boys hoping to catch their eye so they'd see what discomfort they'd caused me. They didn't look over. I sighed a few times and turned my head this way and that, hoping to garner some sympathy from those behind me. I glanced at one girl and she handed me a hymnal.

So there I sat. Mad. At Mass. On Palm Sunday.

And then Fr. Brian McMaster began his homily. I can't even begin to try to tell you all that he said. Just know that it was profoundly beautiful. He talked about the sacrifices of Jesus for love of us. He talked about Jesus "scandalous love" for us ~ that he can love EACH of us completely and perfectly as if we were the only person on earth. He told us about the 3 great questions from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius: "What have I done for Jesus? What am I doing for Jesus? What will I do for Jesus?"

He was on fire.

Half way through the homily, I looked over at those two boys, expecting to see their heads lolled back with eyes closed or busying checking their iphones.


There they sat, the invaders of my peaceful family pew. Their elbows on their knees, chins on their fists, eyes locked on my college friend, Fr. Brian.

They listened.

Man. What a jerk I am. These guys needed that second pew more than we did. "What am I doing for Jesus?" Not even sharing my pew, that's what...

So the rest of the Mass, I sat on my little edge of the pew, baby feet kicking me in the back. Took Colleen back when she freaked out. Watched Curt take her back after communion. Sent two kids to the bathroom. Refereed a fight over the last song sheet and caught Colleen crawling under the pew in front of us, heading for the choir. Yeah, we're real shining examples...

It was an amazing Mass. Really. Afterward, we knelt down for our little prayer. We left and those two boys were still on their knees.

Maybe today I can do a little bit more for Jesus than begrudgingly share my seat... We'll see!


  1. So, it doesn't get any easier? I only have one! Beautiful reflection - we went to Mass with Fr. Dean and I can't really remember much of it, but it was great to see him!

  2. It does get easier... the older ones are much better. But then when you add more littles in the mix it starts all over. I know I'm much better about not being resentful, like I used to be. We just know that we'll be standing in the back for a while with Colleen, and Curt and I change off right before communion time, so each of us gets some peace!