It is well worth taking a few moments today to read The Challenge and Foundations at Castle of the Immaculate. So often, we spend a harried early morning finding collared shirts and matching shoes and checkbooks and envelopes and then we dash out the door and roll out of the van and into the pew. Then for the next hour, we work on keeping them still and quiet. Around us, there are other parents who are genuinely trying to keep children "entertained" with all sorts of playful distractions. They are well-intentioned, of course. They don't want their children to be a nuisance to those around them. But can't we do better? Can't we bring our children along to a place where they are truly assisting at Holy Mass, instead of merely existing there?
Helen reminds us that it is a continual teaching process that prepares a child, not just a Sunday morning one. Our goal is for a child to "internally engage in what is going on." Throughout the week, we set the stage for a contemplative Sunday. And, in doing so, we live the Mass every day.
We are a liturgical people–all people are liturgical people. In a recent conversation with a Baptist who is longing for something she senses is missing, I reflected upon how blessed we are that our Faith embraces all the senses. Instead of running from the physical aspects of worship, we bring the "smells and bells" of it into our churches and into our homes. Children are particularly sensitive to movement and to sight, sound and touch. They sense the sacred.
Throughout the week, we can remind children that we worship with our whole person, with our whole body. So, on Sunday, it is a treat–the pinnacle of worship–when we are supported in our desire to unite with God with every fiber of our being at the Holy Mass.
So, that wiggly, squiggly active little boy? The one that won't sit still and must move? Let's see if we can't show him how his body–trained to ride a bike or put a soccer ball upper ninety–can be trained to move and to posture with reverence and a certain degree of skill in order to join more perfectly with God. They can do it. Mass doesn't have to be about goldfish in a cup and coloring books and happy meal toys. It can be about worship even for–especially for–little poeple. Don't distract them; disciple them.