Mass Grades and a Momily

Mass Grades and a Momily.

 

F is for Family and also failing.

 

Mass attendance with children is all about learning. While certain souls of piety may focus on the ever- incredible qualities of God (preferred), sometimes the biggest lesson is more practical. For instance, this week I learned to never sit behind a man who has crutches. Unless, of course, I prefer being both accidentally and purposely whacked and necessarily preoccupied with continually removing children #3, 2, and 1 from inappropriately handling the kind stranger’s metal walking device/irresistible weapon within a toddler’s reach instead of soaking in the message of Jesus. Lesson: live and learn pew placement and do your best to avoid accidentally sitting near an arsenal.

 

And while I strongly wish I could say the armament of two toddlers and a baby was the only distraction of the hour, the fat lip, but thankfully not lost front tooth, received from Rita’s impressive head flail, as a display of her physical repulsion to any limit to her crutch and kneeler acrobatics, also played an important role in the family’s worse Mass showing in weeks. In a dramatic “am I bleeding!?” head turn I was told, “its not even a little bit swollen, pipe down and grab Josie.” Her impressive, yet still inappropriate, kneeler turned balance beam splits and jumps paled in comparison to the should- have- been- napping breakdown of her older and louder, melting loud by the minute, big brother. The fire hydrant running of two noses made for a great hour to forget bringing tissues and/or baby wipes. Rita discovered and finished a half eaten pretzel which I realllllly am hoping came from her own car seat and not the floor but whose to know? Josie spotted and announced each and every “bad guy!!!” spotted in the Stations of the Cross, just as Rita decided to throw books at the floor, me, and other childless adults. To the cry room we went to stand off in the distance just like the tax collector in the Gospel except not as holy or genuine. And in one final blow to the ego, in a most impressive move, Josephine managed to carry the toy boat I specifically requested stay in the cry room pew for Communion and whispered “ I pulled a fast one, momma” with a grin and a giggle shattering any last bit of her duped mother’s pious effort to receive the Eucharist with a straight face.

 

But maybe bad behavior from 3 kids is what a righteous mom needs to realize its not about me and what I want and maybe the 45 kneeler- crushing- toes were each a humble reminder to de-Pharisee and worry less? Or to buy steel toe boots? Its one of those, I’m sure.

 

Come at me with some spiritual lights, it’s a bit dim over here 🙂

Fire and In laws, it’s Momily Monday.

It’s round two of Momily Monday! Find this week’s Gospel here.

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This weekend was spent with my in laws, and on Saturday night we built a bonfire in a Sunday Gospel coincidence, except for the whole daughter in law being against her mother in law part. There is something both beautiful and terrifying about a fire, especially when children out number adults 57/2 (somewhere around 4 million marshmallows were consumed, mostly by Josie.)

The enthusiasm of its fevering flames mesmerize and captivate while its fervor and power repel the gazers from recklessness or out of order behavior, reminding us that if there are any two things that ought to be respected it’s a burning fire and probably also the woman who raised your spouse.

The thought of Jesus using such a powerful force to fulfill his mission is thought provoking. On Valentine’s Day three years ago, my parents house caught on fire with all of us home, and if there is anything that I learned that day its that a route towards safety is something for which to be thankful and to cling. Additionally, Valentine’s Day is the worst.

Fire gets us moving in the right direction, quickly, and with intention. Or else, it absorbs and mercilessly destroys leaving little evidence of what originally existed. To me, this imagery is how I understand the tension between the Peace vs. Division to which Jesus refers in this week’s Gospel. Peace implies a sort of motionlessness, and maybe even complacency. Fire, however, gets the behind bouncing, causing division by necessity, for the reality is sort of simple: run towards safety of the truth, or get burned.

As a mother of three, with a household of five, division is something to which I relate. The transition from man to man defense (parenting two kids) to zone defense (three children), is one in which my husband and I sometimes end up punting, often with zero points on the board, and if there is anything that leaves my love for God and family sizzled and burnt out, its that. Yet it’s the struggles and division that often show us where our weaknesses are, and how much we need God to be #1 MVP, or else, we too will be left consumed by something other than the fiery love of our creator.

It’s also in the dividing times that we yearn for a clearer direction, which hopefully draws us closer to the Big Man. So this week, may the love of God fuel our family life and mesmerize our hearts, scorching out the bad, and igniting the ambivalence. And, when I burn dinner, I’ll consider it living the Gospel.

(and as far as Mass grades go, James and I braved the big church together while Josie and Rita took advantage of the cry room with their father due to poor attitudes and uncontrollable 10 month old yells. He gets an A for participation and thoughtful questions even if he was unaware of the high volume of his voice when asking, “But mom, why do you eat Jesus!? That is NOT nice.”)

May your hearts be full and your laundry piles low. And I’d love to hear your take on the Gospel in the comments! I find it difficult to make a real bible study…