23 June 2012

Mothers with Young Children at Mass

Taking young children to Mass regularly can be daunting. I've seen a number of online debates on whether the children should even be there, even though they are baptised Catholics! Those who take their children anyway then have to contend its the stress of knowing the slightest sound may elicit negative comments, so it can be rather stressful and daunting when the children are quite young. This is even more the case when the mother is having more children, and thus is trying to bring older children and younger children.

As the mother to a growing family with children of varying ages, I know that the negative comments can leave me in tears, but the positive comments can truly encourage and make me smile.

So if you see a mother bringing her children to Mass, might I suggest commending her for bringing them, even if she's right in front of you and the kids were noisy? Or even just smile at her. After all, maybe the crying child is teething or didn't sleep well. Maybe the mother is exhausted and upset about something at home but managed to make it to Mass anyway. And maybe she has no option but to bring all the children if she wishes to attend Mass And receive the much-needed graces. I can guarantee that if the child is noisy, she's nervous about negative comments, so hearing a positive one instead will mean a lot.

Above all, remember that the mother is just trying to follow Jesus' words to bring the children to Him so they can learn the Mass and learn to recognise and love their Echaristic Lord. Even if you find it difficult to concentrate at first, the graces are still there; besides, as adults, it's our role to teach the children, not condemn them for being who they are. A visiting priest once told me that something that is acting according to its nature is praising God. I hope we can all remember that the next time we see a child being a child, especially at Mass.

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