Daily Mass with Ben

Recently in confession the subject of daily Mass came up. I used to go to daily Mass regularly before I was married, I lamented in response. I’d love to start going again; but with four kids, it’s just too hard.

And then I actually listened to what I was saying. Heard myself making excuses. And I paused and really thought about it, entertained the possibility instead of dismissing it. (That’s the grace of the sacrament right there, folks!) And I realized that in fact maybe it isn’t all that impossible. My sister was able to watch the children for me in the final months of my pregnancy when I had to go in to the OB for an NST twice a week. Why couldn’t I ask her to watch them for one day a week so I could slip out and go to daily Mass?

So I asked her. And she said yes. She would be willing to wake up early on her day off once a week and watch the kids for me.

Last week it didn’t happen because of Ben’s being sick and Bella’s birthday. But today. Today after breakfast I slipped on my shoes and grabbed Anthony and prepared to leave. Mass is at nine and I didn’t even feel remotely rushed trying to get out the door.

As I was leaving Ben started to fuss. Since he was totally dressed all but his shoes and socks and since I still had fifteen minutes to get to the church which is only a mile away, I decided to bring him with me. Sophie started to cry too; but I was firm I couldn’t only take one of them and I’d chosen Ben first. “You can come with me next week.” I told her.

It was me and my two boys, the littlest ones. When we got to the church I popped Anthony into the sling. He was looking a bit tired and I was hoping he’d just go to sleep. Ben grabbed my finger and walked next to me, little legs scurrying to keep up with my longer strides across the parking lot and into the church and up the stairs. He plunged his fist into the holy water font and I helped him to make the sign of the cross even as I heard Father beginning Mass.

We walked all the way up the long aisle, ignoring the looks I felt, so that we could sit near the front where Ben could see. I herded him into the pew as Father completed the opening blessing.

Anthony fussed for a bit and then dozed off. Ben was very good. He did spend a minute of so talking to Nie-Nie; but even that wasn’t too loud. Though it did turn the heads of a few of the school children who were sitting across from us. How nice that one class was there at daily Mass. I wondered if they do that regularly or it was for some special occasion.

At several points during the Mass I spoke softly to him, Jesus loves you Ben. He’d smile and cuddle up next to me. Just before the consecration I leaned over and whispered in Ben’s ear just as I used to do with Bella when she was the same age: Jesus is coming! And then as the bells sounded at the moment of elevation, Look, Jesus is here! And he did look. And he smiled. And he whispered the name, Jesus! eyes shining.

Since Anthony was born I never sit with Ben at Mass on Sundays. He’s either with Tree or Dom. So this was a special treat, a chance to be there with just me and him (and the sleeping baby). Even better really, than just being there alone.

After Mass we lingered, kneeling, praying. Then we went to take a closer look at the statues of Mary and St Joseph. We looked at the flowers. We walked down to the grotto and said a prayer before that statue of Mary too. Walking a little slower than usual, at a mindful toddler’s pace. What a delicious treat!

I’m looking forward to Mass next week with Sophie. And the next week with Bella. Time to slow down, receive nourishment for the journey, allow myself to be refreshed. Forty-five minutes, that’s all it took. And yet it tasted of eternity.

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