Monday, June 9, 2008

Pit Stop for Peace

I went to confession recently and my penance was to try to make an occasional stop by the adoration chapel. The priest kindly encouraged me to do little things to nurture my prayer life. “Just pay a quick visit, a few minutes or so, and bring the kids.”

So last week we made a pit stop for peace in between running errands.

As I was unbuckling Madeline from her car seat, she asked if she could go in barefoot (she usually takes her shoes off in the car). “No,” I told her.


“Because this is God’s house.”

“We can’t see God or Jesus in there.”

I almost jumped in, assuming she was about to start arguing with me but before I could interrupt her, she went on. “But they’re here in my heart.”

That was enough to reduce a sappy, overtired mom to tears, but there’s more.

We quietly shuffled into the chapel. Madeline dipped her hand into the holy water and made a rudimentary Sign of the Cross. I bowed before the Blessed Sacrament with the baby in my arms. I knelt and started praying. Then, out of the blue, Rachel Marie wiggled in my arms and started waving excitedly looking directly at the monstrance where the heavenly host was displayed. “Hiiiiiiiiiii,” she said happily.

After a brief pause, she gave another shout out to the Lord. "Hiiiiiiiiiii!"

The chapel was empty except for two women behind us. The only one in front of us in the direction of Rachel Marie's enthusiastic salutation was Christ.

As my baby waved to Jesus, I thought about what I’d just been saying in my mind – some formal, stiff prayer about needing to be open to his graces and wanting his presence to be more noticeable in my life. When maybe I was completely missing the boat while my kids were setting sail.

Maybe instead of reciting formal prayers, I should simply try to strike up a conversation with Christ, thank him for all he has done for me, ask him how he’s doing, and better yet, how I’m doing and what I should do to do (be!) better. Maybe I should just say hello to him and wait for him to answer. Maybe I should stop searching for profundity, for the actual feeling of his graces pouring down on me and just know that he’s right there in the Blessed Sacrament. Maybe I should remember that his love is written on my heart and he’s with me even when I can’t feel or see him at all. And maybe I should bring my kids to Adoration more often.

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