Monday, May 6, 2019

The Small Triumph on Good Friday

It's been a longgg time since I had gone for a Good Friday's service (because it's not a day of obligation and it's really quite a longgggg service... don't judge) Especially when the kids came along, the thought of going for the service was even more unattractive.

Us at church to give thanks for
Baby Philip's first month
But ever since attending the Conversion Experience Retreat (CER) last year, both D and I thought that we really should spend some time and effort on the kids' spirituality. Since then, we would go mass during birthdays and public holidays, bring the kids to adoration room for quiet time and even go for confessions with them regularly. This year, we went one step further and brought all five kids with us for the Good Friday's service.

I was personally apprehensive because even for a normal mass they can get distracted and restless, what more a 2.5 hr service. D and I agreed that if it gets too disruptive, we would leave halfway through. We left home at 8.45am for the 9am service and even though the church was just 3 minutes car ride away, we were still late. We ended up standing at the back of the church for the whole service. Julian and Kyra did test us once a while during the service, but by and large, they were still manageable and we actually survived the whole service! *Hurrah*

Now, before you think our kids are angels and we have no problem with them during mass, they are not. Our kids still think mass is boring (we need to work harder for their salvation now), struggle to sit still through mass (to be fair it isn't all of them... I mean Philip is just sleeping) and even argue and fight with each other DURING mass (so much for world peace).
We have been given the death stares by fellow parishioners (because the kids were not quiet... I mean... why would they when they are not sleeping?), miss parts if not a huge chunk of mass before (because during that one hour, someone either "needs" to go to the toilet or someone would be crying) and even been seen dragging our kids out of mass to talk about their behavior (so much for being a cool mum).

Yes, we had good days in church, unfortunately from our track record, we have far more bad days.
As much as it would be great if the fellow parishioners were kind to us, we learn that we need to be kind to ourselves too and accept the fact that while God would be pleased if our kids were good, it would also please Him as much when we are trying to help them to behave.

One of my Sunday reflections

Through the years, D and I prepared for mass by looking through the readings before it starts as it helps us to focus and tune in to what the priest would share. In fact, we both will try to find something that speaks to us through the readings or homilies and share with each other during lunch. (Something which I find help us to grow as a couple)

But looking back, I realised that going to mass is not the same as taking a plane. Don't be too preoccupied and worried if your child will be bored or restless in church. (They will be regardless with the toys or not)
Our responsibility isn't to entertain them in mass (they won't be even if you did) neither is it to make sure they understood what the priest is saying (they don't because chances are you won't too). In fact, despite going to mass regularly, our kids would rather stay home and rot than go to church.
Going mass as a family is really more for D and I than for them, for us to sustain through the week (and really not to kill our kids with every test they put us through) and be reminded time and again that God loves us.

Truth be told, we can't be sure if our kids love God. We aren't even sure if they know who is God. So with each mass we attend as a family, we really are like match making them with a Being based on our experience we have with Him. But the greatest comfort of this blind dating is that because our kids love us, they are always willing to give this Being a chance every time we go to Church.

Some of my friends have commented before that they can imagine how tough it would be going to mass with 5 kids, because they are dying with their 2 kids. But they don't realise that it is equally tough for that family bringing an elderly in wheelchair for mass, or that parent dealing with his only child who has ADHD, or even that lost soul who is trying to soften his heart to come back to church.
They don't realize that it is because we see these faces in church, we are in turn encouraged and
inspired to not give up trying. And while it seems that our fellow parishioners may be frowning on our kids' behavior, we forget that we also may be a source of encouragement and inspiration for someone else.

The evil one is always hard at work especially when we try to please God. So if it's not easy for you to do the right thing, be consoled that you are doing things right.
Just take one mass at a time. If this mass was trying, the next one will be better. :)

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