Lately there has been a lot of crying during Mass in our little parish. After what seemed like forever, we suddenly have a parish full of little ones again. I like to call the crying and little noises we hear the "song" of the Church.
As I looked around the sanctuary last Sunday from my place at the piano, I could see young parents trying desperately to keep their little ones quiet. In the midst of a cry or a noise, you'd see a mom or dad attempting to soothe the baby causing the ruckus, or giving a stern look at the two siblings apparently fighting over the missal.
I could also see some older folks looking with disdain at these tiny noise makers.
I thought about it a lot on the way home from Mass. I remembered those days when my children were young, and I struggled with them in Mass. I remembered how stressed out I would become when it was difficult to even participate in Mass then.
One memory that flooded back to me was when my son was a toddler. I was a new Catholic, and really still growing in my faith. I would tell my son to be really quiet during the consecration and listen, and when the bells rang, I would whisper, "That's Jesus!" to him. His eyes would get big, and he began to connect at Mass when it was time for Jesus to come. He probably doesn't remember that, but any time I am at a church where bells are rung, I remember it.
I love the sounds of those tiny voices. It does my heart a world of good to hear them. What hurts me most is when I think about all the little ones whose voices have been silenced. The ones whose voices we will never hear. The ones who will never be baptized and won't ever "listen" for Jesus in the mass.
I try to keep that in mind when I hear the little ones cry out or make noises during Mass. I pray for the babies who have been lost to abortion or miscarriage and for their mothers and fathers. I even try to pray for the politicians and medical personnel, too.
So next time you see a young mother or father struggling with their babies, small children or even big children in Mass, think about the ones whose voices we will never hear. Remember how important it is to bring them to Mass. Give those young parents a little encouragement if you can. We need to hear that "song." It is the song of our Church.
Mark 10: 13 - 16
And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a childwill not enter it."
Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.