Probably the best thing about getting my kids used to attending mass is the fact that I can now attend the mass myself once again. And all I needed to do was to teach my boys to follow the 'script' of the missalette.
G goes off for the Children's Liturgy, and Nic and I read the scripture together as the lector, then the priest, proclaims from the ambo. And Nic likes Fr M enough that he is now willing to tune in during the 'unscripted' (for him) homily. Which is a huge help to me, because I can actually focus on the homily now instead of trying to keep Nic contained.
Anyway, these gifts come for a reason: the yesterday's gospel spoke of John the Baptist and his words to the Pharisees--in short, "You may come here to be baptized, but if you don't acknowledge your sins, be prepared for the unquenchable fire."
Fr M was uncharacteristically blunt in his sermon, basically dovetailing on my previous post about people who claim to be righteous, but are not, and calling them out to reassess their lives and values.
I literally sat there with my mouth open.
I didn't get the opportunity to talk to him after mass, but we saw him again for the parish's carol night; I narrated, my family came to give me notes. Fr M sat with us. I thanked him for his sermon, telling him he knocked it out of the park--again. He is a humble man, and seemed more abashed than usual in thanking me. And I insisted, "No, really, I needed to hear what you said. And I think a lot of people need to hear it, too."
The attendence was low, but it was a really nice service, and my agnostic hubby even agreed that it was beautifully done. G held the holy water and Nic held the flashlight as Fr M blessed the tree out front afterward.
At one point during the service, I sat between T and Fr M, with G on the other side of Fr M and hubby and Nic behind them both, and had a real sense that my family was truly all together at that moment. I wonder if Fr M and T felt that way, too?
So it is this feeling, one of hope, warmth, and love for my family--those of my blood, and those I have chosen--that renews me, fills me with joy gratitude, and keeps me moving forward.....