Tuning In Mass

So, with all this COVID19 restrictions we were forced to stay home and, in between other things, us Catholics were forced to NOT go to church. Everyone around us started to complain about it but we all understood that it was some sort of civic duty in order to protect our elderly and vulnerable (or at least that was what we were told). Then, churches all around the world activated their resources and thanks to social media platforms we were blessed with having access to our normal Mass online.

Easy! We just turned on the TV -or Phone or Tablet- and there it was. No one would noticed if you tuned in late, or if you were there early to get the best spot. No. No one noticed or cared. Everyone was eager to tuned in.

The thing is, it was to easy. The elderly had the access (once a few lessons were given to them). The vulnerable had the access. ALL of us had the access… but mums?? NOOOO. Our kids terrorized us with tantrums to watch their shows, or interrupted us 1000 times for the 25th snack of the day (it’s not even 10am!), or just layed down or played with their noisy toys while the priest was consecrating the Eucharist… or just talking talking and more talking all while you are trying to read the Act of Consecration prayer… It felt like we weren’t there. Kids didn’t care. And Us as parents couldn’t explain to them what was happening… Come on! We were still on our living room watching TV, so for them there is no difference, specially when you have 3 kids under 4 years old. Impossible to explain!

You could try to do as much as you can but you slacked down a bit… there wasn’t a “lead up” to the mass. Routine for Sundays was same as the Monday to Saturday’s ones… no change.

For me was particularly hard because the last 3 months of my pregnancy I really didn’t go to Church due to a lot of issues on my last trimester, plus the need to get 2 toddlers ready on time while carrying the weight, PLUS the weather which was horrible with the smoke, etc. I lost that contact and routine for Sundays. It was not a great lead up to my delivery. However, after delivering my 3rd kid, the Pandemic happened -surprisingly and with no warning- during that 6 weeks period where you need to “heal” physically and emotionally… so, really, I spent the first few months with my newborn in isolation, with 2 toddlers and my helpful husband. We didn’t get into a proper routine so I was in a space that many mothers have being: survival mode activated. Sleep deprived, winging toddlers, COVID19 floating in the air, disinfecting groceries (yes, if you are reading this 5 years after 2020, yes, disinfecting groceries was a “thing” in this Pandemic), etc, TV for Church was not a priority, and not because of lack of faith, or will, or access, but because it was to hard and, basically, not the same. It didn’t feel the same.

How watching God on my phone is “Holy” when on the same phone I watched or read news, or laughed at memes, or checked up stuff on Facebook or Instagram?. It felt weird and it didn’t feel right. Dispensation or not, the fact that before the Pandemic happened Sunday was THE Day to get out makes a difference when you have kids. There was motivation: kids had breakie, (I scream for them to hurry up), kids get dressed (kids cry while brushing their hairs), mum gets ready for 4 (now 5, with bags full with nappies, bottles, wipes, etc), dad has breakie and entertained kids while mum gets the baby ready and gets herself ready as well. All of the sudden someone cries… maybe all at the same time or in turns, -depends-. I generally ended up with a few tears of frustration myself but when everyone was in the car, locked in their car seats ready to go to Church, you feel relieved, you made it!. It was an adventure and an experience: getting ready, drive there, see the big building, see everything around. Once Mass started you can see how everyone does the sign of the cross at the same time, see how everyone kneels down while the Consecration is happening, see how everyone goes in line to get the Eucharist, see how everyone is singing…

Ahhh…

You can’t get that “experience” or teaching moments with your kids while at home, in their PJs, having snacks while a toy makes noise in the background…

Yes, it was a huge tool Tuning in Mass, but not good enough for some of us in the long run. My little baby is now 4 months and hasn’t stepped on a church. I want him to go soon but I didn’t wanted to get the spot of someone who actually really needs to go.

But, don’t I need to go too? – I wonder sometimes.

Mums are givers. We give everything from us and whithin us too. Body, Heart and Soul are for our families. We don’t rest, we stress. We want THEM to know Jesus like we know Him. But, what happens when we, as mums, loose Him? I don’t mean literally but I do miss mass. It is VERY hard to get there, but once there you realised it was worth the effort.

Last Sunday my husband went for a walk with the toddlers while I stayed with the newborn. Conviniently my newborn slept just 5 minutes before mass time. This time I didn’t brush off the feeling of turning the TV on to watch it… this time I ignored the pile of washing that I kept telling myself (lying to myself, actually) that I was going to fold and pack; I ignored the dishes that needed wash, I ignored housework, and instead of Martha I was a Mary and so, I sat down and watched mass by myself.

Yes, by myself. We, too, need that connection with God. I wouldn’t had that time if it wasn’t thanks to the Social Media tools. I needed this… because when the Priest was Consecrating the Eucharist I did close my eyes and prayed… no interruptions…  And when it was time to take the Eucharist, for the first time since the Pandemic started, I actually READ the prayer Act Of Consecration… and while I was reading it I cried… I cried not because I missed going out for mass, but because in my daily noisy and stressful life, I missed God… and while I was wiping my tears I heard the laughs of my kids returning from their walk with their dad… I smiled while I opened the door to my daughters running telling me “Mummy! we went for a walk with daddy” and so I hugged them…

We cannot pour our faith from an empty cup… we need God to fill it up so we can share it with our children…

And while I hugged them I remembered Jesus saying: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3.

Oh man! What a Narrow Path that is… but God in all His Mercy has giving us the path to take us to Him… and He, as our Father, is waiting for us with open arms to give us that hug…

God bless you.

Liza, a Maronite Mum

June 2020

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