As a visitor to the Reninger household this weekend, I was privileged to attend church with them. As grandmother, I wanted take Jacob to the pew in front of the musicians so he could watch them to his heart's content. A family moved over to make room for us on the end. Jacob was inching closer to the family so he could get a better view of the instruments. I realized that I would have to use my body as a shield to protect the family from Jacob's encroachment and accidental kicks. I was getting tired of turning around and dragging him back to our end of the pew. That was making it difficult for me to concentrate on the prayers and focus on worship. Jacob did fine throughout the sermon. He spoke softly a couple of times and responded well when I reminded him to whisper. Just prior to the collection, Jacob announced that he wanted to go to the room with the books. He was heading out of the pew when I grabbed him from behind with an across-the-body rescue grip. I held him on my lap and gave him money for the collection. That kept his interest for an additional 5 minutes, after which we left for the children's worship room.
Meanwhile, downstairs in the Children's Chapel (also known as "the room with the books"), Lucy was playing shy with the other children, who were mostly sitting quietly with parents. One poor boy was crying so much his dad took him out of the room. Eventually Lucy found the big bead rosaries and gave one to mommy. Then she took it back and tried to put it on mommy's neck. Mommy had to help. My turn was next. My head was almost to big for the rosary to drop around my neck. I'm glad I helped and Lucy didn't try to force it. She also gave rosaries to another little girl but did not insist on her wearing them.
When the usher came for the collection, Lucy was very excited to put in our donation. Then Jacob and Granny came in and joined us. Jacob did his usual reading of books in a quiet voice. At the sign of peace, he was not interested in shaking hands for some reason. Lucy was into it big time and shook my hand twice.
Going upstairs for communion, Jacob wanted to look at the elevator by the book shelf. When I gave him a quarter surprisingly he put it in the poor box and not the book shelf box. I guess we'll have to wait a little longer for that Biblical Sudoku. Jacob didn't want to stay upstairs after communion since he had got his fill of the musicians with Granny. We went back to the children's chapel, which worked out quite well for us since we were next to the parish hall. What's so great about that? This week a bake sale was going on and we were among the first to peruse and purchase some yummy treats: pumpkin bread, cookies, and a blondie.
The sermon was quite excellent this week. The gospel was about the crowds taunting Jesus on the cross and how the two thieves reacted to being crucified with Jesus. Father talked about the need to give all for the Lord. He told of a couple he met at daily Mass who were just married and who wanted to come to Mass as often as possible to keep Jesus as the head of their home. Another woman in her 30s came to him with a problem. She's single with a good job in Annapolis and a nice apartment and thinks she's in love. She told her parents she is in love with the Lord and wants to join an order where she can use her communication skills to spread the message of God's love. Their reaction was to tell her that she didn't know what she was talking about because she never really loved anyone. As she told the priest this she started to cry. He told her of his own vocation: He'd been dragging his feet in high school about applying for college. His mom kept nagging him. One day he went to the spiritual counselor (a Franciscan), and told him he wanted to be a priest, something he had been thinking about for a long time. The counselor was overjoyed and ready to measure him for his robes! When he told his mom later, she was extremely upset and said something rude to him. She then went to his dad to tell him his son wanted to be a blankety-blank priest. The dad came upstairs and told his son that whatever the son decided was okay as long as he would be happy. And he's been happy ever since. The woman agreed that her happiness would be in giving herself completely to Christ. Father was amazed at that desire to give herself completely, or even of the couple to give themselves completely to the Lord. He asked parents to be open to the happiness of their children, even if that happiness is not what they expected for their children. God give us the grace to be open to our children's happiness.