Sunday, November 3, 2013

"I Want to Go to Adoration"

Luke's Drawing of the Sanctuary Lamp
Siblings bicker.

It's a fact of life.

And their bickering can test Mom and Dad's patience.

Or, occasionally, it can be the start of something beautiful.

So, it was in our home recently.

At bedtime one night, as Daddy left for Adoration, the kids began to squabble:  "Can I go with you, Daddy?"  "No, I want to go."  "What about me?  I want to!" 

Although any Catholic parent should delight in their children eagerly requesting to visit Jesus at Adoration, my husband Mike and I were not altogether thrilled with our children's raucous requests.  For, truth be told, we were not sure their requests were genuine.

The child who began the "I want to go Adoration" plea struggles nightly with getting to sleep and weekly with Mass.  So, we knew his request to go to Adoration might have stemmed more from not wanting to be in bed than it did from any heartfelt desire for quiet time with Jesus.  Likewise, we suspected his siblings only chimed in with whining pleas of, "No, me!" because, well, they are siblings-- and, on that evening, were quite overtired siblings at that.

Thus, we truncated the children's heated parley by telling them they could each pray by themselves at Adoration with Daddy -- or Mommy -- just not that night.

Honoring our family motto that "Mommy always keeps her word," early in the week, Mike and I sat down with our family calendar and scheduled Adoration times on the weeknights that we did not have an early evening commitment -- one for Daddy and Luke, one for Mommy and Nina and one for Daddy and Jack.

To our pleasant surprise, Luke did wonderfully at Adoration with Daddy.  Mike said Luke was focused and relatively still in the chapel.  Luke drew, read and prayed the Act of Contrition from the prayer card that he had received at Mass last Sunday as part of his first Reconciliation preparation.

Nina's Drawing of the Monstrance.  (To me, the hearts she drew in the middle of it say it all!)

Likewise, Nina was an absolute gem at Adoration with me.  Witnessing her self-directed and heartfelt prayer time with Jesus magnified for me the blessings of being at Adoration with Jesus myself.  As Nina drew, searched her prayer book for the Hail Mary to copy, sat gazing at Jesus with her lips moving in prayer, prostrated herself on the floor to pray, and, finally, cuddled into me on the pew, resting her head on my lap as she whispered to me that she was tired, but wanted to stay and pray a little more, I thought, Wow!  Thank you, Lord.  Thank you for this beautiful child of mine and this opportunity to be with her here with you.  Thank you for speaking to her heart and to mine... 

Then, my conscious mental dialogue with Jesus faded.  Feelings -- good feelings, wonderful feelings, grateful, joy-filled feelings -- supplanted words.

And Jack?  Well, our littlest man will have to wait until next week for Adoration since, late this week, a fever and belly bug hit Nina.  (We didn't want to chance getting anyone at the chapel sick if Daddy or Jack happened to be carrying the virus that had struck our girl.  Luckily, that seems not to be the case, as Nina's symptoms have subsided and no one else has had similar ones.)

So it is that a children's "me"- "no, me" squabble turned into a blessing for our family.

Yes, the children have been to Adoration before this -- occasionally even with just one child and one parent.  However, it was not until recently that all three wanted to go.

We are not sure if their desire was taught, caught, circumstantial, or a bit of all of these things.

Perhaps it was taught as our family has talked about the significance of Adoration in the past, and taken the children to pray at Adoration chapels, even when they protested.

Maybe it was caught as the children have witnessed Daddy and me set aside weekly time for one of us -- and many weeks, both of us -- to spend alone time with Jesus at Adoration late on weekday evenings since the new calendar year began, with one of us parenting the kids to bed while the other heads out for Adoration as the kids call out, "Don't forget to pray for me."

Or, possibly, it was circumstantial: a boy not wanting to go to sleep, his siblings being siblings, his parents striking while the proverbial iron was hot, and, through it all, God doing His thing.

Nina's Inspired Drawing  (I love the halo and the hands of Jesus; the hearts and the sentence she wrote.)

Whatever the reason behind our young children's current desire to spend one-on-one time at Adoration, I am glad.  In fact, I am more than glad.  I am grateful, humbled, amazed, and joy-filled.

I had no idea what Adoration was when I was a young child.  In fact, I did not really know much about it at all until my fourth decade of life, and only began visiting the local Adoration chapel regularly this past year (with the encouragement of my friend Allison from Reconciled to You.)  Then, admittedly, when I first began going, I did so more out of obedience than true desire or understanding.  Now, I "get it" more.  And -- praises be to God -- my children do, too.

Our God truly is an awesome God!

What have your experiences with Adoration -- with or without young children -- been like?

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