I had a tough time getting myself together to make it to Mass yesterday morning; my head was a little foggy from Saturday, and I was grateful for my husband’s gentle prodding to get in the shower and dressed. He took on the challenge of waking Mr. Man, dressing him, and jollying him into enough civility to give us, as it were, a prayer of making it through Mass. It’s a good thing my best friend was able to shepherd us all towards the van; he remembered what I had forgotten, that it was our parish moms’ group’s turn to serve the donuts after the 9:30 celebration. I had forgotten it so completely that I had not notified the other moms, so it would have been rather bad if I had not made it to Mass myself. Luckily, we share our duty with the Secular Franciscans group, and when I explained my situation to their lovely leader, she responded by embracing me warmly and assuring me that she would lift up our family in prayer.
The tribe was exceptionally well-behaved at this particular Mass, and my husband and I were actually able to hear Father Hudgins’s homily this week. This Sunday’s Gospel was the passage about Christ as the Good Shepherd, Whose sheep know His voice and answer His call, no matter how lost they may be. Bugaboo listened quietly throughout most of Father’s teaching, and I’m planning to replay part of it for them when we continue talking about the parable of the Prodigal Son this week. It occurred to me that I am thankful for a husband who shepherds our family into Godly pastures, even as Christ tends his flocks and leads them to the best of lands when they heed His call.
My biggest lesson from Mass, however, was something I’ve heard at every Mass since last year. Some readers may be aware that the language of the order of Mass was changed to a more accurate translation late last year. As part of those changes, the Gloria is now sung, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will.” To me, that may be the most important prayer in the entire Mass at this time; I pray that the Lord will create me as a woman of good will, and help me raise our tribe as people of good will.
We are trying to create a household where our children recognize the rightness of kindness and humility. A fellow blogger wrote a terrific post the other day about creating a 93% chance of a successful marriage just by managing the ratio of kind words to critical ones (5 to 1 is the target). If we can set an example of that for our children, we will foster good will in our domestic church, and while we do not want our children to be fools, neither do we want them to grow into the kind of adults who immediately leap to criticize, to tear down, to find reasons to dislike. Perhaps teaching them to see the beauty first, to see the work of the Lord first, and to spend five minutes admiring it before spending that one discordant minute, will have the effect of arming them against the temptation to petty divisions.
Today’s prayer: Lord, You call us to gather together in Your name on the Sabbath, to worship You as a community of believers. When we gather, we see Your love in action through our brothers and sisters in faith, praying and singing together. Thank You for a loving parish community in which to raise Your blessings, and for the many brethren who model Your exhortation to charity to them. Please keep my tongue gentle, even when I must correct, and help me show always my love for Your blessings in the way I raise them. They will treat each other the way they see me treat those around me, and if my mouth is filled with spiteful words and anger, they will learn it from me. Please grant me the grace of a heart filled with mercy, and a direct line from that heart to my mouth. Teach me to celebrate life and give thanks to You with every thought, word, and deed.