My little girl, nicknamed Serious just had her First Reconciliation Tuesday night, and while we’ve been through this before with two older children, something new hit me this time as we waited for her turn to reconcile herself and her soul with God.
This Sacrament, so beautifully timed in a child’s life, is probably going to be the first they remember, as Baptism usually happens while they are still babies. Reconciliation, timed in the 2nd grade, not only has the spiritual dimension of the cleansing of the soul, which I in no means am minimizing…it also brings the children closer into the Church, closer into the community of Faith as well as face to face with the reality of their mistakes. It affects the whole Church, and while they might not see it, this Sacrament starts the steps of children taking the charge over their own soul.
Parents will guard the innocence and dignity of this little person for so long, for my Serious, almost 8 years now, and while I fully understand my job is not complete, I can see how this First Confession begins in a real way, in the psyche of this child, a new responsibility, a new maturity and an awareness of consequence. It’s as if this Sacrament emboldened her.
This morning, and every Thursday morning, my Knight rises early, and gets to school to serve morning Mass, before school begins. This morning was the first time, my Serious got up early, ate quickly, brushed her hair all on her own in order to go to Mass with Knight. Her choice.
Remembering how past Thursdays went, and her disinterest in morning Mass, I asked my Serious, “Did you get going early to go to Mass this morning?”
She simply nodded and said, “Yep, I want to go.”
You can’t tell me that is co-incidence. You can’t tell me that God isn’t working in her, and through her, with the grace she obtained on Tuesday night, confessing her sins, doing her penance and through the many prayers offered on her behalf. She is responding to God’s grace, and as a parent, as a Mom, it brings to life all that we teach and push for every day.
We encourage the kids to pray, or to sing in Mass, or to be reverent or any of these things, and sometimes, yes, it feels like we are going through the motions, without really seeing, tangibly, the results. Well, today, I see this little reward as a gift. As thankless as this job of Mother is sometimes, when I see God’s grace moving and working in my very own child, it is that motivating factor that keeps me getting up in the morning. I can see my little Serious open and growing and maturing in small ways, and it keeps me tending to that soil, to keep it ready and fertile for God to work.
Isn’t that the greatest joy of Motherhood? Tell me if I’m wrong. I see so many times Moms get frustrated at not seeing the results of hard work, of education, formation or the endless hours we put in. And it’s true, we may not for a long time….but what we are doing, is readying that little soul, preparing him/her to receive God in yes, Sacraments, but also each and every day that they must discern and make good choices. Sometimes, if you look hard enough, you will see these little rewards of a child taking up a cross, making the difficult choice in the right direction, or simply giving of themselves in ways you didn’t expect…and let me tell you, this is the fruit of the work Moms are doing. Moms can bring children step by step into the fullness of participation with God.
And it’s one of those ‘three steps forward, two steps back’ type of progress sometimes. Kids are willful, strong, disobedient and sometimes, tough to handle. However, it is our perseverance that can pay off dividends in the end, if we keep fighting that good fight, even without reward, even with resistance, we know, deep down we are doing the great work that God wants for us to do. He needs us to do it. For our children, for their souls, and you know what, for ours too. This work sanctifies us in ways we don’t expect, however, beautiful or ugly we get there, IF we get there, that’s the most important.
And as a Mom, if I can set that first example for them, for my little cherubs, all five, to see it is possible, it is real, it is God’s plan, then they too, will know it is possible, it is real, and it is God’s plan for them too. And they need that confidence, they need that grace from God to propel them.
Let us Mothers tend the soil. Again. And again. And again. God will bless you for it, as His work in them will yield the greatest of fruit with readied hearts and souls and minds.
Copyright 2011 Sahmatwork