People often ask me, “How do you do it all?”
The real answer is, I don’t do it all. Not even close. However, I do have a secret — one I can’t take credit for because it’s not actually my secret; it’s St. John Paul II’s. He wrote:
The Eucharist is the secret of my day. It gives strength and meaning to all my activities of service to the Church and to the whole world… Let Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament speak to your hearts. It is he who is the true answer of life that you seek. He stays here with us: he is God with us. Seek him without tiring, welcome him without reserve, love him without interruption: today, tomorrow, forever.”
What an awesome secret it is!!! Receiving the Eucharist as often as possible truly is vital to my own service to the church and my family. People are often surprised to hear that I try to attend daily Mass. Even my kids ask, “Why do you go to church EVERY day, Mom?” While I don’t make it every single day, an important part of my prayer life is attending Mass as often as possible. It doesn’t make me perfect or holy, but I know the graces of participating in the source and summit of our faith, the Eucharist, is what carries me through the day. It the most important thing I can do. As I tell my kids, “I go because I love Jesus and I hope you do too!”
I think my love of the Mass started as a child. Growing up I was blessed to attend a Catholic school where we went to Mass three times a week. The students actively participated in the liturgy by being cantors, playing guitar, and reading at Mass.
My parents also attended every day and brought us to Mass on Saturday and Sunday mornings. As a teenager, I didn’t think this was so cool anymore; however, that changed in college. I began my adult faith life and including attending daily Mass as often as possible. I began to realize that even though I thought I was “too busy” to go, I found the time. When I did attend, everything fell into place and I had time left over at the day’s end. I also began to realize that spending each morning reflecting on God’s word and receiving Him in the most Holy Eucharist was transforming me, and now I hate to miss even one day!
Fr. John Riccardo writes in his new book Heaven Starts Now,
“Obviously we need to go to Sunday Mass. But ask yourself this: is it possible for me to achieve greatness when I am feeding on the Eucharist only once a week? Once we’ve really come to understand, objectively speaking, that the Eucharist is the GREATEST source of strength that we could ever encounter in our lives, why wouldn’t we want to go more often?”
Now a mom of four, I am trying to teach my kids the love of the Mass. For a young mother with little ones, daily Mass can be intimidating. Going into a near empty church, usually with no other children present, means a very quiet church. Toddlers and babies are anything but that! However, I have found some helpful tips for making daily Mass doable for life with little ones.
First, find a Mass time that works with your children’s schedule. We are blessed to have daily Mass at all hours of the day in Columbus, from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm. Go to Mass during their best time of the day, not right before nap when they can be cranky!
Second, find a church with a cry room. I know some people really hate cry rooms, but during the week, you will probably be the only one in there! I have found it much more peaceful to sit in the cry room and let my little ones make a little noise so I can focus, rather than spending the entire Mass trying to keep them silent. If you aren’t the only one in the cry room, that is even better news!! I have met several wonderful new friends while sitting in the cry room at various parishes — people I might not have met otherwise! If you are thinking there is no way you can do this, I have found this sign hanging in the cry room at a local parish very encouraging:
This room is dedicated to John Andrew ‘Andyman’ Davis, who spent countless hours within these walls during Sunday Mass with his boys, teaching them to pray and sharing his faith with all of us. May the young families continue to use this space to enjoy active participation in the Mass with their children. And should they ever feel that their children are just a bit too “active” during Mass, may they heed the advice of our friend Andy: “Pray for grace, brother, just pray for grace.”
Finally, ask God to help you to get to Mass. When I am feeling burdened with life and it seems just too difficult to go, I ask God to pave the way. He never fails me.
Copyright 2017 Michele Faehnle