Whenever I am in the Church early for the Mass, I always catch myself unconsciously looking around for any child nearby where I am seated. Always! Later, when I am conscious enough to peruse this strange behavior, I soon realized why.
Have you ever been interrupted with an annoying child, toddler or infant in your prayerful contemplation during the Mass, or in any solemn religious service? I mean when the child is lengthy crying, shrieking or noisily prancing and playing around in the church. If I get distracted (well I am sure I am not the only one), my impulse is to stare at the child and hope my gesture would catch the attention of the parents. Or if I can spot the parents glance at them. Often the parents would do something to pacify the child. But what annoys me further is that the mother would do something very minimal to stop the crying or the yelling. Obviously, it was just a cosmetic effort rather than being earnest to restrain the child
It’s exasperating when the child continues with his distractive ways because most of the time the parents are not doing enough to contain the child. Much to the chagrin from obviously annoyed Mass-goers, a few gazes and stares to the mother more often do not help at all. One Saturday Mass however, inside the SM Mega Mall Chapel, the continued yelling and screaming of the child finally caught the attention of the priest at the precise moment during Trans-substantiation (the highlight of the Mass).
The priest openly (and I would say boldly) reminded the flock that parents must be responsible for their children. If necessary, the priest continued, the child outside of the Chapel. It was prudently said and timely because he said it just before the Sign of Peace part of the Mass. I felt like cheering inside and I caught myself praying for the priest and wished we had more priests like him!
My take? I understand that for a child the world is his playground. Regardless of time and place he would always find time or create an opportunity to play as instincts would nudge him to. Inside the Church, where a multitude of weary souls are longing for a moment of peace and silence even for just an hour, his playground has to cease to exist. The distraction must be stopped. But the parents would argue that you just cannot control a child’s nature thus, we cannot do something about it. That is the crux of the matter. The problem here is not the child’s innocence but the intervention of adults’ exploitative minds (of the parents). They exploit the child’s innocence and use it to justify their inaction.
That’s why God created mothers- to shelter her child from all harm…as well as to prevent her child from taking away God’s precious moment with prayerful souls reaching out to Him. If a mother cannot, or more aptly, won’t prevent her child from continuously distracting the Holy Mass then she has limited herself as a worthy mother to her own child
But I wonder what goes in the mind of a mother when she does almost nothing for her misbehaving or screaming child during the Mass Does the mother insensibly blinded with the premise that ‘he is just a child’ therefore adults must bear?
Enlighten me, mothers. Share your thoughts