A Time to Speak —
Did I just go to church?

Andrew Schroeder

Is it my three-year-old leaning perpendicularly in my arms over and over? My five-year-old asking me for the second time if church is over 10 minutes into Mass?

Is it my three-year-old seeking the aisle to do a little shimmying in what he defines as his dance floor? Or the array of other improv moments over the years by my four children currently ages 3, 5, 7 and 9?

Losing focus on the Mass has come easy many times. I empathize with other parents experiencing the challenges of engaging in Mass, while trying to do their best managing their own special service in the pew.

I know when trying to determine whether to go to Mass or not it is an intimidating factor. I wish it was the only reason for a parent of young children deciding to not go to Mass.

The reality is that there’s a lot more noise that parents grapple with beyond the crying child at church. Completely separate from determining the value of faith for their child, it may be the parent’s own struggle of questioning how much their faith means to them.

Do they feel supported by the church community they are a part of? Is navigating the hectic schedule of life, and trying to insert one more “to do” on a regular basis, worth it?

There is a lot more that distracts me far beyond what happens in that one hour of Mass a week. There’s the conflict of finding full congruence with the beliefs of the church. The prominence of many things frequently getting in the way of faith being a core part of my daily life.

Recently, in a book I read, I came across a Chinese proverb of three demons brought before Satan. Satan was seeking a new approach in deceiving humanity. The first approach suggested was to tell humanity God did not exist. The second to tell humanity demons did not exist.

To both, Satan said we tried them before but they are not enough. The third demon said, “We will just tell them to do it tomorrow, whatever it is,” to which Satan smiled and said, “Go!”

As I sit here often being the person to put off my faith until tomorrow, this message rings loudly. I recognize that the noise in my head has always been far louder than my kids’ commotion ever will be. I realize that eliminating the personal disruptions completely is probably never fully attainable.

However, I hope that I can continue to fight through the setbacks, seek the truth that God shares in Mass and throughout every day, and not leave it until tomorrow to discover the importance of faith for me and my family today.

Andrew Schroeder is a parishioner of St. Agnes Church.

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