Walking out of the Adoration Chapel on this particular day was humbling, to say the least. I had been asked to sign up for holes in our First Friday Adoration. I am a rule follower by nature, so I made super positive sure that it was ok for me to let my one and four year old tag along for the 30 minute slot.
This is not my comfort zone.
It is hard to focus on God, or anything else, with two preschool children at my feet. I figured this hole was there for a reason and I needed to fill it… and I can do anything for 30 minutes!
I walked into the chapel to find three other women sitting in adoration. My gut was to walk out because I did not want to distract the people present. I stayed because I signed up to be with our Lord and I did not want to risk Him being left alone should these women need to leave.
My four year old sat (mostly) quietly coloring. She stopped to ask me a few questions and said a Hail Mary with me, but other than that she was unusually quiet and still for her norm. My one year old babbled less quietly, but not screaming (so I take that as a win) and toddled around our area. We did the dance of redirects, hushes, points to Jesus. Finally, my baby found his settle in playing with my face as I knelt in very broken prayer.
With ten minutes left, I hear a voice behind me. An older lady gets my attention:
“Ma’am, this is very distracting. This is a time of quiet reflection and not a place for children.”
My ears got hot, my heart began to race and my body immediately turned around and began to clumsily gather my children and our things. I knew I was not wrong for bringing my children. This was a conscious choice and sacrifice I made for God. I had scripture in my head yelling, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them!” I also knew that nothing I could say in this moment would change her mind.
With wet eyes and shaky hands I emailed the leaders of adoration and let them know of the incident. I ended the note saying that I could not sign up again for an adoration time. I didn’t want to subject myself or my children to that type of humiliation.
I was wrong.
Our Blessed Lord is the King, but also the subject of unspeakable humiliation. The Lord of the Universe who becomes Bread for us in the Eucharist invited me (and my babies) into a moment of suffering with Him–for Him. He allowed me this humiliation to better understand his message of inclusion. He says “Let the little children come” because this is, in fact, the way we all come to know Jesus. As children. . .unruly, distracted, curious, and unfinished. We needed to be there.
I know that I was right in notifying the appropriate people of what happened in the hope that our community could be educated about who belongs in adoration of our Lord. But, I have come to see that I was wrong in feeling that I was somehow a victim of this woman. I am not. She was defending her respect for God in her own way. I was adoring God in my own way.
We are all broken here. We are the Body of Christ.
There is only one being that desires us to be separated from God and takes joy in any discord that can be created in and around the worship of God. We must protect our hearts from hardening. We must be humbled.
It is an honor and privilege to join the Cross in being humbled for Christ. Letting our children see us bow our whole bodies in reverence to God is good. Gently and kindly quieting them so they learn to quiet their souls is good. Serving God when it is uncomfortable is sanctifying and good.