Raising Gus in the Faith
Sara: Since Gus has been born, both Mass time and prayer time have taken on an entirely different feel for us. Many times, I simply hope to survive through Mass without Gus making a scene. If Gus and I can make it in the pew the entire Mass with Justin, we consider it a great week. Many weeks, at least a small portion of Mass is spent with me holding and rocking Gus in the back of church. Throughout the last six months, many people have told me how well Gus behaves during Mass. I don’t think most of them realize how hard Justin and I work to make this possible!
Sometimes, this makes me wonder how much Justin and I are getting out of our Mass attendance. Obviously, we are receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, but Mass no longer seems as prayerful as it once did before we had Gus. We also try and trade off taking care of Gus so each of us gets to pray for at least a portion of Mass.
Ash Wednesday Mass was no exception. We went to an evening Mass at a parish across town because we felt Gus had the best chance at being good at an earlier Mass than our parish offered. As we went in, I was a little worried about how Gus would behave at 6 pm. However, it was the earliest we could go to Mass that day as a family.
Mass started in its usual pattern, until Gus got fussy during the readings. After our other attempts to calm Gus failed, I took him to the back of church and we stood and I rocked Gus as he looked at the statues. Although I’ve always enjoyed Ash Wednesday Mass, I wondered why we had chosen to go this year since Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation. Justin and I both knew there was a very good chance Gus would have a hard time being quiet during Mass because it was in the evening. However, we were there, so I was determined to make the best of it.
Then it came time to distribute the ashes. I rejoined Justin in the pew, and I carried Gus up as Justin and I went to receive our ashes. On a whim, I turned Gus so he was facing outward so he could see Father. When it came to be my turn to receive ashes, Father gave Gus ashes before I received mine!
Throughout the rest of Mass, I couldn’t help but notice Gus’s ashes. I realized why we take Gus to Mass each week – even when it’s a struggle. We take Gus to Mass so we can pass on our faith to him. The ashes were a visible sign to me on Ash Wednesday that our struggles during Mass and prayer time are not in vain. We are sacrificing to give Gus the best gift we know – a relationship with God.