Tuesday, 3 April 2012

A moving approach to babies crying at Mass

Crying children at Mass are material for news articles, blog posts, sage advice and rants. I've written myself in the Catholic Herald from time to time in the Catholic Dilemmas column, taking a fairly standard approach along the lines of how we must be considerate to each other, understand the difficulties of young parents, not be too fussy and so on.

Matthew Warner has a good piece called What you should be thinking when you hear noisy kids at Mass and I agree with him. It is precisely because I am used to defending families from the "tut tut" brigade with conventional defences of occasionally noisy children that I was blown over by the article by Fr Ryan Erlenbush on Theology Today: Crying children call to mind the mystery of the Mass.

Father reflects on the reaction that we should have to the sacrifice of the Cross and the way that infants can remind us of the drama of the redeeming sacrifice of Christ. Here is a taster:
Let the sound of toddlers and infants weeping (and even wailing) call to mind for you the tears shed by the Sorrowful Mother of our Savior, and by St. John the Beloved. Can you hear the wailing of St. Mary Magdalene, she who was overcome with grief? Consider also the other devout women, who wept strait through from Friday till early Sunday morning.
Father concludes his article:
Every time I celebrate Mass, I pray that God will allow a little child to cry – lest I should ever lose sight of the mystery which I am consummating.
Thanks be to God for blogging! I could have spent a few more years celebrating parish Masses and then gone to my grave without ever hearing this insight. Thank you Father Erlenbush.
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