We hadn’t been at adoration five minutes, and my kids were already driving me crazy. They just couldn’t see Jesus in the same way that the children in the Bible did—or could they?
by Becky Arganbright
During Lent, I thought it would be nice to take time as a family to go to our church’s adoration hour. I had images of us all together, kneeling as a family—or at least sitting—in front of Jesus. In my imaginings, my kids were sitting quietly and respectfully saying their prayers.
But of course, this didn’t happen. Sometimes, my kids act like they have never been inside of a church before, even though we are there every Sunday.
It was especially hard for my two youngest, Anna (age 6) and Henry (age 4). Being young and full of energy, it was not natural for them to sit still and be quiet. Where was the music? What were they supposed to do now? Where was the entertainment? Why was everyone sitting so quietly??
“Lord, help them see You”
I kept pointing to the front of the church. “Jesus,” I whispered as quietly as I could, even though my kids were making no effort to be quiet.
They looked towards the altar where the Blessed Sacrament was reposed in the Monstrance. They looked unimpressed. They looked bored. They asked if they could go to the bathroom. They clomped in their boots out of the church, and eventually clomped back in.
They began to page loudly through the hymnals. When I took that away from them, they rummaged through the pews, looking for a pencil. Finding only one, they began to fight for it. I took that away too.
“Don’t you see Jesus?” I asked Henry and Anna. “Don’t you see the pretty gold monstrance?” I wondered why that for all the shiny things kids like to look at, they have a hard time being attracted to the shiny gold monstrance, glittering in the light. Anna and Henry cast a look again toward the monstrance and nodded their heads, but I think that was to appease me more than anything.
I know the rule of thumb: do not take your children to adoration longer than what they can handle. But I was frustrated. We hadn’t even made it more than five minutes (if even that), and I felt that my kids hadn’t really made the connection yet, that they hadn’t “seen” Jesus.
“Lord, is it unrealistic for me to want them to see You?” I prayed in my heart. “All the mothers brought their children to You when You walked the earth. They stretched out their babies to you, they put their children on Your lap. They begged You to bless their children. And their children had the pleasure of seeing You face to face. Should my children not see You too? Can You help them see beyond what they think is only bread??”
“Do you see Him looking at you?”
When Anna and Henry began to whisper noisily to each other, I leaned over to shush them, but instead what came out of my mouth surprised us both:
“Can you see Him? He’s looking at you.”
That was not what I had meant to say, and I hoped that it did not creep my children out. Anna and Henry did look surprised, but not scared, like I had thought. At least I had their attention.
“Who?” Anna whispered loudly, while Henry swiveled around to see who was staring at them.
“Jesus.” I said, still not sure where I was going with this. “He’s looking at you.”
Anna and Henry both began to smile a little uncertainly, as they looked towards the Blessed Sacrament. Anna put her hands over her mouth, giggling.
“Is He smiling at you?” I asked her. “I can’t tell from way back here. Can you?”
She looked intently at the Blessed Sacrament and shook her head slowly.
“Maybe you should go see,” I prompted her. “Go see if He is smiling or frowning.”
Anna got up hesitantly. “Come with me,” she told Henry. Together, they slowly made their way up to the front of the church, while others looked on in curiosity, no doubt wondering where their parents were.
My heart began to pound as I sat there uncertainly, hoping fervently that they wouldn’t take it too far and try to take the Monstrance down.
Thankfully, they stopped just short a few feet away from the Blessed Sacrament. They made quite a sight standing there—two little children standing before Jesus, and I found myself praying like the mothers in the New Testament: “Jesus, bless my children.”
I was worried that the other adorers might be annoyed or offended that I was allowing my kids to be so close to the Blessed Sacrament. But I didn’t have to worry for long, because Anna was on her way back, with a smile on her face. “He was smiling,” she said.
However, Henry stayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament for a few more moments. He just stood there, staring at the Blessed Sacrament. Just as I was about to get him, he suddenly lifted his arms and gave Jesus the “thumbs-up” sign—much to the amusement of the onlookers—then walked away.
Later, I asked Henry why he gave Jesus a “thumbs-up.” He answered simply: “Because He was there.”
He still calls the children to Himself
I’m not sure if that night was the first time that my kids truly “saw” Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, or if Jesus was just showing me that my kids had seen Him all along. Was it my children’s lack of faith…or was it mine?
What I do know is that, like the Bible women who brought their children to Jesus to be blessed, He is still calling them to Him, blessing them, holding them, and revealing Himself in a way that each can understand to the best of their ability. And being simple as children tend to be, He does not need to reveal Himself with great signs.
Sometimes, something as simple as a “thumb-up” is enough.