We had a long checklist of requirements for a new house; finding a place with Eucharistic adoration “a bike ride away” was way down the list. But that didn’t stop Max from praying for it.
by Becky Arganbright
Years ago, when my kids were younger, I used to bring them to Eucharistic adoration. I’d learned to love my quiet time before Jesus, and wanted my kids to share in the great spiritual benefits of Eucharistic adoration.
But after a while, I began to worry that my kids’ loud whispering and constant shuffling annoyed the other adorers. Bringing the kids was nothing but stressful and mortifying, and they didn’t seem to get anything out of it. So even though I made it a habit to go to adoration on an almost daily basis, I stopped bringing my kids altogether.
Years went by, and we eventually decided we needed to move to a larger house for our growing family. Our choices were limited, though: not only did we have a small budget and a long list of “must have” requirements (like more room inside and outside), but we were purchasing through a Rural Development Program that severely limited our location options.
‘Buy a house with a Catholic church nearby’
With all of that working against us, I basically laughed when my ten-year-old son said to me, “Mom, whatever house you choose, make sure it has a Catholic church nearby so I can bike to adoration.”
My mind flew back to all those Eucharistic-adoration-with-little-kids fails when I had to do the Walk of Shame back to the car with my noisy kids. And besides, since when was Max interested in going to adoration? I hadn’t brought him in years.
Finding a church that was within biking distance was a nice thought, but impossible. The only houses in our price range were nowhere near a church–Catholic or otherwise. It was rural, all right, and churches were few and far between. But I humored him by telling him I would let our realtor know. (I never did.)
Our house search dragged on for three months. And almost every time we would leave to look at a house, Max would remind me: “Remember, Mom…” and I would wave him away while answering that, yes, I know…look for a house with a Catholic church down the road.
Praying for the right house
Eventually, I had to break the news to him. The odds of us finding a house with a church right down the road were slim. But Max was adamant that the house we picked must be nearby a Catholic church.
Max has autism, and sometimes he can get fixated on things. Reasoning with him when he gets like this is almost impossible, though I try anyway. And as I suspected, Max could not understand why we just couldn’t pick any house we wanted that was near a Catholic church. I was getting tired of the whole thing. I finally said, “If it’s so important to you that we live nearby a church so you can bike to adoration, then pray about it and have God pick the house.”
Max declared that to be a great idea and he would do just that, while I was just happy to finally drop the subject.
And then came the day we found our house. We had looked at it online a few times before, but had always passed it by…we called it the “ugly house.” It was foreclosed, and it looked like the previous owners had trashed the place.
But looking a little closer, we realized it had everything we wanted; plus, it was in our price range. We scheduled a showing and instantly fell in love with the house. Yes, it
was ugly, but it had so much potential to be pretty again. It just needed a little love.
Having been so busy with the details of selling, closing, and moving, I had completely forgotten about Max’s request when we bought our house–and he hadn’t brought it up since our last conversation. In fact, I had forgotten about my concern as to whether or not there was a nearby Catholic church with adoration, which in the past has been my way of coping with stress and problems. I knew that there was a Catholic church somewhere, but I hadn’t bothered to locate it.
But when Dennis unpacked everyone’s bikes and scooters, I decided it would be nice to go for a bike ride. I hadn’t ridden a bike in years, so the fact that I wanted to venture out teetering on a bike in public is a miracle in itself.
As we rode along, I saw a church steeple towering over the trees, and I suddenly felt inspired to check it out. When we arrived, I was thrilled to discover that they had weekly adoration. And as we entered into the church, suddenly, Max’s words from three long months before replayed in my mind: “Mom, when you guys buy a house, make sure it’s near a church so I can bike to adoration.”
In a small town with nine Protestant churches, we just “happened” to pick a house just a few blocks away from the only Catholic church in town.
Any doubts that I had had that we were in the house that God wanted for us were instantly gone.
‘Bring the little children to me’
As we entered into the church, I discreetly took a picture of my kids in the church; I was just so moved that God had brought us to the perfect house that not only met all our needs, but was also near the only Catholic church in town. Not only did I still get to go to adoration, but God was clearly showing me that He desired that I bring my children to adoration as well.
We biked to adoration every week that summer, and I got my husband to come, too. The kids loved loading their backpacks with “church stuff” (saint books, prayer books, notebooks to write down prayers) and making their road trip to adoration an adventure.
After a particularly hot day of biking, I said to the kids, “You know, one day you guys will be biking to adoration by yourselves!”
To which Max replied, “I know. That was always the plan.”
Since that summer, I have not worried about bringing my kids to adoration. I don’t worry about them being a little restless or their noisy whispers. Although I do try to enforce respectful behavior (no whispering during prayer time, not too much walking around), I no longer let my fears hinder me from bringing my kids to Jesus. Adoration is a time for everyone, not just for the elderly and the “holy.” Jesus made it very clear that He wants the little children brought to Him–and I no longer hinder them.