A friend once remarked, ‘When you go to Mass every day, you see things you don’t see every day.’
That was exactly the case for me yesterday at the 9:00 liturgy. Because it was Sunday, the church was relatively full…and there was a LOT more going on than we typically experience during the week.
The adult choir was in the house, bedecked in green robes.
We heard three scripture readings instead of two.
We sang the responsorial psalm.
We sang most of the Mass parts, too – the Holy, Holy; the Lamb of God; the Great Amen – using the wonderful Mass of Renewal setting.
And what a blessing one of those Sunday ‘extras’ turned out to be for Gerri and me. As it happened, we were seated directly behind a young father and his two sons. He had the little one (perhaps two years old?) more or less corralled in his arms, but facing toward the altar.
We could tell the little boy was into it. He was loving the music, the action playing out in front of him, the crowd all around. And when Father Binu intoned the Doxology at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, the little boy perked up again.
‘Through him, and with him, and in him,
O God, almighty Father,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
All glory and honor is yours,
For ever and ever…’
With that, as the congregation and choir began singing the first of five ‘Amens’, the two-year-old opened his arms wide, and started waving them in time with the music. We could tell he was feeling the tones in his bones…that he believed he was conducting the music…until, at last, as the refrain reached its crescendo, he thrust his palms into the air with an emphatic gesture of triumph and completion.
It was, indeed, a Great Amen. It reminded me of a line I’d read once in Scott Hahn’s marvelous book, The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth. ‘Our Amen here should be resounding,’ Hahn wrote. ‘[just as] St. Jerome reported that, in Rome, when the Great Amen was proclaimed, all the pagan temples trembled.’
Watching a two-year-old’s enthusiasm at Mass yesterday was indeed a profound blessing – a reminder of the role that we play, as the Body of Christ, in honoring and glorifying the Lord’s Real Presence during the liturgy.
Shouldn’t it look and sound like that, at each and every Mass?
Shouldn’t we be letting Christ know – with childlike joy and conviction – that we are delighted to see Him there?