My relationship with my son has not always been smooth sailing. There was a time when he literally hated me. I could not blame him; I blamed myself. I wasn’t strong enough to fight my own battles and keep my kids from the misery I was in. When my son was still a baby, he was so attached to me. He would rather sleep on my chest than in his own bed. He and his sister would fight for my attention. However, when my marriage broke down, I was lost and I neglected my kids. I then left the house with my daughter leaving my son to his father. And I think he felt I abandoned him and he could never forgive me for that even though I made it a point to have him with me regularly. Three years ago, my ex-husband decided to settle in another country and left the house to me and my two kids. What followed was an emotional battle with my son which also affected my daughter. At first I would not let him see how upset and sad it made me feel everytime he expressly taunt me or dare me with his provocations. This conflict had also affected his religious faith. During my troubled marriage, my kids would hear their father mocking my faith and calling me a hypocrite. My son would soon associate his bitterness towards me with my religious faith. He stopped going to church; my daughter followed his example. I did not push them to do otherwise; I felt I had to be a good example of a true Christian first. The first step was to put the house in order. I took away all the graven images of foreign gods that my ex has collected from his various travels. I then set up my own Catholic altar right in the living room- with the image of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus at the center of the altar. I cleaned up my son’s CD/DVD compilation and got rid of his collection of Satanic music (I was shocked to see the name and image of Satan on the covers). I then resumed our family prayers before meals. At first I would go to church alone. Gradually, my kids would accompany me to church on special holy days like Christmas, Good Friday and Easter. Easter and Christmas after mass, we would watch on tv the Pope’s Orbi et Urbi. Once in a while, I would tell my kids: “I have this problem and need your help. Could you please help me pray for guidance?” They would just look at me and say nothing. After a time of silent reaction to his temperamental outbursts – his way of venting out his frustrations, I soon learned that it is better to be honest with one another and let out each other’s feelings. And it happened. My son finally realized how devastated I was with our never-ending emotional fights. We ended up crying and hugging one other – my kids and I. It is not yet still waters around us. We still need time to heal our psychological and spiritual wounds. I shall continue praying for my kids, for myself and my whole family that we will all soon be guided back to the right path to the Lord Jesus.
As Catholics, my family never failed to attend Sunday masses and novenas during the week. I remember my father, mother, my 6 brothers, 4 sisters and I all dressed up in our fine Sunday clothes and polished shoes showing up in Church on time. It was always crowded in all the churches even during the late evening masses. Years later I got married and moved to Europe. I then noticed the huge difference when it comes to religion. There were not so many churches in the vicinity and at most only one mass on Sundays and Saturdays. The parish church where I lived happened to be just at a walking distance so going to church was no problem even with two babies (born within two years in a row) in tow. Although it was performed in a foreign language which I still had to learn in the first year of my stay in Europe, I could still follow the service since the mass is the same everywhere and what is important is the Holy Eucharist. Someone told me she doesn’t have to go to church since the Bible said: “where two or three persons gather together, Jesus is in the middle.” Yes, I said, so is going to mass where there are two or more people praising and worshiping the Lord in the Holy Eucharist. What’s more, you can always have your bible study or prayers at home or somewhere else but Holy Mass in the Church especially built for our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, is much more than a gathering of two or three people. Why can’t we take aside one day, Sunday or Saturday, to worship our Lord in His house? I’m sure one or two hours of Jesus worship would not be a hindrance to our busy day? When Jesus was here on earth, He showed us an example of attending a Church service. He would take the long distance to attend the services with His parents while he was growing up. He even stayed there for three days causing His parents worries. And He also showed just how much He loved the Church when He drove vendors away from the Church premises, saying: “My house will be called a house of prayers, but you are making it a den of robbers.” (Matthew 21)
I feel sad to see people getting too lazy to attend a Holy Mass. If only they realize just how much a privilege it is to worship and receive our Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist – complete with hymns, Gospel readings and sermons, greeting each other peace in Christ and with the highlight the Holy Communion – the sacrament instituted by our Lord Jesus during His Last Supper with His disciples. “He took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take, eat, this is My Body’, then He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to His disciples saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you, for this is My Blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins’” (Matthew 26:26-28). “Do this in remembrance of me.”(Luke 22)
Let’s put our Lord Jesus back in the center of our lives and have His glory shine upon each and every one of us.