Monday, July 11, 2011
Another Holy Man
He's decided to come to Mass with me every day this summer; quite a feat for a fifteen year old boy who would much rather sleep in than rise at 6 AM in the barely there light of morning while his siblings remain sleeping. He wouldn't come with me if it were just about the Mass, I know; he comes because I take him with me to the YMCA immediately following Mass. He's working on building his physical strength this summer and I'm amazed to see him becoming quite muscular at a rapid pace. His faithfulness to exercise is reaping immediate rewards, but I know that his faithfulness at prayer is reaping even greater spiritual rewards, although he's not quite ready to admit that.
What I most enjoy about my time with my son at daily Mass other than the overwhelming realization that he towers over me in height (I barely come up to his shoulders) is that I notice subtle signs of his ever softening heart. Joe is tough and doesn't want anyone thinking that he isn't. But I see the signs and I know that God has got his hand firmly upon his soul, gradually leading him into a deep faith. After his daily complaint about having to sit in the front because his mother is the lector, he asks me to hand him my blue Pieta prayer book which is always in my purse. It is his daily habit to pray to St. Joseph, his patron saint, from the prayer in that book. When Mass begins, he fully and respectfully participates but after Mass is sure to complain about the length of Father's homily, regardless of how short it actually was, as he races for the door so as not to miss out on any of his workout time.
The conversation in the car is usually filled with questions, the signs of a boy searching for meaning in the faith in which he is being raised. He's sure to remind me that it is difficult to be the son of a Jesus freak. When wondering about my work history, I told him the story about how miserable I was when I worked in food service management before I was married. I had applied for a new job in clinical nutrition and promised God that I would attend daily Mass if He could please see to it that the part-time job I wanted could be mine. When God came through on His end of the deal, I was sure to follow through on mine and I began to attend daily Mass on my off-days.
Joe's mouth hung open in astonishment at this fact. "You mean you were a Jesus freak even before you were married? And Dad married you anyway?" I answered, "Joe, I was raised to be a Jesus freak, I've been one my whole life. And so are you. Your faith will be with you forever, guiding you in your decisions, nurturing you in your sorrows, strengthening you in your trials, and enhancing your joys as long as you don't let anything come between you and God." And the boy who loves to argue and win, was blissfully silent as he absorbed this fact, and I offered a silent prayer that God would always keep his hand firmly in place on my son's soul and never allow him to power lift his way out of a deep and abiding relationship with his heavenly Father.