The Boy had track practice that night. Unfortunately, the end of practice coincided with the beginning of a special Mass scheduled at our parish. Fortunately, however, the Captain's work schedule, which has been somewhat
But as I screeched the wheels of the Ark on yet another trip across town, my momentum was fading fast. "You'll be late to the Mass," I told myself. "The Boy will be in track clothes and sneakers--and let's not forget what a teenage boy smells like after sports practice."
"Perhaps you shouldn't go?" I thought to myself, prompting a lightning round of pros and cons for attending. And just as The Boy collapsed into the passenger seat pawing around for his post-game snack, I remembered the words of the mom who organized the Mass. The Mass of Angels happens once each year, she said, please take an hour out of your busy schedules to join us in celebrating the lives of our angel children. Suddenly, being a few minutes late didn't matter. As I pulled into the church parking lot, my decision was reaffirmed by the few other late arrivals (also with sports-attired children) for the door.
Once inside, we lighted the remaining candles--just enough for each of the families for whom we were to pray--and carried them into the church with us, where the names of the children were already being read. Between each group of names a chorus of voices, some timid and tearful, others strong and supportive sang the refrain, "All you holy, little children, pray for us." And as I glanced from up from the litany of names, I saw the young man in his dirty track clothes standing next to me. With a heart both heavy and light all at once, I was glad we had come.
It was only an hour--out of the entire year--but in that one hour I remembered just why it is that the remaining hours should be so cherished.