SummaryCheryl Hernandez shares six obstacles that keep many of us from attending daily mass and then walks us through simple solutions to every single one of them.
- 1. My kids are too tired. Junior just isn’t a morning person.
- 2. It takes too much time to get out the door in the morning.
- 3. I tried to go, but my kids got sick. I think that means God doesn’t want me to go.
- 4. I’m overwhelmed! How can I add one more thing to our schedule?
- 5. My husband doesn’t think it’s necessary.
- 6. I have a nursing baby, fidgety toddler, sulking teenagers, etc. Now is just not the right time. Perhaps, when they’re older, more cooperative, away at college…
- Go to Mary.
- About Cheryl Hernández
Many families began this year resolving to make daily Mass part of their lives.
Some have eased into it with little trouble. Most, however, have probably encountered a few bumps in the road – even complete road blocks. Some may have given up.
A while back, I wrote an article, “10 Reasons to Attend Daily Mass for the Catholic Homeschooling Family”, which purposely left out any warnings about how difficult daily Mass may prove to be and suggested how to make it happen.
My hope was for families to be inspired and begin going. But as some have experienced, it is difficult.
It can appear to be downright impossible.
Years ago, when our family first tried to go to daily Mass, everything seemed to go wrong — sick kids, car trouble, complaining from being tired, complaining from being hungry, lost shoes as we’re walking out the door, more complaining… you get the picture.
Often, I wanted to give up, and many times, I did. I’d like to think the virtue of perseverance kept me going, but more likely, it was my stubbornness. I knew the devil did not want our family to get holy, and I simply didn’t want him to get the better of us.
God was also fully aware and allowed these conflicts to happen to strengthen our desire to receive Him daily.
There were times, when it was too hard, I gave up. But Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother kept gently leading our family back to Him. It is hard — sometimes very hard. The temptations to give up will probably always be there, but so will the grace we receive, helping us to persevere.
Here are some “roadblocks” I have heard from parents (or have encountered myself) and a few practical suggestions that may help.
1. My kids are too tired. Junior just isn’t a morning person.
Get them to bed earlier – at a set time – each night. Children thrive on routine. It may take a while to kick in, but it will. When my son was younger, he would ask every night when I tucked him in, “Mommy, what time are you waking me up in the morning?”
He knew exactly what time I woke him each morning, but it was a comfort to him to be reassured of a regular routine. The adage, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” is golden advice. Persevere in establishing a routine.
2. It takes too much time to get out the door in the morning.
Plan ahead. Get organized. Lay out the younger kids’ clothes and have older ones lay out their own, right down to underwear, socks, and shoes. This teaches responsibility, and truly, the kids love it! No more searching for Junior’s shoes as you’re walking out the door!
Before Mass, set the table, make the orange juice, and put out the cereal (or whatever — just keep it simple!). I assign this to one child. Another child empties the dishwasher, another feeds the cat and dog, and another starts the first load of laundry.
My point is, with your children’s help, a few organizational things can be done before Mass, so when you get home, after a quick breakfast, you are ready to begin the school day. This won’t happen perfectly right away; it is a process, but it will get better . Again, persevere and pray for help.
Another option is to find a noon Mass. Getting up early, establishing a routine, and keeping organized will help you to take this mid-day break.
3. I tried to go, but my kids got sick. I think that means God doesn’t want me to go.
Remember that devil? He’s the one who doesn’t want you to go. God wants you to desire Him even more, and sometimes, that is accomplished by small crosses like this. Our Lord fasted in the desert for 40 days to prepare Himself for His public life — and the devil tried to tempt even Him.
Turn on EWTN and watch the Mass while they are sick and teach them to make a spiritual communion. Then go back to Mass when they are better.
4. I’m overwhelmed! How can I add one more thing to our schedule?
Our pastor gave the perfect answer to this one. “Don’t back off! Daily Mass is difficult. Offer it up! Ballerina lessons are difficult, too. So is math class, football practice, soccer, baseball, track, SAT prep classes, grocery shopping, etc. But which is going to make the biggest difference in eternal life? Mass is and should be essential, not optional.”
5. My husband doesn’t think it’s necessary.
This is tough. For many, this could be the one thing that breaks even the toughest of us. But our husband’s job is to protect us. When they hear us complaining about the difficulties we are experiencing, or when they see us stressed and unhappy because we’ve run into a seemingly insurmountable roadblock, they want to protect us from ourselves.
Sometimes, just a comment like, “But, honey, you really don’t need to go every day. You’re doing such a great job. Just getting everyone ready for Sunday Mass is hard enough!” is enough to make us retreat. As sweet as this is, it’s not what you need to hear when you’re in the trenches.
Ideally, your husband would come to Mass with you, but this may not be possible because of his work schedule. Talk to your husband. Ask him to be your rock. When the going gets tough and you feel like giving up, ask him to be there to encourage you to persevere.
6. I have a nursing baby, fidgety toddler, sulking teenagers, etc. Now is just not the right time. Perhaps, when they’re older, more cooperative, away at college…
Now is the time, no matter the season of your life. Bring the babies! Sit in the back (if you feel more comfortable) and nurse them during Mass. Bring the toddlers and teach them about the Mass as they sit next to you. If they are loud or fussy, take them outside for a bit. Don’t worry about people looking at you.
People who regularly attend daily Mass are, honestly, the nicest, most wonderful people you will meet. They become like a family. If you have to leave with your baby, there’s probably a wonderful woman or teenager who would love to sit with your toddler until you get back.
Jesus said, “Let the little ones come to me.” Don’t wait until they are older; give them the grace they need now. Your children will complain because this is different; they are used to their old routine (remember they thrive on routines!). Give them time.
Go to Mary.
Padre Pio called the rosary his weapon, and we all know how the devil loved to harass him. If you are not praying the rosary, begin now! We need to “power up” to fight temptations the devil puts in our minds and fight him with the one he fears the most – the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Pray the rosary, wear the brown scapular, and ask Our Lady constantly for the grace to make daily Mass a priority in our lives. She wants nothing better than to lead us to her Son and make our family holy. We need her help, and she is so very willing to give it!
Last, let’s encourage one another. When we began homeschooling 21 years ago, there were few families in our area. Over the years, we have watched the Catholic homeschooling community grow tremendously. What a joy it is to have each other for encouragement. Pray for one another!