If there is one Bible verse invoked more than any other in the effort to convince parents to bring their children to Eucharistic Adoration, it is this one:
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16)
Yes, let the children come to me!
What a beautiful scene. I’m sure, when we read this account, we all picture the same thing. Something like this:
A scenic background, the glowing face of our Savior, and a crowd of peaceful, happy children gathered at His feet. The children smile at Jesus and speak to Him tenderly.
But then, as we attempt to picture our own children there around Jesus, the scene gets a bit messier.
For example I think, well that’s nice, but I doubt my six year old would be able to sit still. He’d be more interested in that river and looking for frogs. I’d probably spend the whole time chasing after him. And my five year old, well knowing her she’d be throwing a fit off to the side because she didn’t get to sit where she wanted to sit. And my eight year old, well she’d probably be hanging on Jesus, chattering at Him and not letting Him get a word in edgewise. My ten year old, who is growing like crazy right now, would probably be bugging me for food, grumpy that I didn’t bring anything with. And my two year old, well he’d probably be trying to eat some rocks.
A little bit less romantic.
And the same is true about taking our kids to Eucharistic Adoration.
The IDEA of kids and the whole families at Adoration is beautiful, all gathered around Our Lord who is truly present there…but the reality is hard and loud and often accompanied by tears.
But…pause and reread those verses from Mark with me.
Notice that the disciples were annoyed that the children were there. Why?
Likely because they were acting like children: they were throwing fits, wandering away, chattering without end, sucking on rocks and whining for food. The disciples were annoyed because the children that approached Jesus were REAL children, just like the ones we are raising.
For years I avoided bringing my imperfect children to adoration because they didn’t look like the kids in this picture. I knew they wouldn’t sit still and gaze at Christ and that I would spend the whole time dealing with them.
Admittedly, I only started to bring my kids to Adoration when my sister (who is a pushy nun) signed me up for an hour and made me do it.
And so I did it. I brought my loud, rough kids to a weekly holy hour…and it wasn’t easy. So far we’ve broken at least three holy water bowls, drawn on the floor with crayons multiple times and left behind a mountain of crumbs. I still prefer to go to adoration alone, but all these years of bringing the kids to Adoration has taught me a powerful lesson.
They need to be there.
As I read and reread this passage from Mark’s Gospel I noticed something else. Jesus doesn’t JUST say, “Let the children come to me,” He adds, “for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” What an amazing affirmation of children who behave like children, who wander and whine and chatter! To be a REAL child is to be holy!
And so, I beg you, listen to the words of Jesus and make time for Adoration as a family this summer. Let the children come to Him, right now, in all their real-life kid-ness.
Come for an hour, 30 minutes, 10 minutes. It doesn’t matter, just come. Come straight from the pool, stop by before bed time, just come.
To help you get there, we are offering our popular Adoration Materials all bundled up right now and at a DEEP discount. Our Adoration Bundle for families offers 7 different products for just $55, which is nearly $20 in savings. But, our supplies are limited, and the sale ends on Monday the 21st.
Grab your bundle…and then go and spend time with Our Lord. He is waiting for you!
In Christ Jesus,