Chapel Visit

The fifteen-minute drive to the chapel and the drive back home on a cold evening in mid-January may constitute somewhat of a sacrifice on my part to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament; however, that’s nothing compared to what I witnessed today. As I prayed in silence before the Real Presence, I heard car doors slamming and the pounding of children’s feet running up and down the handicapped ramp that leads into the chapel. Within moments, four very rambunctious, cotton-top boys, all under the age of six, burst in with their older sister and their delicate-looking mother holding an infant of about two months. Each boy genuflected on both knees, signing himself in the hurried, haphazard fashion of young males who’d rather be chasing bugs, and then took his place on an available kneeler. There, they all fell into prayer, hands folded reverently in front of their faces. I could tell they’d done this before. Then, just as the mom seemed satisfied that all her troops were in line, she began breast feeding the fussy infant, only to be interrupted by the youngest toddler who fell off his prie dieu, setting off the lights on his sneakers in a wild flashing frenzy, and the oldest brother who socked his sister when she invaded his space. Not to worry! Mom cleared her throat authoritatively, and harmony reigned over potential bedlam. So much for the delicate look; this woman was in charge!Within ten minutes, it was all over. The infant emerged from the coverlet of modesty draped over the mother’s shoulder; the youngest toddler’s shoes stopped flashing; the oldest boy made peace with his sister; and at mom’s cue, they all rose from their knees, bowed in hodgepodge directions, and trooped out of the chapel, smiling broadly and waving to all the “old ladies” who remained behind.In that moment, I really felt the Lord’s pleasure. I sensed it as acutely as I felt the cold air rush into the chapel door when the family exited. It was not unlike the time when the widow came into the temple and deposited her mite. To some, it didn’t seem like much of an offering, but Jesus knew what it had cost her. Today, I’m certain He knew what it cost that young mother of six to come for a chapel visit, and I’m equally certain that like the widow her reward will be great.

Chapel Visit

Bonnie T.  Barry

Sunset, United States

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