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A Letter to the Lady Annoyed by My Kids at Mass

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Tommy Tighe - published on 01/06/16

What if you’re not the cranky old child hater that I think you are? What if your complaints about my family’s behavior at Mass has absolutely nothing to do with us? What if there is a pain, much deeper than I could ever realize, that led you to stop me after Mass last week?

A quote from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians helps remind me to put a stop the “all about me” thinking, “humbly, regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out for not his own interests but [also]everyone for those of others.”

Did I ever stop to think that your comment may have come from a place of deep suffering due to an experience of infertility?

Did I ever stop to think that your comment may have come from a place of sadness over a distant, unloving or uninvolved spouse?

Did I ever stop to think that your comment may have come from a place of regret for not making Mass a priority for your children, who have now fallen away from the faith?

I’ll admit I didn’t.

Instead, I let it be all about me. And even worse, I let myself become consumed with thoughts of what I could have said to “put you in your place.”

And so if I’m going to suggest that God put an unruly, loud and annoying family in front of you at Mass for the sake of turning you into a saint, I’m going to also have to acknowledge that he did the same for me by bringing you into my life.

It’s up to me to decide if I’m going to take what he offers me through you and allow it to spoil my relationship with him, or if I’m going to take it as an opportunity to say yes to him and all that comes along with that.

It sure isn’t easy, but I’m going with the latter.

I’m praying for you, and I’m asking you to pray for me too.

As you can see from the insanity in the pew in front of you, I need it.

[Note: Simcha Fisher, Mother of 10, has more thoughts on this issue – Ed.]

Tommy Tigheis a hipster husband and father of four boys. You can follow him on Twitter @theghissilent. This piece first appeared and is reprinted here with kind permission.

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