Yesterday was Sunday. After getting myself and Vincent dressed for Mass, I put my chapel veil on. As soon as Vincent saw it, he started saying - quite loudly - "NO JESUS!"
At first, I ignored him. This is par for the course with him anymore. I could've been setting up to go to the beach, and he'd be yelling "NO BEACH!"
Anyway, I ignored him until I heard his father (who was upstairs in the bathroom) laugh. He asked, "Is he saying what I think he's saying?"
I immediately felt myself go into defense mode. Remember, John's a proud atheist who takes slight issue with me raising Vincent as a Catholic. So any sort of "Boooooo Religion!" utterance is a victory for him.
Anyway, I pointed out that Vince does this every week and is perfectly fine by the time we get into the pew. He does the same thing regardless of where we're going, so I reminded him not to get too excited that our son was rejecting Jesus.
John swore he wasn't giddy about Vincent's outburst against Mass... but I still have my doubts. Ha ha.
Luckily, as I pulled into the church lot, Vince had simmered down. Since he loves counting so much, I had him count the different windows that frame our doors as we entered. That made him happy. The next hour made ME super happy.
As soon as we entered the church, Vincent was a model little munchkin! He said "Hi" to our usher and pointed to Jesus in the tabernacle. He genuflected - actually GENUFLECTED - for the very first time and said, "Hi Jesus!"
I was so proud!
We placed our bag in the cry room and since we were so early, I took him to the various statues to "run out some energy."
Besides, it's a good learning experience for him, too.
We started with the Blessed Mother - Our Lady of Grace. When we got before her statue, he tried to genuflect again. I picked him up and said, "No no, Vincent. You only genuflect to Jesus." So he looked at the tabernacle (which was only a couple yards away) and said, "Hi Jesus!" again.
I said, "Remember, this is Mary. She's Jesus' Mommy." So he looked back at Our Lady and said, "Hi Mary!" I said, "Blow kisses!" He happily complied, but then wanted to follow it up with a hug. I had to stop him from hopping the altar rail and climbing up her feet. I half apologized to her as we turned to see the other statues because I think she'd've enjoyed having Vincent climb up to give her a hug. :)
We made our way to the mini Lourdes grotto in the back. I pointed out St. Bernadette and Mary. He didn't really care about them because he was looking at the Infant of Prague. So I tried to show him "Baby Jesus." I was unsuccessful because just under that statue were the vigil candles. Vince wanted to push all the buttons (our are electric), and when I wouldn't let him, he got slightly confused. They were buttons, after all. Weren't they made to be pushed???
Instead, I took him to see St. Michael the Archangel. He usually likes St. Michael (what with his awesome sword and soldier gear). He said "Hi" but again, he wasn't too interested. His eye had caught St. Joseph all the way on the other side of the church. So off we went to say "Hi" to St. Joseph.
Our Sacred Heart statue
Along the way, however, we stopped at the gorgeous Sacred Heart of Jesus statue. I might be a little biased when I say this, but we've got the most beautiful Sacred Heart of Jesus statue I've ever seen.
I let him touch the Sacred Heart. Vincent said, "Heart!" And I said, "That's Jesus' Heart. He loves you SOOOOO much!"
Vincent smiled and said, "Jesus love."
Vincent then saw Christ's fingers raised in blessing, so he counted them.
"One, two, three!"
I pointed at them, one at a time, and said, "Father, Son..."
I waited and Vince chimed in with "Holy Spirit!"
Not only was I super impressed, but the group of ladies chatting in the narthex applauded him, too! I was incredulous. This same little boy had been yelling "No Jesus! No Jesus!" only to be "Yay Jesus!" two seconds later.
We finally made our way over to the St. Joseph statue, but we couldn't stay long because Father was processing to the back for the start of Mass. Vincent, however, didn't want to leave his friends and said, "No room! Jesus stay!"
That's Vincent-speak for "I don't want to go into the cry room. I want to stay and play with Jesus!"
I told him that Jesus was coming soon, so we'd have to read some books until we could go back up to see Him.
That contented him. He was fine throughout Mass, reading his little Stations booklet. After reception of the Eucharist, Vincent raised his hands up to kiss me. After Mass, he didn't want to leave! I really wish John could've seen him then. Quite the change from "No Jesus! No Jesus!"
Ah well. When we got back home, John asked me how he was. I told him the truth. That was probably the best Vincent's ever was for me.
And I can't help but wonder if that wasn't God's way of letting me know He understood that Vince was just being a child. All of my prayers of "Please, God, don't let Catholicism become boring or uncool for him" will eventually work themselves out... even if I must deal with the heartbreak of seeing him favor sports or video games over Him for a time. In the end, though John might have his "mini-victories," I trust that God's Love will triumph in Vincent's heart.
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