God responds to us with gentleness

By Michelle Macicek

It was a usual Sunday morning where we were hustling to get the kids ready for Mass, and I was so incredibly thankful to be back “home” after Ida and very much looking forward to the normalcy of being at Mass in our parish.

As we sat down in our pew and tried to get everyone settled, I found myself feeling a little frustrated that our 2- and 3-year-old were being a little needy (Ha! Funny I know!), and I was not able to take a little quiet time before Mass started.

What I didn’t recognize was the mother and son sitting in front of our family, and I didn’t until I started hearing the sudden vocal outbursts from the son, who had special needs. He was older and started loudly saying, “No. Go away,” while swatting his arm at his mother.

I tried not to look when I heard him, but I couldn’t help but take in the mother’s reactions. She was so incredibly calm and clearly filled with grace. I noticed that while her facial expressions were strong and firm, her reactions and heart were absolutely gentle. I could tell that she wanted and needed to be at Mass, and she absolutely deserved to be just like anyone else.

Her son finally calmed down as I could see a few tears stream down her face. I decided to offer my intentions for her during the rest of Mass, and it was put on my heart offer my intentions for her during the rest of Mass.

I can only imagine what God sees and hears from us daily, and I know that his merciful love responds the way this mother did … strong and firm, but with a loving gentleness.

As we drove home from Mass, I started thinking about my parenting. Where am I too lenient out of laziness or seeking approval, and where am I too harsh out of unrealistic expectations or selfishness?

I pray that my experience of watching how beautifully this mother cared for her son will not become an afterthought, but that it would truly inspire me to take a look at how I respond to my children and ask myself, “Am I responding to them the way God responds to me?”

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