Mass with God's Children
Attending Mass each day is one of the graces that we, as seminarians, get to receive. Mass allows us to encounter Christ in his passion repeatedly, and each mass provides an opportunity to experience the beauties of our Catholic faith. On the Epiphany, many of us attended mass at Daya Dan. Daya Dan is a home for mentally and physically handicapped children from the ages of about 4-17 years of age, and it is run by the Missionaries of Charity. I was able to encounter Christ in a special way during this mass since children, especially those who have disabilities, are able to worship so purely. From a worldly view this mass was chaos, and yet from a spiritual viewpoint this mass was… still chaos.
However, the chaos was beautiful and innocent. Pure worship, no duplicity of heart. Each child responded to all the mass parts, yet each at different times and different variations of tone and volume (much of the volume was at or below audibility). They couldn’t help themselves, they were so excited that all they could do was worship with all they had. During the homily, the priest asked questions and beckoned for alleluias in order to keep the attention of the children. They knew almost all the answers to the questions, as if they had practiced or studied beforehand (some of the questions were pretty tough questions that many adults probably couldn’t answer). The “alleluias” resounded all about the tiny chapel. One of the altar servers stood abruptly and, with hands raised to the sky, screamed “alleluia” to the heavens over and over until his excitement receded back to a level which was controllable.
All of us volunteers had smiles strung across our faces as we were filled with joy. This is a type of worship that many of us are unable to perform, for we live lives that are complicated and clouded by the world. These children are simple hearted and free, which allows them to worship with such purity. It is easy to think that we have come here with something to offer a people who are poor and suffering, but the truth is that we ourselves are so deeply poor and on our own we have nothing to offer. This mass, and in particular the worship of the pure hearted, has showed me that it is only through the love and mercy of Jesus that we have anything to offer.