(photo source: www.twoheartsdesign.com)
I wasn't going to write a post today. I thought I ran out of things to say about St. Valentine's Day. But then I went to Mass. You never know where and when you will find suprises of the heart.
I'm going to tell you a secret. Yes, I'll make it public. I am a claustrophobic. Haven't always been, but I am now. Sitting in crowds is a big problem, including at Mass. And so there's one thing I need to do every Sunday-- I sit in the second pew, as close to the altar as I can possibly get, with everyone else behind me. (In the first pew sits the same elderly couple every week, so I don't want to take their seat. It's a small pew.) In my usual seat, I see only the priest and the altar. And I also have the privilege of seeing special moments, like the one I witnessed today.
Right after the homily, Father reminded us that today is National Marriage Day, as well as St. Valentine's Day, so he called all married couples to the front of the church. Little by little, couples timidly made their way to the altar. Father had one child hold a rose for the wives. Another child held a candle for the husbands. Then Father announced that the couples were there to repeat their Baptismal promises and their Wedding vows.
One young father seemed a little nervous. He stood with his wife, looking back to his small children. He took a few steps to rejoin them, but thinking twice, he returned to his wife and took her hand. When I peeked over my shoulder, I saw three children, the youngest about two years old, quietly peering over the pew.
Father continued with the baptismal promises and the vows. Then I noticed some movement up the center aisle. The two year old toddled up to the man. Without even looking up to be sure he had the right person, he wrapped his hands around his daddy's leg. Dad's hand came down to rest on the little one's head. Eventually, the little guy scootched down, and his Daddy and Mommy repeated their wedding vows while their little boy was sitting on Dad's foot. Tiny penny loafers peeked out from between Dad's feet. Tails from his oxford shirt hung out from under his cable sweater. He arms were wrapped tightly around his dad's leg.
Oh, how I wish I had a camera! What a way to celebrate the Feast of St. Valentine. Somehow, I think the saint is in Heaven smiling in pure delight. Yes, I'll bet he's thinking, this is good. God bless.