Peace and Amen

It’s not a new thing that kids like to say “Amen.” Churched babies since the origin of the Church have probably been yelling “Amen!” excitedly whenever their families sat down to eat. It’s a word that feels good on the tongue, which is really all that matters for the 1 ½ year old who is all about the business of ordering sounds into meaning.

So, I’m not surprised that our sweet son yells “Amen!” whenever he sees some steaming tomato soup or roasted chicken or bean burritos floating effortlessly toward his high chair. Really, “Amen” is great way to express joy. And it makes a lot of sense to say, “let it be so!” when you see roasted chicken, right? I just can’t get over it lately, as if there’s some secret spiritual truth waiting for me in his uninhibited bliss.

I’ve started reading The Sacrament of the Present Moment, a short book written by a French Jesuit in the 18th century named Jean-Pierre De Caussade. It’s a book I’ve discovered on my so-far short journey into monastic motherhood and in my quest for recognizing and worshipping God in the ordinariness that is my life.

De Caussade’s basic premise is that no moment is insignificant; no moment is more holy than another. He believes that Christ is coming to us in a fresh way every moment, every day. He believes we can be freed from our separate views of the secular and the sacred, because Christ is alive in all of it.

“Precious moment,” De Caussade says, “how small in the eyes of my head and how great in those of my heart, the means whereby I receive small things from the Father who reigns in heaven! Everything that falls from there is very excellent, everything bears the mark of its maker.”

And so, as August lies in his bed at naptime, dried tomato soup on his sleeves and sand from the park still hiding out in his cuffed pants, I pray with him, and, as usual, make the mark of the cross on his forehead, repeat the blessing from Deuteronomy that my mother taught me: “May the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

And before “peace” falls from my lips, I pause a moment, in time for August to shout “peace!” with me. Man, I think, as I wind the mobile to play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and leave him awake but cozy in his crib, if I could holler “Peace!” as my last word before sleep, and mean it.


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