Imagine the scene: it’s a weekday Mass. There are thirty people in the church. And my son sasses off to the priest.
It’s one of those moments where Mom can either be mortified or amused, so I’m going with amused. Here’s what happened, and may God forgive me.
Father C is the king of the fast Mass. Now, I know that when I was in high school, Father Curry told us that “the world record for a Mass is nine and a half minutes,” but I figured he was kidding. Surely no one is going for the world record. Since the Mass is a prayer, why would you rush it? Granted, daily Mass in Manhattan had to be shoehorned into my half-hour lunch break, so having it in twelve minutes was an incomparable blessing or I couldn’t have gone at all. But those are unusual circumstances.
Then we met Father C, whose Sunday homilies take about two minutes. He keeps things moving right along. You don’t have to worry about getting distracted because there isn’t time.
As a result, the consecration prayer takes on a conversational speed. For you non-Catholics who read here, the consecration is a long prayer during which the congregation is silent, as opposed to many other prayers which take the form of call-response.
That one day, my ten month old son, who is learning about language, must have been uncertain why we were no longer doing call-response and decided to help us along by talking back to the priest whenever he paused.
Father C: In memory of his death and resurrection, we offer you, Father, this life-giving bread, this saving cup.
Father C: We thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you.
Father C: May all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit.
My sociable boy. His voice ringing out in the stone interior of the nearly-empty church. And his mother, mortified, amused and hushing him all at the same time.
I’d been counting on a few years before the backtalk started, but no, we’re in trouble.