So this last Father's Day Mass felt like what it must have been like in the 1950s. No Latin or anything like that - I'm talking about babies. Babies, babies, babies! It was like the end of the world was coming and God was trying to use up His baby materials. I swear every guy there had a baby in his arms. It was amazing. Under the usual sound of people and books was this murmur of "goos" and "gah gahs". Perhaps someone announced a "bring your baby to Mass" day. I had to check the bulletin to make sure that no one had accidental put a notice in saying, "Bring a baby, get a free car" or something.
And that constant sound of babies I KNOW set some people on edge. To many good and holy people who are trying earnestly to follow Vatican II mandates of full, conscious, and active participation at Mass, the constant sound of babies seem a little like this:
I know because I've had mothers, fathers, and baby sitters come up to me and say that when they've been at Mass they have been seen people turn around and look at them like this:
And truly my heart goes out to both parties - parents who want to get to Mass and others who want undisturbed, community prayer. And of course there are screamers who might bless the whole community by visiting the cry room or the lobby. (Yes, I've spoken with pediatricians who wouldn't take their kid to the cry room if it meant martyrdom. I'm just saying.) But who can predict the sudden outburst in the middle of a homily?
Just this past weekend I was standing out in the lobby waiting for Mass to end and a lady with about the best behaved kids going was standing next to me with her child that was getting a bit "active" to be in the body of the Church and he let out this blood curdling scream completely out of the blue followed shortly thereafter by own startled scream. After determining nobody was being murdered we had a good laugh about it.
But truly, here is what I hear most of the time when there are many babies in church:
It means that there is a future, that we are still alive, and that God being a good and loving God will give them screaming children of their own one day with whom they will be embarrassed at Mass making the need to give "dagger eyes" completely superfluous and not nearly as effective.