You know the part of a church service where people shake hands? (In some kinds of church services, that is.) That’s called “the sign of peace.” People shake hands and say “peace” or “peace to you” or in my case, my Patient Husband kisses me. The “sign of peace” is the cause for much merriment among smaller children, many of whom pursue handshakes as if they “gotta catch ’em all.”
Not all children, of course. Kiddo#3 detested the handshake part when he was smaller. At age two, he’d let out a distressed, “NO PEACE!” whenever anyone (including Mommy) attempted to shake his hand. And then at every other mention of the word “peace” until we left the church. Eventually I began to flinch at the word too, wishing Christ had granted us “calm” or “silence” or really, anything other than peace.
For the last few years, I’ve silently wished the household guardian angels peace at that time too. I figure it can’t hurt. There’s no accompanying handshake and no one knows I’m doing it, but I think that’s okay, and a couple of times I’ve forgotten to do it and been reminded that I missed someone. 🙂
Kiddo#4 still sleeps most of the way through church, which is a very good thing. It means it’s quieter for everyone else, and unlike Kiddo#3, he cannot yet object to being wished peace because, well, he’s asleep. I usually just kiss the top of his head before wishing peace to seven angels, three kids, and one Patient Husband.
But last week, just as the handshake festival began, I looked down and saw him smiling.
It was the quickest moment, just a breath of time: his sleeping face, slack, suddenly broken with a broad smile. A pure delight. And then, just as quickly, it faded.
Clearly, as he slept, someone had wished him peace. I think it was his guardian angel.
Awwww. That’s so cute. 🙂
🙂 Sometimes I “envy” (in a good way, not in a nasty way) your relationship with the guardian angels… I am sure kids know things we afterwards forget because they are known with something other than logic.
Anyway, one thing about Mass and saints and angels: I love the Sanctus, because at that moment we are all together, heaven and earth, visibilium et invisibilium, saints and angels, and the earthly church, praising Him. At that moment, even on my sad days when I feel alone, I know I am not alone, and many times I can feel them like a trusted friend who is just behind me, praising Him with me. And sometimes the warmth makes me smile.
On the sign of the Peace, well, I do smile, but for a different reason. I sing in the choir, and I and the colleague next to me have some learning disability that we are able to learn everything EXCEPT one specific, very simple, Agnus Dei, which happens to be the one most usually sung in my parish. (I am glad when we have a solemn mass and sing a more complex one, as those we can sing). We are able to sing it in rehearsal, mind you, but on Mass we always mess up the same 4 notes. So, we smile because it’s our private joke.