My husband and I were at Mass on Saturday night and during the opening hymn, I noticed the woman in the pew ahead of us holding her baby daughter. As the music grew, the mother rocked back and forth to the music. Up in the front row, I noticed another woman holding a baby close, dipping and rocking to the swells of the music, her participation in the liturgy adding to my own.
I remembered how I did that same public dance with my own children a few decades earlier, with and without music. I rocked and soothed them in church, in line at the grocery store, or any place where they were required to be still. In those years my mind seemed to be filled with an endless inventory of things to do or places to be. But time rocking in line with one of my babies meant that my mental list-making was accented by my pauses for a kiss on the neck, a smell of a cheek, or a whisper of deep love into their ears.
During Mass, as I watched these women moving with their babies, I realized that I had begun to sway back and forth, too, as if re-entering those loving moments.
It occurred to me that Jesus is a lot like the mothers in that church, and we are the beloved children being held. No matter what we are busy with or distracted by, or whether or not we are even paying attention, Jesus is holding us close, rocking us gently and offering sweet words of love into our ears.