Our diocese had organized a Cor Jesu Novena as part of this year’s Eucharistic Revival initiative. Cor Jesu is a Latin phrase for "Heart of Jesus." It is an opportunity to encounter Christ through Eucharistic Adoration, Reconciliation, Praise & Worship, and Mass. On the first Friday of each month, for nine consecutive months, one parish in the diocese hosts this event.
I had the opportunity to lead music at the very first Cor Jesu in January. At this time, I was nine months pregnant. It was the last time I used my music Charism before having my daughter, Nora. On Friday, I assisted with music for this month’s Cor Jesu. It was my first time leading the music ministry after having a baby.
Juggling the car seat and a bulky guitar case is daunting. It can feel as though this season of life should only consist of me carrying one of the two into a church. Is it possible to live out my vocation as a mother and be an active musician? But there I was, managing them both on my way up the stairs to the choir loft. I also took a massive risk! I brought Nora without lining up a sitter. I figured, a congregation of women?! Someone would be willing to snuggle my daughter for a few hours. Well, that someone was my sister Leah who was signed up to sing with me! While singing harmoniously, I played guitar as she bounced Nora on her hip!
As we prepared for Cor Jesu, Leah and I would casually say, “The Holy Spirit will be there” or “We will follow the Holy Spirit, it will be fine". The confidence we both possessed in the working of the Holy Spirit allowed beauty to blossom from the chaos of what we endured that night.
Things were smooth sailing during the Mass until Nora decided it was time to eat! After the final song, I put the guitar down and picked up the baby. I ended up having to feed her during the Exposition of the Eucharist. The entire congregation was on their knees in reverence. Even though you can not control when the baby needs to eat, I felt insecure about my lack of reverence.
Because of my preoccupation with the baby, Leah had to segue into Eucharistic Adoration by singing the first song alone and without the guitar. Her stunning soprano voice echoed throughout the church as she proclaimed ‘This is Jesus’ through song. I could not have imagined a more perfect way to begin the adoration portion of the evening! The Holy Spirit was at work and clearly, His plan was better!
For the next hour, as Nora was passed between Leah and her mother-in-law, we listened to the prompts of the Holy Spirit. We added a few songs we did not plan, repeated choruses when they seemed to fit and tried not to get distracted when the baby giggled at her cousin in the background.
As the evening came to a close, we had 10 minutes before Benediction, when Nora got fussy! Once again, I put down the guitar and picked up the baby. This time it was my turn to sing alone and without the guitar. As I held Nora close and prayerfully sang, she laid her head on my shoulder. I was overwhelmed by a sense of love. The Lord affirmed my heart by revealing this stage of life is not an either/or. He desires to create opportunities to use my music Charism while simultaneously being a mom.
That moment of bliss latest all but a minute because right as the church grew silent, the baby pooped her diaper!! Those in the choir loft could hardly hold back our laughter as we thought of the people below hearing her blowout. As the congregation kneeled in reference during Benediction, I was on the floor changing Nora’s Diaper.
Regardless of the chaos that Leah and I experienced while leading music, we received positive feedback and compliments about a job well done. The congregation had no idea we were juggling a baby or that the acapella songs were unplanned. It shows that when you let go of control and allow yourself to be a vessel, the Lord brings forth fruit. In all seasons of life, the Lord will use you. You might just have to get creative!
Until next time, your sister in Christ,