“Hey, pass the cereal,” Pedro grunted to his older sister Maria.
A minute passed with no response. Pedro reached for the colorful box. When Maria grabbed it back, fluffy flakes and colorful marshmallows flew in all directions.
“Kids,” Mom yelled. “We need to get ready for Mass! Finish eating and get dressed!”
Maria buried her head in her hands and sighed.
The scene repeated every Sunday morning. Maria’s family would argue all the way to Holy Spirit Catholic Church about who had made them late. Pedro had forgotten to brush his teeth. Dad just needed to send one more text. Baby Francis needed a new diaper. It was always the same.
“Can we just stop for a minute?” Maria whispered quietly. Her family’s Sunday morning battles hurt her stomach and her heart.
“Sure, honey,” Dad said, putting his coffee cup and cell phone down. “What’s wrong?”
“I was just thinking about something Father Collins said last week at Mass,” Maria said quietly. “Remember how he told us that church is our home and that Jesus is waiting for us there?”
Mom moved away from the sink and sat near Dad. “That’s beautiful, Maria,” she smiled.
“Father also said something about the fruits of the Holy Spirit,” Maria continued. “He said the Holy Spirit will help us if we pray for these fruits…”
“Like bananas and grapes?” Pedro joked. “I hate bananas!”
“Could we just stop and pray?” Maria said shyly, ignoring Pedro’s jokes. “Maybe we could make today different from every other Sunday. Maybe we could go meet Jesus with less fighting and more peace in our hearts. Maybe?”
“Oh, so now you’re all holy?” Pedro teased. But realizing that he had hurt his sister, he reached for her hand. The family bowed their heads.
Dad looked at Maria with bright eyes. “Could you lead us?” he asked.
“Jesus, we love you, and we love each other,” Maria prayed. “But sometimes we are all so busy and running in a million different directions. Sometimes we mess up and forget to love. Help us.”
Her parents looked at each other.
“Holy Spirit, we ask you to bring peace into our home and our hearts,” Maria finished quietly.
“Amen!” Baby Francis shouted with a smile.
“Amen,” said Mom and Dad.
“Amen,” Pedro giggled, hugging Maria.
“Today is going to be the best Sunday ever,” Maria smiled. Suddenly, her stomach was calm. Her heart was happy. “Let’s go see Jesus!”