Yesterday when celebrating Mass, the canon was, for the most part, inaudible. Not because I didn’t say the words aloud. As the rubrics direct, I always say the words aloud. Some days the canon is louder than other days, but it always loud enough for the altar servers to hear—which, in our small space, means that nearly everyone can hear the canon.
Yesterday, however, my voice was not as strong as usual. That, however, did not render the canon inaudible. Its inaudibility was the result of noisy little children. They were babbling, crying, screaming—you know, what little ones tend to do. Of course, leading the charge was my own. The mothers, bless their hearts, did not rush the children out of the nave when their children acted up. They’ve agreed that, as much as possible, children should remain during the Mass instead of being sequestered or unseen, particularly because they are communicants (i.e., full-fledged members of the community). On other occasions, the parents have whisked unruly children out for a time. However, they’ve heeded my encouragement that the holiest moment of the Mass should not be interrupted with unnecessary movement.
Therefore, the canon was difficult to hear—or was not heard at all. Nevertheless (as often happens), those in the habit of saying the “Amens” did so without hindrance because they knew what was being said, even if they did not hear every word. And, as never ceases to amaze me, the children were remarkably quiet during both the words of Christ and elevation. (Bells have a way of fascinating the youngest.)