Monday, October 02, 2006

Sunday's Lesson While Ministering

In my parish, the Eucharistic Ministers, the Lectors, the Altar Servers, the Deacon, and the priests meet in the back of the Church before Mass. We greet each other and pray that the Holy Spirit may guide us in our ministry. I appreciate the opportunity to focus my mind and spirit on why I am doing what I am doing.

Yesterday, before the prayer, a young woman came up to me.

"Are you a Eucharistic Minister?" she asked.

"Yes," I replied.

"Would you bring Communion to my grandmother? She's sitting with us over there. She'll be 102 this November. Normally she likes to go up to receive, but she's hurt her knee and she can't move too well."

I assured the young woman that it would be no problem at all, especially since they were sitting near my "station." And I also expressed how wonderful that her grandmother was still mobile and still participating in Mass at 102! I hope I'm able to do the same.

Fortunately, I remembered to administer the Eucharist before I got to my position. When everyone was in position, I turned and began distributing to my section. Most Communicants prefer to receive the Host in their hand and part of my mind is struck by the beauty and diversity of the hands that cradle the Lord. Some of the hands have done years of hard, physical labor and, if they're male hands, I think, "St. Joseph must have had hands like these." Hard, callused, scarred, yet capable of such gentleness. There are female hands that are rough and chapped from washing, cooking, scrubbing. Those are the hands of Our Lady. The children's hands are chubby; some still have their baby dimples. The teens and young adults have softer hands, often stained with ink (especially those who came from Confirmation class). Some hands are well-manicured. Some bear rings made of precious metals and stones. Others wear plain bands.

Each set of hands is unique and, I'd like to think, reflects the soul of the owner, and that soul--at least for the next few minutes--reflects the Glory of its Creator.

I usually smile at those to whom I say, "The Body of Christ" because we are sharing Communion with Our Lord and Savior and it is a joyful occasion. We have something no other religion has: we Catholics have an actual piece of the Body of our God. What an awesome idea! And we can have Him with us directly from the time we are 7 until our death.

How many times has that 102-year-old woman received the Body of Christ? And she still seeks it out!