Serving God, Altar Serving and Learning to Listen
Over the past few months there have been some big changes and to some extent it comes down to prayer, reading and listening. I use a mix of Kindle, Kobo, iBooks and Google Play Books for most of my reading. Last year I read 177 books and only about a dozen of them where physical books. At the beginning of this year I went through my reading apps and made a list of all the books I had started but not finished yet. There was a large collection of Catholic books that I had started or had but had not been read yet. I went through and made a list of 39 books I wanted to read this year to be intentional about working through this list. Basically it became A Year of Reading Intention - Catholic Reading!
One of the first books I read was Beautiful Mercy edited by Matthew Kelly. While I was reading it we received an email from the school asking for children grade 4 and above to become altar servers. We talked to our oldest and she was really excited about it. While emailing to get her enrolled, I shared that I had been an alter server as a child, while in my 20's at Queen's University and in my 30's while at St. Jerome's University. I was asked if I would consider serving again, especially because they need men to help serve at funerals. Now I need to state that the night before in Beautiful Mercy I was reading about the corporal works of mercy and specifically, on burying the dead. There were three chapters on this work of mercy:
Hopeful Mercy - Mother Olga Yaqob
Personal Mercy - Sr. Marie Veritas, SV
Affirming Mercy - Dr. Carloyn Woo
I said I would be willing to help with no hesitation. And lo and behold a week later I received a call that they needed me, so I went and server two evening massed and a funeral that Thursday. I have also since served at another funeral. I had been praying about a way to become more active at our parish, and this is dropped in my path. I asked God to open doors and he opened one I would never have expected. My daughter and I have been trying to go and serve mass together during a week day at least once a week. I think it is amazing that she wants to serve, and that she wants to serve with me. Over the last few months my daughter has alter severed at about 20 masses and I have served at about a half dozen. It is helping us build a bond with each other, it is helping build her faith. We go early and pray before mass, we take a moment and pray after mass. We talk about our successes and our failures and ask God to strengthen us to do better the next day.
And to be honest a big part of this came about because of reading good catholic books. I had just been reading on a topic and get asked to help in that area the next day. The Holy Spirit was defiantly guiding and leading, and thankfully I was open to hearing and paying attention. It is a new found joy to be able to assist at mass this way again.
On Divine Mercy Sunday the new alter servers were enrolled and I was reenrolled. We had 19 altar servers assisting at mass. It was truly a blessing.
So my questions to you are:
Are you intentional about reading to develop your faith?
Do you have a reading plan?
Are you willing to shut off the TV earlier and spend an hour a day reading for your spiritual development?
You never know how the Holy Spirit might guide you.
(The photo below is my daughter, Father Alex and myself after the enrolment service.)