Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Your Way Tuesday
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from reader Lilian Marie
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I recently became an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion for my church (very recently - within the last few months). At first, I was only going to minister to the homebound and sick, but I decided to also attend the orientation for my parish, just in case they needed a substitute.

God has been calling me out of my 'comfort zone' lately and challenging me to defend my faith. This past week I had a dream that greatly disturbed me and shook my faith...

I was distributing the Body of Christ at Mass, standing next to the priest. A man came up to receive and then, opening his hands as to receive, asked for another Host to give to his mother who could not easily walk. I refused to give another to him, but I told him that I would walk back after everyone had received and give her the Body of Christ myself, and he agreed.

When everyone had received, I walked back to the woman and gave her Holy Communion. This made me late for putting the remaining Body in the Tabernacle, now fearing that I would have to do it myself. (In real life, I adamantly refuse to touch or open the Tabernacle. I do not believe that any lay person should touch this Sacred space). As I was walking back toward the Tabernacle, I noticed the floor was wet near the Altar. I realized it was the Precious Blood - on the Altar steps and down on the main floor. I also noticed that people had stepped in it by the footprints and marks on the floor.

I went back into the Sacristy, handed another EMHC my paten, and told the head of the EMHCs about the Precious Blood on the Altar & floor. He immediately started questioning everyone trying to find out who was at fault, all the time referencing the Precious Blood as 'the cup'. I repeatedly told him that it didn't matter *who* did this - that it needed to be cleaned, purified, and the Altar purified. He ignored me and continued to yell, "Who spilt the cup?" (his words). I left him and went to the cabinet, grabbed a large handful of purificators and went back out to the Altar.

I unfolded the purificators, laid them down on the Precious Blood. I tried to cover all of it - then tried to wipe it up. All I could think and say (on my hands & knees) was, "I'm sorry, Jesus. I am so sorry," as tears were running down my cheeks. I said this over and over and over as I tried to clean the Precious Blood from the Altar and floor. The more I tried to clean it, the more that appeared on the purificators and the more that appeared on the floor & Altar - like it was multiplying. There was now so much Precious Blood on the Altar & floor ("I'm so sorry, Jesus" - repeatedly said) that no matter what I did it seemed like nothing helped....so much Blood!

I started moving toward the front of the Altar, opening and laying down purificators, trying to get all of Jesus' Blood. The Priest, who saw me, paid no attention to what I was doing and stood up to say the final blessing. I was then at the Priest's feet, wiping up the Precious Blood, all the while saying, "I'm sorry, Jesus. I am so sorry." I heard and saw the congregation laughing as I was trying to clean it all - I felt like the sinner (woman) who washed Jesus' feet with her hair - embarrassed - yet so saddened. They didn't get it! This was Jesus - and they are laughing? I wanted to plead with them, "Don't you see Him? Don't you realize Who this is?" No, they didn't...and when I woke up, my heart was pounding.

My heart has been so saddened these last few days. I am unable to get these images (dream) out of my mind. I question if we, the Church, have veered so far that even WE don't realize Who this is before us at each and every Mass. Do we really believe, deep down in the depth of our souls that this IS Jesus, the Son of God? Or are we so earth-bound in our ways that it is only the bread and cup - only symbols? If we are, how sad! We have, before us, The Son of God, the King of Kings, and through Him, our Father and the Holy Spirit since the three can not be divided.

We have the Heavenly Court with us at each and every Mass! How awesome is that??? And yet, this dream permeates my thoughts...saddens me for all of those who do not believe.
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from uncle jim
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onight our parish concludes a series of adult formation talks. Each Lent and Advent a series of topical talks is presented. The aim is to allow adult parishioners an opportunity to grow in their understanding and appreciation of their faith. This evening's topic is titled 'Endless Possibilities'.

Participants are gathered into groups of 5 - 8 around round-tables. Following each presentation, a table leader / facilitator works at promoting discussion among those at the table. Coming to understand more than they came in knowing is the goal. My take is the people are starving for more and more and more. Yet, having said that, I often wonder why the room isn't overflowing. The sessions have been attracting 40 - 90 people each week. We surely could double that. The rest are busy with other things, I suppose.

This past weekend, I spent time with a group of teen-agers. They were open and hungry for more of the Lord. I fear when they go home their enthusiasm is quickly drowned out by other things - and by parents who are themselves weak in their faith and have little motivation to help their teens grow more. Such a cycle of luke-warmness will perpetuate itself in a downward spiral.

I pray those adults who attend the formation series of talks are better prepared to help someone else in their spiritual growth - maybe their own children. I pray God gives me the words to say.
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1 comment:

Justin said...

Jim & Lilian, thanks for sharing! What a dream... and very valuable for you to share your concerns! We do need to exhort one another on the miracle of the Eucharist.