When I was a teen in junior high school, I got a gentle nudge from God. I felt an urge as a Roman Catholic to become a priest. But all the pomp and ceremony of the church scared me and I didn’t respond.
Although I have been a Catholic all my life, I wasn’t exposed to my Catholicism until later in my childhood. My parents worked in the restaurant business and so had to work on Saturdays and Sundays. So we didn’t attend Mass. I actually went to church with Protestant relatives when I went to church at all. When my parents left the restaurant business to help my newly widowed grandfather in the motel business, the local pastor visited us and I finally received an education in Catholicism through the catechism. And we started going to Mass on Sundays.
Most of my progress as a Catholic came later in life than most Catholics. I said my first Confession as a teen. I took my first Holy Communion shortly after. I had my Confirmation sometime after that, in the company of much younger Catholics. Then I was through with my formal Catholic education and for years I floundered as a Catholic.
Later, working in television, a co-worker introduced me to contributing time Sundays at Saint Andrews Cathedral helping with the televised Mass. But eventually that required coming to rehearsals, which were held during weekday evenings, when I worked. So that fell away.
When I met my wife, a true lifelong Catholic, going to Mass became a regular part of my life. The community of her parish welcomed me warmly and again God nudged me. This time not to become a priest but to become active in the Mass as a lay minister. First I became an usher (or greeter). Then a lector (one who reads the day’s scriptures before the congregation). And finally a Eucharistic minister (one who distributes Holy Communion during Mass). Often I did two ministries at the same time, although you are supposed to focus on only one.
To be a good lector requires not just good reading skills, but also studying the readings and what they are about, what words to emphasize for what reasons. So I became familiar with the Scriptures and the Word of God. I became good at lectoring, and although offering the Body and Blood of Christ to others is an awesome gift in itself, I loved reading the Word of God at Mass. God gives each of us different gifts and mine was lectoring.
It’s been a while since I have lectored (or ushered or been a Eucharistic minister). The reasons are personal and complex. Today they are health related. But I miss serving God and community in these ministries.
Now once again God has nudged me. He’s nudged me for some time now. He doesn’t talk to me; I don’t hear voices. But I feel Him urging me to read the Bible and share what I learn. And so, this blog. It’s a new journey of discovery.