I volunteered to speak at Mass this weekend as we begin our recruitment drive for the next Christ Renews His Parish retreats. I was nervous, although well prepared but I couldn’t have been prepared for what happened as I sat in the pews waiting for my moment to be used by the Holy Spirit.
A Different Kind of Passover
I was nervous and I knew I would be. Jennifer and Jack were with me which made it easier but I’m sure I wasn’t very good company during Mass. I knew I’d be going up to the ambo at the end of Mass so when we all stood for the final blessing I moved to the end of the pew and waited to be summoned. But the cue never came…
Are you kidding me? I’ve been sitting here for an hour on pins and needles for an hour and you skip over me? Arrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh!!!!!
Well that was going on inside. On the outside I did my best to remain gracious. After all, it was an honest mistake. I had my part in it too. I found out afterwards that I should have let Father know I was speaking, just as a reminder, and see when he wanted me in position. Would have been nice for someone to tell me that up front, but things do happen.
The Spirit at Work
I got home and let out some frustration. Purging those emotions was good – beats letting them devour me from the inside out. Shortly after I’d made peace with the whole thing I received a text message.
Probably text spam.
I checked it out after dinner was over. (Cooked the steaks a little long – guess I wasn’t completely focused on the task at hand.) No way. Could it be? The Holy Spirit was hard at work letting me know all things happen for a reason.
The scheduled speaker for 7:30 AM Mass tomorrow had taken ill and would not be able to make it. He needed a replacement and he’d looked to me for help. How could I possibly say no? Sure 7:30 AM Mass is a bit early, not to mention I was scheduled to usher at 11:30 AM, but this was meant to be.
I won’t lie and tell you I was on cloud nine the rest of the night. The devil was poking around, trying to make me think I was being rejected by Father. He also wanted me to say no because of the early hour, or because I was going to be attending 3 of the 4 weekend masses, or because the early mass usually has no attendees younger than 70. (Which is not true, by the way. I was pleasantly surprised at the age diversity of the crowd.)
God Spoke To Me and Through Me
I sat in the pew and wasn’t nervous at all until just a couple minutes before it was my time. Still, I was in the appointed place at the appointed time this go round. I won’t say my witness was excellent but worth a strong B+ for sure. God wasn’t keeping score, though, so why should I? I actually received a standing ovation. Well…it was outside after Mass from a team member at the retreat I attended, but the applause and his kind words meant just as much.
What meant even more is someone signed up to attend the women’s retreat in October. Maybe she was signing up whether or not I spoke, but that’s not important. What’s important is the Holy Spirit was working in my life yet again, teaching me about grace, patience and persistence.
Question: Has there been a time when something bad happened in order to teach you a valuable lesson and, once you learned the lesson, something wonderful happened – almost as a reward? I’d love to hear your story in the form of a comment below…