Confessions of an awkward EME

The Mystery of the Eucharist

I am a sinner. No questions asked. I am a sinner. The “I” in sin – that’s me.

As many of my CRHP Team brothers know who heard my testimony, for years I was scared to even come into a church. So the idea of even standing near the altar, let alone serving the Eucharist, was a recipe for God striking me dead right there in the Sanctuary. Forgiven is one thing, taunting is a whole other matter. Not happening. Nope. Not good enough, not pretty enough, not anything enough. This guy is definitely captain of the un-worthies when it came to Jesus in the flesh. The idea of doing that was right up with there with waving a seven iron over my head in a lightning storm. No way.

So for years I watched in awe of those I knew who served the sacrament as Extra Ordinary Ministers of the Eucharist in such a beautiful way. Amazing people. My heros. God’s gift to the Mass. True Saints. I…. I just couldn’t do it.

Then along came a roadblock in my life. Somehow I needed to figure out a way to get the Eucharist into another service component of my life that was causing me to miss Mass. So to solve my problem I explored the program of Eucharist for the Homebound as my solution. The only problem was….You had to get trained as an EME first.

So after some heavy breathing in a paper bag, I went through the training. After you go through training, Adam Smith’s invisible hand works you into the system and low and behold you are scheduled at a Mass to serve. It was at this point I verified my life insurance, left my living will open on my home office desk, told my wife and children I loved them one last time, and then went up to serve at Mass.

Standing on the altar my thoughts wandered for some reason to Simon, the Crenian, who was made to carry Christ’s cross to the place of His crucifixion. I always wish I could have done that. Probably sounds crazy I know, but I owe Christ my life, and to lesson His burden in any way on that journey would have been an honor I would have died for. That’s when it hit me. That is what I am about to do.

But it also became so much more.

Despite my nervous and shaking hands I managed through the experience. As I held the Eucharist high and proclaimed it the Body of Christ I began to notice some things. I began to see the people and the Eucharist as Jesus. All of the different faces were one face – even though they changed they were the same. And so much as I was helping Christ carry his cross, I was also helping all of these people carry their crosses to Christ. I began to see the truth of the reminder of the connection between the Last Supper and the Crucifixion; that if Christ really hadn’t instituted the Mass at the Last Supper then Christ’s Death on the Cross wasn’t truly a real sacrifice. But He did and it was; they are inexorably linked, and as we come into communion with Christ we share in that sacrifice and are born into the New Covenant.

There were smiles, there were anxious faces, there was somberness, and there was joy. People came as they were able and with all that defined them. The children, oh the children, all of my fears and personal anxieties faded away with the children. The opportunity to bless them in the name of Jesus Christ was an overwhelming joy to experience and share.

The line never seemed to end. I actually worried at first that I might run out of bread, but then remembered the parables of Christ feeding the masses and laughed to myself. After my line diminished I joined another, and then it ended.

Upon completing the service, I came down from the altar, bowed, and returned to my seat thankful the congregation was still in prayer because I needed to kneel. Collapsing in prayer I fought back tears. I thanked God for that amazing opportunity to witness His Grace being poured out unto others.   It was amazing.  Through originally an experience I feared greatly, I not only grew in faith but felt the blessing and joy of serving others like few things I have ever done.

Our CRHP brother Dan Lickel has adopted the motto, “If something scares me, that probably is what I need to be doing.” I am thinking he is on to something there.

Brothers, have you had opportunities to serve in your faith life that at first scared you, but later turned out to be an amazing blessing? What were they? How did it change you? Should we take Dan’s lead and follow our fears?

YBIC

Reflections

Dan, thanks for creating this page of resources and letting me have access to it. Lots of great stuff. This Sunday 3/29 reflection question concerning “Jesus Barabbas” and the mystery behind what he did after being released are polar opposites. This is logical considering what he had just witnessed. Likewise, today’s Gospel 3/26 has Jesus calling people “liars.” He also called people “blind guides, fools, frauds” and “whitewashed tombs.” To quote the Laudate reflection for today, Jesus was blunt and was asking for trouble. Like the people of his time, our response should be one of polar opposites. My response is usually one of moderation and lukewarm. While usually a logical strategy to the physical world, what an illogical response to what counts!

 

Scott Kmiecik (April 2015)

Reconciliation

I just wanted to comment on the discussion questions for this week. Let’s just say that I have broken almost every one of them. Most of them daily/hourly/minute by minute. I have had moments where I stepped out of the confessional and my mind was already going places it shouldn’t. I have wanted to turn around and sit back down in the confessional. Lust is probably the toughest for most of us guys. Not so easy when temptation is around every corner, on every tv screen and is in almost every book/magazine/web page you view. I have prayed on this often. Prayer works wonders. I am convinced that God has a sense of humor but he is definitely helping me.
Just Morgan (April 2015)

Gospel Reading

I just wanted to comment on the Gospel reading today. I loved how well the first reading and Gospel worked together. The story of the man who wanted to be healed from leprosy. What really struck me was that Jesus was first moved with pity then he reached out his hand and healed him. I love this because we get to see the fully human side of Jesus as well as the fully divine side. Pretty awesome stuff.

Peace brothers

Just Morgan (Feb 2015)

Book Review: Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Jacques Philippe

Dan, this website is really awesome. Thanks for creating it. If you guys like to read, check out Searching for and Maintaining Peace by Jacques Philippe. We are currently reading it in our Team 9 small group. It is a small book and reads like a devotional but it is pack full of good material. For example, I just got through reading two chapters that talk about putting on our spiritual armor and dealing with our everyday battles. It describes our fight against evil like a battleground that we must continue all the way until the very end. I know we have all heard that message before but this books describes it beautifully. It is a very easy read and I highly recommend it. I found it interesting that one of the daily readings this week was on the exact same subject using the same scripture. Anyway, I just wanted to share. I think I will start using this blog a lot, if that’s okay. I dig it man.

-Justin Morgan (Feb-2015)