Somehow I got recruited to lead our parish’s communion services. This had been done by one of our deacons, but his work simply got too busy for him to be able to get away long enough to do them, so, I guess I am now doing it.
Seeing as it is not a Mass, I am allowed to give a short reflection after the reading the Gospel to help focus the community of daily communicants. I am however still in the early stages of my formation, and I my pastor and I felt that it would be more appropriate for me to read a reflection rather then come up with one of my own, at least for this first year of services. So we thought up a few safe sources that I could choose from, and other then that, I am given licence to choose whatever I feel is appropriate for the readings for any given day.
This has been a far more stressful practice than I thought it would be. I figured I would just open up the Divine Office or one of the other sources, and whatever would be written for that day would automatically be relevant.
Oh how I wish that were true.
Once in a while I will get lucky and have it be spot on, but more often then not, the writings that correspond with the day have a myriad of problems. Sometime they are too lofty and dense to be able to read aloud, sometime they are too short to really get the point across. Very often I find that they have no relevance whatsoever.
While this has be a firm source of frustration, I have also for it personally quite edifying. I spend so much time poring through these texts trying to find something just right, that I have gained a great familiarity with them. I find myself quoting odd saints that I had before never heard of. Our community is often rather shocked when I actually read from one of the many documents the Church has produced over the centuries. How many had never actually read any of the documents of Vatican II for example? Very few, I’m sure.
I was reading from one the other day, and you could actually see some discomfort with what I was saying. I could tell that some members of the congregation thought I was being a little too loose. (You know, it’s that look grandma gives you when you ask for more pudding) Then I just read where I got my quote, and you see this combination of relief and consternation on their faces. Truly intriguing.
It is my sincere intention to continue to pull from wealth of sources we have in the Church as I begin to structure my own reflections in the coming year. Listening to our predecessors in the faith or otherwise has become a forgotten art in our culture in general, as we seem to think we are so modern that none of those old, dusty books could possibly have anything to say.
Oh how deeply wrong we are.