|News From The Domestic Church|
A Funny Thing Happened To Me On My Way To The Easter Vigil –by Richard Bedard
I was scheduled along with two fellow Lectors to read at this year’s Vigil Mass. I was running late and arrived at church twenty minutes before Mass. I was already nervous. I enjoy Lectoring, but find it an awesome responsibility. I had barely walked up the stairs and through the front doors, when Father came bursting through the inner doors.
With a look of relief on his face he looked at me and said: “Good” This puzzled me to no end. He then said: We need to make a fire for the Vigil. I asked him whether he had asked someone to take care of that and he replied no. Just then, a friend came in behind me and I explained what was going on. We both looked at each other in puzzlement, wondering what we were going to do in such a short time. It quickly came to us. My friend would drive home to the next block and try get some dry wood, and I would run home and get our barbeque grill and newspapers.
By now it is ten minutes until Mass starts and I am running home almost out of breath in my suit. Luckily I live four houses from church. When I arrived home, I found myself making a mad scramble (still out of breath) in my back yard trying to wrestle the grill through soggy, almost muddy grass, over to our SUV. Then another run to the woodpile to get some kindling wood just in case. Then finally, a dash into the house for old newspapers. Any Olympic contender would have been proud of the way I did all this, while managing to keep my clothes spotless. And any Nascar driver would equally have been proud of me for the speed and expert driving that I brought our SUV over to the church parking lot. I quickly enlisted the help of a parishioner and he and my friend set everything up while I made a bee-line through the parking lot for the sacristy to get a butane lighter. Once in the sacristy, I happened to look past the altar at the ambo and noticed the Lectionary was not there!
Now I am panicking! How are we going to do the Readings without a Lectionary? I thought to myself. Mass was about to start in two minutes and everyone was seated in their places in church. Next I attempt to do a hand signal pantomime from the sacristy with my fellow lectors seated in the first pew. They looked up at me as if I were a mad man. I decided this was useless and abondoned that idea. I looked around and found the Lectionary still in the sacristy. With two minutes to go before Mass, I graciously brought out the Lectionary (no one saw the beads of sweat on my brow I hope) to the ambo, pausing to bow before Our Lord Jesus in the tabernacle. I then proceeded to the back of the church and out through the doors with the butane lighter in hand. Once outside, it was obvious our volunteer keeper of the fire was having difficulty keeping the fire going. He had the cover on the grill because it was windy and our fire was mostly a smokey smouldering affair. Just then, Father appeared with the whole parish and began the rite of blessing the fire. Just as he began the blessing, I confidently smiled (like a poker player holding four aces in his hand) and handily took out the butane lighter and lit one corner of a crumpled newspaper. Success!
Now I began to relax as Father finished the blessings and prayers and we all proceeded to enter the back of the church which was now in the traditional darkness, where we all lit our candles and continued to our pews. As I am climbing the stairs to the choir loft while unsuccessfully trying to regaining my composure, I find myself in semi darkness and fumbling (all at the same time) with a pocket light, my candle , and my missalette from which I was to read The Story of Creation from Genesis along with my fellow Lectors up in the choir loft. Just then the fatal blow came. I spilled candle wax on my new suit coat! NOW, I wanted to DESTROY something! I also remember being torn between laughter and tears. Suddenly, my Faith took over. A delicious peace came over me. And I began to snicker to myself at the events that had transpired. I silently thanked Jesus for the opportunity to serve and for having been at the right place at the right time to be able to help Father. The wax spot on my coat? With a few scratches from my finger and a quick brush with my hankie it was gone! And yes, the Readings went flawlessly.
God indeed works in mysterious ways!
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