Sunday, July 6, 2008

Churchy la femme

Yesterday evening, after Mass, Ryan, an altar server, asked me if I would be willing to serve on occasion as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.

It was a tough question, being that I am a tradition-loving convert who is trying to get into the habit of receiving Communion on the tongue so as not to handle the consecrated host with my greasy little paws. (I say "trying," as it's a bit of a challenge to receive in the manner the Pope advocates; my outsize front teeth get in the way.) And I'm not fond of seeing lay people distribute the hosts, either. It wasn't long ago that, upon realizing I had unluckily landed on the side of the Communion line where a layman or woman was doing the honors, I would try to furtively sneak over to the priest's side. Only with effort did I train myself to remember that the Eucharist is the Eucharist.

So, I answered, "I'll do it. I should tell you, I don't approve of extraordinary ministers. But I'll do it for the church."

I was surprised at how good it felt to say that. Ryan was relieved—and, perhaps because he is a tradition-loving convert as well, he could relate.

Distributing Holy Communion will take some getting used to for me—and not just if it pits me against someone with teeth like mine. I really hope the Vatican once again rules that only priests do the job. But until it does, it is a good feeling to realize that, in a matter of my personal opinion versus what the Church permits and what it needs, the truest way to follow my conscience is to help the Church. No, it's more than a good feeling; it is strangely freeing to choose to help the Church. I don't know if someone who is not Catholic could understand.