I serve as a lay minister in our local parish, the Diocesan Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of Aranzazu.
Due to health protocols and restrictions, only a limited number of parishioners are allowed to come in to attend mass.
Two weeks had past since the government imposed stricter quarantine restrictions due to the increase in the daily number of covid-19 cases in the country and churches were closed. With the partial easing of lockdown protocols, parishioners were allowed inside the church at ten percent capacity only. Last night, I received a message from our coordinator for me to resume serving at the 4 PM mass, to which I readily acceded.
I was the only one who served in this afternoon’s mass. The first time that I was serving alone. Installed only last December of 2020, there were still tasks that I am not fully aware of. And one of that is opening the sacred tabernacle.
In the previous masses that I served, it was the elder members who had the privilege of opening the tabernacle to get the sacred host. What I normally do among other things is only to assist them in bringing the consecrated host to the altar. But since I am the lone serving lay minister, the task of doing everything fell on me.
To give you an idea, the type of tabernacle in our church has a key to open the primary lid. And then there is a secondary lid. When the time came for me to get the consecrated host, alas, I was having a problem opening the second door of the tabernacle! For some reason, I can’t remember how the elders did it when I was assisting them. I can see the hinges but I am at a loss where exactly to pull the lid!
I have already made two attempts and I still can’t open that second lid! Pressure mounts!
The priest was already looking at me asking where the hosts were. Embarrassed, I approached him and said, “Father, sorry I can’t open the tabernacle.” He then went to the tabernacle while I accompanied him. He opened it – that secondary lid – and I saw how simple it was to open! I finally saw where to pull it! Can you imagine that feeling of wanting to shrink?
After the communion service, I returned the remaining consecrated hosts back to the sacred chamber. This time around, there is no way that that second lid is going to block me from my mission!
And so the rest was history. I apologized for my shortcoming.
The Lord will always find a way to teach us even in the simplest of ways. This is another of those life experiences that I will never forget.
One important lesson that I learned is this: it will be hard to do a task no matter how easy it may be if you do not know how to do it. Therefore, always have the humility to be teachable.
No matter how intelligent we think we are, there is still that something that we do not know. And so we should always open ourselves to learning.
Do not be afraid to learn something new no matter how simple that task may be.
The next thing is that our mistakes do not define us.
If it so happens that I will again be the lone lay minister to serve next Sunday, I have already learned through experience how to do things and how to do them better.
We must move on bringing the life lessons that we learned. And that will make us more effective individuals in our respective lines of services. Oftentimes, it is our fear of committing mistakes that hinder our growth as a person. Let us be accountable enough to admit our mistakes but carry on.
What is the area in your life where you made a mistake? Was it in the field of relationships or a business undertaking, perhaps? It is never too late. Exert an effort to rebuild those relationships. Try to start your life anew!
All of us will remain to be a student of life. We must seize every opportunity to learn and never allow our ego to block us from improving. Every day is a day that gives us a chance to become better.
Be blessed and be a blessing!