Last night, my son and I attended a training session for liturgical ministers to serve at mass.  This included all facets of serving at the mass from hospitality and ushers to altar servers and Eucharistic ministers.  The latter two were what my son and I were there for. 

I decided that having no little babies to bounce on my hip in the pew anymore, I could participate in serving the people of the church through this liturgical ministry.  My 11-year old son, who has been an altar server for over a year now, loves to help Father at mass.  He enjoys the processional, holding the book for prayer, ringing the bells, and helping during the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  When we found out that a few changes were being made to the way altar serving would go to make it more in line with the Catholic Bishops’ guidelines, my son was disappointed.  He was sad that the patens would no longer be used or that he would only be wearing the white alb instead of the black and white surplice and cassock.

So as we were walking in to church last night and he was grumbling a bit about the changes that our new priest was making, I asked him.  “Don’t you still want to be an altar server?  You are still serving the same God at the same mass.”  And he replied, “I still want to serve, just not the way he wants me to.”

I get it – change is rarely smooth and easy and oftentimes we wish we can just do things the way we are used to, but what struck me about our conversation what how universal my son’s reply was.

“I want to serve, just not the way He wants me to.”

How often do we say the same thing to God?  Yes, God, I do want to do your will.  I do want to serve others, just not the way that you want me to serve.  I want to do things my own way – the way I know, the way I am comfortable with.  We would rather God not push us outside our comfort zone, in the calling of our vocations, in our jobs, in our relationships.  Status quo is so much easier.

But through these growing pains of change, as God calls us outside of our safe little bubble, we can find that we can more deeply experience our relationship with Him.  We can stretch more when we aren’t self-contained in that comfortable bubble.  We can see more clearly.  Yes, things may not be as cozy as they were in our routines and habits, but maybe those routines and habits aren’t meant to be cemented into our hearts.  We have to break ourselves out and follow God.

This means sometimes serving others in ways that we aren’t wanting to – serving in situations we are uncomfortable with or that stretch our minds and resources.  But God is making the call to do something new – imprinting our hearts with a new mission.  Sometimes it is a big change in our lives and other times, He just wants to help us get rid of old bad habits by finding new ones.

Either way, when we are called to serve by the Lord, we have to open that door and walk through even though we may not really want to!

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