Two years ago when my oldest son was old enough to be an altar server, I assumed we would sign him right up. I was picturing him in his little cassock and surplice looking holy and reverent as he assisted at Mass. He had other ideas. He did not want to be on the altar. He did not want people looking at him.
I thought about insisting. After all what nice Catholic boy goes his whole childhood without ever serving Mass? Every little Catholic boy should be an altar server (I feel differently about my girls being altar servers, but I am old fashioned that way). I really wanted to insist but Tim said we should not push. So we let the whole thing go. He went through fourth grade sitting next to us in the pew. He went through fifth grade, still next to us.
Then one week, after Mass, a friend casually asked my son why he did not serve at Mass. He sort of shrugged noncommittally. Later that day, I had a little talk with him. I still did not push, but I did suggest he think about altar serving again. I instructed him to pray about it. “Just be open to it and see what God wants you to do,” I told him.
|My altar boy (in stained glass effect)|
A few weeks ago he began his training. He was finally ready and he was excited. Today my son served his first Mass! There he was, in his cassock and surplice, reverently holding the candle and assisting the priest. It was beautiful. And it was well worth the wait, especially because I am pretty sure there was a much deeper lesson in letting him listen for God’s call instead of just insisting he do what mom says.
If God ever calls my son to even more ministry in the Church, to even greater service on the altar, I hope he will remember this lesson and heed God’s call again.