|You are under arrest for pride!|
“The very essence of politeness seems to be to take care that by our words and actions we make other people pleased with us as well as with themselves.” ~ Jean De La Bruyere
Wow, I scared myself this week when I looked at the dates on my blog and realized that last week I had skipped a week ahead to October 8 instead of the first! Too much stuff in my brain: It was my daughter’s wedding anniversary and I was trying to get her card in the mail, I was ironing bugs out of our new parish website, coming off a crazy weekend and the beginning of the week, trying to educate the kids at school that I do Communion Services and not Community Service. Apparently too much politeness can become a point of pride itself which can be a bad thing. Ouch!
I have been laboring under the assumption that I was trying to be a better person by helping out our pastor when he was ill or out of town and couldn’t say Mass by studying how to become a Eucharistic Minister, sacristan and holding a Communion Service. A Communion Service, for those of you who either are not Catholic or whose parish is never without an actual priest, is a type of prayer service held in Church where we read the Holy Scriptures and then receive Holy Communion, already consecrated Hosts of our Lord. We do not have the Consecration because only a priest can consecrate the Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of our Lord. This is hardly ever done on a Sunday when a priest from somewhere will come help fill in for an ill or out-of-town pastor. It’s usually done during the week when it’s harder to find a substitute priest. But in order to bless our day and still receive the Lord, the priest will consecrate extra Hosts so we can have a Communion Service when he is unavailable for Mass.
If you are wondering how I’m getting to my Civility lesson of the week, especially the quote above, here you go. Because we have a parish school and the school kids come to Mass several times a week, sometimes if Father is ill we will have a Communion Service with the students present. I am privileged enough to be asked to hold these services. But lest I ever think I am rising above my station in life to have this opportunity to serve the Lord, in other words, to keep my pride from getting too prideful, the Lord loves inserting a reminder to me every once in a while to keep me in check. Case in point: One of the first graders in the school is also in my family’s martial arts school and one day after holding a Communion Service that morning, I walked into our martial arts school and saw said first grader in class. Very loudly, so no parent that was sitting in the waiting room could possibly miss what he was saying he announced that he saw me that morning, at his school, doing Community Service!
Now, in our close knit neighborhood, if you are performing Community Service somewhere it usually means that you have been convicted of a crime, not something like murder, but usually some kind of misdemeanor and instead of jail time, you spend several hours doing some kind of service in the community, working at a food pantry or serving meals; hence the name Community Service . So of course every parent in that waiting area looks at me with a questioning look. Here is their child’s martial arts instructor, teaching their child how to physically defend him or herself and she’s in trouble with the law?
And prideful me turned beet red, laughed nervously and replied, “Oh, you mean Communion Service, AT CHURCH!” My red face did nothing to help my situation.
My husband and youngest daughter, who were teaching the class at the time tried hard not to laugh. I quickly escaped into the office.
But, God doesn’t let you off so easily sometimes and the next week I saw this same first grader in class, and he repeated his accusation, only this time right in front of his own parents and of course several other parents. I tried to laughingly explain he meant Communion Service, but I have a feeling they were more than just a little confused since most people haven’t attended a Communion Service if they only go to Church on Sundays and so aren’t familiar with this type of thing.
So right there, wham! I had an instantly blow to my pride, which is forever trying to ferret its way into my heart and make me not very civil. In this lesson I became aware that what God was trying to tell me was I should quit worrying about what other people think of me and just keep doing His work. My lesson in civility was in my own pride always getting in my way. Instead of doing good, I’m forever worrying about what people think – do I say the right words, do I do the right actions? Why am I so narcissistic? Ack!!!
Darn old pride! It’s forever tripping up my civility – pointing out other people’s faults: their bad driving, their inconsiderate actions, how they say the wrong things at the wrong times. Could being more civil mean accepting my own faults as well as other people’s faults? It seems I miss THAT point constantly. God is civil with us; I mean we’re not struck by lightening every time we say something awful or unkind, He gives us beautiful sunny days, gorgeous flowers. He is ALWAYS civil. Never does the wind blow whispering all of our faults. Do the trees accuse us of wrong doings? God’s world is pretty much a civil place. Why can’t I be the same?
Ugg! So here I go again off during the week working on NOT thinking of myself first…kindly or otherwise and just trying to concentrate on helping people for the sake of helping and being polite because it’s just the right thing to do, not so people don’t talk bad about you!