Monday, February 28, 2011

The Gift


"The Presentation of the Gifts during mass is more than just bringing up the bread, wine and collection. Those members of the congregation are not just bringing up our monetary offering. They are symbolically bringing up our spiritual offerings and requests as well. Which makes it a good time to silently let God know our prayers and requests, and give him our thanks. (Instead of sitting there aimlessly tapping your feet to the hymn like I have been guilty of doing...)" ~Michael at Reach Paradise

My family is often asked to bring up the gifts at Mass and we don't like it! It's uncomfortable getting up in front of everybody and walking to the front-feeling all those eyes upon you. Yesterday, my husband, my youngest daughter and I were on the end of the pew, so we decided that it would be just us three to bring up the gifts instead of our whole family of six marching up there. (Number seven was cantoring, and after Mass Fr. Dennis commented on the fact that I was beaming every time my oldest son sang!)

But, youngest son didn't get the message. There he was following Paul and Mary and I to the back of church. He looked as if he hadn't brushed his hair and I noticed that his face was dirty with a blue-tinged mustache from blue kool-aid enjoyed the night before during a family Monopoly game! (Why didn't I notice that before we left the house?) I felt embarrassed.

"And Jesus, looking at him, loved him." Mark 10:21

But the truth is that my youngest son coming along to the altar carrying the jar of wine was the best gift of all! My youngest son presented himself just as he is-a boy in NEED of God's love and mercy and always eager to give himself to the Lord in any condition he finds himself. He didn't hide behind any pretenses or false self. He came as he was with all of the love in his heart and his forever readiness to give himself to God.

How I wish I could be like that! I want to open my heart, really open my heart, to give God my all-even my messy, dirty, unkempt self-because He loves me, the real me, not just the me I am willing to show to the world, but the me that I bury deep inside because I'm ashamed of who I really am. If I could be able to do that, then I would become a real gift to my Maker.

And now I realize that even with a blue-tinged mustache and messy hair, my youngest son inspires my heart to pride and joy just as much as my oldest son does with his gift of song! And the next time that my family is asked to bring the offertory gifts to the altar, I will do so with joy in my heart, knowing that by doing so, I am praising God with my entire self, the good and the bad, all of which He loves with a deep and abiding love.

"You who are alive and well shall praise and glorify God in his mercies. How great the mercy of the Lord, his forgiveness of those who return to him!" Sirach17:24

4 comments:

  1. Once we had all overslept and barely had time to make ourselves half-way presentable for Mass and of course we were asked to bring up the gifts that day! I was a bit embarrassed because we all looked like ragamuffins :) I wasn't as embarrassed that the priest saw me like this because I've often attended Mass between cleaning the church and center so he was pretty used to seeing me slobbed out and probably thought nothing of it but it bothered me that my fellow parishioners saw us like this on Sunday (lol)!
    I laughed at hearing about the blue mustache! I swear my daughter always has a ring around her mouth (she loves grape juice)!
    Great post, Anne!

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  2. I laughed with you while I read this. What a cute story!

    You know, I have turned down a request or two during mass because I was caught "slobbed out" (to steal a phrase from Mary333!) In retrospect, and after reading your post, I realize how silly that was. I will think differently about that from now on.

    Thanks for the perspective.

    God Bless you.

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  3. Lovely Anne! I often think if people could see my soul instead of my outward appearance I'd be so ashamed!!! I beg Our Lady when I go up to Communion, "Clean me up please! Wipe my soul, like you used to wipe His hands and face. I know I'm not presentable enough to receive Him."

    Children are so precious. When I see little boys (or girls!) with messy faces -- now that mine are grown -- I feel a pang of longing for those days and know I shouldn't have worried so much. God bless you Anne!

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