Saturday, August 3, 2013

Why acolytes?

I've been looking forward to this weekend for a while now.  I have been blessed to spend 5 weeks at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church and look forward to 4 more.  I have been so impressed by the individual parishioners, couples, and families I have met.  Everyone I have met really wants Jesus.  They want to draw close to Jesus.  They want to walk with Jesus.  The world doesn't want Jesus, though.  The world wants us to be distracted by the pleasures of the flesh and earthly treasures.

When I was a boy at my home parish in Arden, NC, I became an acolyte as soon as I could.  I was 10 years old.  I saw my older brother and some of my friends serving at the altar, and I wanted in!  It was nice to be part of something bigger.  However, I learned that being an acolyte was more than that.  I discovered that if I stayed physically close to the church, I would learn how to spiritually stay close to the Church.

As creatures of God, we are created with a body and a soul.  The body comes from genetic code and an underlying design which is an instrument of God's design.  The soul is that part of us that is directly infused by God.  Our soul, which is how we think and choose to act, is expressed by our actions and works.  In a certain way, though, our bodies also affect our soul.  By being part of a group of young men who fulfilled some precise service for God (indeed, the best service we can render here on earth is the Mass), I developed habits which helped form me into a Christian man.

To be an acolyte is to allow the Mass to direct one's actions, thoughts, and prayers.  It is to work together in service of the Lord.  It is to stand, sit, and kneel in the holy of holies and be close to the sacred mysteries by assisting the priest.  It is to become a servant.  It is to enjoy a bit of fraternity amongst the other young men who find the same desire to give an hour each Sunday in service to Our Lord, his Church, and the parish.

So, why have I been looking forward to this weekend?  I look forward to the opportunity of sharing with you why an acolyte program is so important in the life of a parish.  I look forward to seeing you and your sons and answering your question, "Why acolytes?"  "Why me?"  I look forward to signing the young men up in the parish to be part of something extraordinary.

I look forward to seeing the young men in the parish band together and serve God in the spirit of Psalm 42: "I will go to the altar of God, the God who gives joy to my youth."

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