Saturday, July 14, 2012

riding shotgun with Jesus

I've mentioned Ad Altare Dei before, I think.  It's a religious award that Boy Scouts can work on.  It takes an in-depth look at each sacrament and tries to draw connections between the sacraments, scouts, and real-life, I think.

My little group started working on it in earnest in January, 2011.  We took off the summer (moving, vacations, summer camp) and most of the fall of 2011, and got things rolling again in 2012.  We have been through Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders.  Only Marriage remains.  Saving the most difficult or the best for last??

As part of Anointing of the Sick, the boys are supposed to spend a month (?) helping the sick or elderly in some form or fashion.  We weren't really that enthused about going to a hospital (too many super-icky germs there) and not real comfortable with nursing home service.

So I emailed the husband of a couple I have gotten to be friends with through church.  He and his wife are my parents' ages, and she had surgery back in February.  There were many complications...a stroke during surgery that caused a loss of sight (they are hopeful this will improve some, but it has been months), diabetes that has caused the wound to heal painfully slowly, chronic diarrhea that makes it risky to go in public.  I had visited them one afternoon earlier in the summer and quite enjoyed myself, and thought that perhaps the boys could be of assistance to them.

Yes, he said, there were flower beds that needed weeding.  And so we set the time for Friday evening, when it would be cooler.  As luck would have it, it has rained all week, and the flower beds were a little soggy, but I knew my friends were looking forward to company.  I also know that our priest has visited them once in the months since the surgery (he has had a lot going on), but I know I would not want to go months at a time without the Eucharist.  So I asked if I could take Communion to them.  We had to work out some bugs (like I had to get the sacristan to open the church in the evening so I could get the Blessed Sacrament and I had to borrow a pyx from my SIL), but it all worked out!

My teen drove while Jesus and I rode shotgun. (Nothing could be better with a teen driver!)  I held the pyx in my hands, conscious of the incredible privilege.  My boys tried to avoid questionable language.

My friends were so happy to see us and Jesus!  As soon as I could work it in to the conversation, (did I mention they were happy to see us?) we had a brief communion service...a few prayers, a reading from the day's Gospel, a short discussion/homily, the Lord's prayer and Communion.  It was special to be a part of.

After that, we visited.  My boys did not turn their noses up at the talk of adult diapers, scabs, and wounds.  They got a good feel for the frustration and isolation of someone who is house-bound.  They enjoyed talking about the sports they participate in at school, things they are doing in Scouts and heard stories about our hosts' grandchildren. I saw them smiling and laughing.  It was really a wonderful evening.  We enjoyed strawberry cupcakes and a couple of hours later left with some to take home.  It did my heart good to hear my boys say that they had enjoyed the evening, rather than acting like they were being tortured to fulfill this particular requirement.  Before we left - we looked at the flower beds....we'll be back!

We are called to bring Jesus to others, to be Gift for others.  Most often, it is in an abstract way, but this time  it was in a literal, concrete, truly present way.  But in the awesome, perfect way that Jesus works, we all left richer!

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