Do You Love Me? Feed My Sheep

By Vicente Juan Masip - [2], Public Domain, Wikipedia Commons
By Vicente Juan Masip, Public Domain, Wikipedia Commons

I finally hit the wall.

I’m told lots of new converts do. We take on too much. We try too hard. But I had really gone too far.

Sometimes I was at church almost every day of the week for classes, meetings, special events, trainings. In fact, some days I went to one event in the morning and had to return that night.

For Christ Renews His Parish, I spent an entire weekend in the Parish Hall. That was nearly 48 hours, including a sleepover on a cot in a little cubicle with five wonderful women.

I loved it all. Every moment touched my soul.

But one day, my Jesus said, “Where are you?”

No, it wasn’t a voice. It was a deep “knowing.” That’s how we talk.

There’s a split second of stillness. And a thought rings like a bell through the inner turmoil.

I know Who it is. And this time, I heard Him more clearly than ever before.

My women friends are all doing this thing called “minimizing.” It means going through their closets, cupboards, attics and garages, looking at every object in them, and asking themselves, “Do I love this?”

If the answer is “Yes,” they can keep it. If the answer is, “Well…maybe,” or “No,” they must discard it.

Jesus was leading me through a similar process. Asking me, “Who do you love?” And helping me to discard all the “busy-ness” that was taking me away from Him.

Yes, fellowship is important and essential. But I was no longer doing most of it for love of Him. I was doing it out of a sense of “duty,” or to keep from hurting someone’s feelings or because I just felt I couldn’t say “No,” for whatever reason.

So He missed me. I could feel that, too, in that moment of stillness.

He showed me an image from my early RCIA days. It was the sacristan I saw every week at 7:30 Mass going in and out of the sacristy, bowing so serenely each time. I didn’t even know what that room was called back then. But I always said to myself that I wanted to do what she did one day.

I wanted to set the Lord’s table, too. To do one of the humblest and yet one of the most important tasks of all. A task I was sure that women had done for Him back when. Even on that most important of nights when He taught us how He wanted to be remembered with bread and wine.

I remembered, also, his instructions to Peter: “Feed my sheep.” And knew it was time for me to do that. Literally.

And yesterday, for the first time, I did.

It wasn’t magical. I didn’t hear angels sing or feel the Holy Spirit hovering. Okay, yes, there was a familiar and lovely calm. He was there.

So as I opened and bowed to the Tabernacle, I smiled and said, “Here I am. I love You.”

And then I got on with the business of counting and filling the ciboria and cups, getting the gifts set out, all the minutia.

I was trained as a Eucharistic Minister early on, but had never gone to the altar. Yesterday, I went up with the others and after receiving the body and blood, went to distribute the ciboria and to distribute the gluten free hosts by the chapel doors.

And then, after Mass, I cleared the table, did the “washing up,” said “Goodbye” to my Jesus…and that was that.

Until two parish women approached to ask me if I would consider taking Him to a local hospital one day a week, to give communion to the sick. It’s in a neighborhood where they’ve had trouble getting others to go. A place where He would go.

So I knew Who was really asking. Again. Loud and clear:

“Do you love Me? Feed my sheep.”

There may be many ways to do that. I’ve found mine.

With a little help from my Friend.

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