Last night I attended a wake service for a woman who lived to be 100. She served as a extraordinary minister until she was 95. I know another woman who served until 2 months before her death at 92 and another who served up to 2 weeks before her death at 91. They served so long because they were desperately needed and just maybe they lived so long because they still had a purpose. I don’t know about your parish but every parish I’ve been in has been desperate for extraordinary ministers, ushers and CCD teachers. Too often people served at more than one mass a weekend because the head ministers are desperate.
In the past couple of months I’ve heard at least four people say that they weren’t worthy to be extraordinary ministers. It is true. They aren’t worthy but who is worthy.
Probably no human except maybe Mary was ever worthy. We have all sinned and most likely will sin again. Even priests sin. No one is truly worthy.
It is good that you recognize your unworthiness. I’d be afraid if you thought you were worthy. However unworthiness shouldn’t keep you from becoming an extraordinary minister or a lector, deacon, priest or religious. If we only had worthy people serving there would be no Church to serve.
Peter wasn’t worthy. He told the Lord “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” This was long before he denied Jesus three times. Peter was known to be hot tempered and often to speak without thinking. Yet he is the rock on which the Church was founded. He is the one who the Lord picked to lead His Church. I doubt if any of the other apostles were worthy either. Someone, I think Mark Lowery, once said that the only apostle who would have been approved by the Chamber of Commerce would have been Judas.
God doesn’t look for perfect people but willing and humble people. It is your willingness to let God use you that is important. It is your willingness to serve humbly that counts. Realizing that you aren’t worthy is the first step because then it becomes all about Jesus and not you.
Most of the saints knew they weren’t worthy but served out of love anyway. Probably even Mary felt unworthy yet her response was “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” She answered yes unconditionally. That should be our response too.
The Lord won’t send you an archangel. His requests are often delivered by messengers in the form of priests who ask or sisters or maybe a simple extraordinary minister. Someone once told me that she was waiting for the Holy Spirit to direct her. I asked her who she thinks inspired the pastor to ask her. The Holy Spirit works through simple people. There won’t be a wind or a ball of fire.
We need to be open to the Holy Spirit calling us to new or deeper ministries. We need to think and pray about suggestions like that. If we’ve been asked by someone in a responsible position it is probably the Holy Spirit leading. If you keep being asked by different people take it seriously.
You may not feel worthy to teach CCD, to be an extraordinary minister or to pray over the sick. That means you’ll probably do a better job. If you feel unworthy to teach CCD you’ll work harder to prepare. If you feel unworthy to distribute communion you’ll be more devout.
Your Church needs you. Your God calls you. Say yes!