Several weeks ago I was asked to be one of two new sacristans for our Chapel. What a blessing and an honor! Having been an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion back in New Orleans and here for the Community, I have a special devotion for the Eucharist. Maybe that had something to do with why I was chosen, but I think the Holy Spirit was keen on the fact that I like washing dishes!
Purifying and cleansing the sacred vessels after Mass is a silent, holy time for me. The cool metal of the vessels and the warmth of the water cascading down upon them – these sensations still my mind, slow me down, and evoke wordless prayer. In the stillness and in the action of my hands, I become aware of God’s presence to me. I am the one who is being purified. I am the one who is being cleansed, polished, and made new.
When I approach the altar to receive Communion, I am mindful of the role I played behind the scenes in preparing for the celebration of the Eucharist. At Communion time when I raise the chalice to my lips, my heart is being raised to God. Even if there were only one droplet left to consume, it would be enough for my salvation. Every crumb of a Communion host, every drop of consecrated wine, reminds me that, in my weakness and frequent distraction, I am become an offering in and through Christ – just as I am – that quenches God’s thirst for me.
God is the Ultimate Sacristan. To God I am a fragile, earthen vessel of infinite value. God handles me with prayer.