Facing Our Fears
This morning I lectored my first mass officially. I say officially because I’ve done readings in the past for special occasions or big events, and I lectored a youth mass or two in high school but even then I’m not sure I did it all…but I was asked last week to read today so this morning came and I got all ready and headed to mass. I’m not even going to pretend I wasn’t nervous. Public speaking is basically my greatest fear because what if I mess up? Do something wrong? And trust me, there are a lot of things I could do wrong… so I arrived early enough to read over what I would be saying. For those of you who didn’t attend mass today (which I would imagine is a large number, seeing as it’s Tuesday) the reading was from Acts 14:19-28. And let me tell you, about every other line had three city names I couldn’t pronounce. The city names I sort of sped past figuring the one or two I didn’t know could be difficult for anyone. Then I got tripped up on a few words that looked similar to other words, but were entirely different. You know the type? Yeah, it was a bit brutal for a first time lector, but I somehow made it through. I said the psalm and since daily mass doesn’t always have two readings, and today didn’t, I sat back down. What was going through my mind: where should I put my hands? Do I move the bookmark now, or at the end? Should I put the book on the lower shelf, or does the priest read from it during daily mass? Don’t forget to bow to the alter. Slow down. Speak clearly. When do I go back up? Will someone tell me?
The answer to that last question is “yes,” someone will always nudge you or look at you if you forget. At least that’s what they told me AFTER mass. And of course, Father looks at you too, like “okay, your turn now”.
So, I survived. I probably messed up more than I wanted to, but I’m happy about it. If my first lectoring experience was perfect, how would I ever live up to it? Now I can at least look back and think, “well it wasn’t as bad as that first time”.
And being raised Catholic, I really DID know when to go up and everything. And now that I’ve done it once, I will know better for next time. Everything is a learning experience, and that’s what makes it great.
Most importantly, we’re never too lost that we can’t ask for God’s help. After I first read that intimidating reading to myself, I was nervous and flustered until, finally, God calmed me enough to let me ask Him for help. I sometimes forget to pray for things I really could use in that moment, which is silly really, so having Him there with me and in me made the whole experience so much easier. Anyways, afterwards I got asked to read on Tuesdays from now on so pray for me Tuesday mornings around 8!