My nine year old, Michael, this past week had his altar boy training. At first he was reluctant to go, but then when his older brother reminded him that he needed to get the training in before my sister's wedding this August, he decided to go.
Now Michael is very shy and very small for his age. This was a big thing for him to consider.
During the training, I sat in the back of the church observing what was going on and praying that the Lord would give Michael the courage he needed to do this. I knew he wanted to do it, but that he was intimidated by the size and confidence of the other boys.
He hung in there and listened attentively. When called upon, he was able to answer the questions and perform the tasks Father asked of him.
At the end, the boys were told to go back in the sacristy and find a cassock and dress as though they were going to serve Mass. I waited anxiously for Michael to reappear. He was the last boy to come out of the sacristy door and at the sight of him, immediately my eyes welled up with tears. He suddenly had become a big boy! He glowed with pride in his cassock and gave me the biggest smile, as he saw me watching for him. I will never forget that smile!
During the drive home, he explained to me everything he had learned and was very excited at the prospect of being able to serve Mass with his brother, Jack. Then after about ten minutes of silence in the car, he said, "Mom, for some reason I feel a lot older now!"
I beamed with pride and thought, "Michael, you are a lot older now!"