When I walked into Mass on Sunday in our mission (the photo I use for Monday Morning Meditation was taken inside our mission by Donnie -- you can see how old it is from the unevenness of everything -- we love that about our mission), it was nigh onto starting time. Fr. Ed was standing in the back, ready for the procession, and hugging all of us late comers as we walked by. I hugged him, then headed over to the hymnal stand. I got the last hymnal. Fortunately, there was no one after me.
Well, there was no one after me until a really late comer and, as it turned out, newcomer arrived a few minutes after Mass had begun. He entered the pew with his wife, then when the reading began, he looked around for the missal/hymnal. He saw the stand at the rear of the church, walked back, and returned empty-handed, of course. Clearly, he was a little nonplussed. I assumed that he depended upon the written word to follow the liturgy.
He was not far from me, just across the aisle and a couple of pews in front, so I could see what was happening with him and his gestures as he explained to his wife that the stand was empty. I felt somehow that I was supposed to help out this newcomer. In fact, it was a very strong feeling, coming from outside me, and it left me feeling uncomfortable, as I read along with the reader the first reading, that I was not immediately responding to it. (I felt equally uncomfortable getting up and walking over to him while the first reader was reading.)
So, when the reader finished and headed back to her seat, I scooted over to the newcomer and handed him the book, which I was by then certain I was not supposed to keep, open to the right page. He looked surprised, then smiled and thanked me. I quickly scurried back to where I had been, happy to know that he would be comfortable.
Actually, I did not need the missal; I could understand the readings as they were read, and I have a good memory for short lines, so I could remember the responsorial psalm. I also know the liturgy so I don't have to look up the various prayers, creed, etc. So, obviously, I did not need the book; he did.
The only need, in fact, that I might have had and should have had was for the hymnal for the various songs that would come up. Strange thing, though. During that Mass, all the songs that we sang were songs that I knew. More than that, even though I did not think I knew all the verses of all the songs, the words just came to me out of the blue. Well, not entirely out of the blue, I am sure.
It was a small thing, really, giving away the book and then knowing all the words to the song. But it is the small things that are often the most amazing. God blows my mind that way upon occasions. This was one of those occasions.