My son Patrick will be making his First Holy Communion this Saturday. Amidst all the preparation for the party, the clothes he's wearing, what we'll be eating, etc., it has been easy to forget what all the celebrating is about. Pat will be receiving the Body of Christ for the very first time, that he's seen everyone do at Mass time and again, wondering when it was going to be his turn.
I'm reminded of our older son James' First Communion. He dearly loved his teachers and Sister Margaret, the Director of Religious Education at our parish. He'd made his Communion in a Mass on his own - at the time he was in special needs religious education due to his PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder for the uninitiated), and did not receive with the mainstream class. We worried that he would have some kind of problem, either with the host in his mouth or something that was going on during the Mass. Things like that had happened before.
He seemed to do wonderfully. He sat attentively during the Mass, responded to the prayers, knew when to sit, stand and kneel. He got up dutifully to receive the Body of Christ for the first time without any prompting. However, when he returned to the pew we noticed tears streaming down his cheeks; James was openly crying. Very worried, Lori held him and asked what was wrong. James said, "Don't worry, Mommy. I'm OK, it's a GOOD cry. I'm just so happy!"
I was, and still am in awe of James...maybe even a little envious of him! He GETS it. A thousand-page book on Catholic theology could not convey the meaning of the Eucharist any clearer. My son became (and remains) my CCD teacher that day.
Pat is in the same vein, anxious to join the congregation in the sacred meal he has only been an observer of until now. He yearns to finally come to the Feast of Heaven and Earth at the Table of Plenty. May I and all of us keep that sense of awe that children have when we approach Jesus!
Daily Mass Readings