I remember my First Communion dress. I was five years younger than my next sibling, so we no longer had a hand-me-down dress. Instead, I borrowed from a neighbor in town whose daughter was a year older than me. I was especially tall for my age so I recall that my mom had to add two layers of 3-inch wide lace to the bottom to make it long enough!
Every year, First Communion brings back memories. The second graders’ faces are always beaming as they line up to process in to Mass. Their hearts are bursting with excitement and nervousness as they prepare to receive Jesus in the Eucharist for the very first time. It’s a beautiful time for all of us adults to renew our own love and devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Our Founder, Bishop Flavin, would often remind us Sisters of a maxim that used to be found in most church sacristies as the priest was vesting for Mass. It says:
“Offer this Mass as if it were your First Mass, your Last Mass, your Only Mass.” In the same way, we should
receive Communion as if it were your First Communion, your Last Communion, your Only Communion.
From the book, Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words, Lucia shares about her First Communion day:
Once the Mass began and the great moment drew near, my heart beat faster and faster, in expectation of the visit of the great God who was about to descend from heaven, to unite Himself to my poor soul. I had the good fortune to be the first one to receive. As the priest was coming down the altar steps, I felt as though my heart would leap from my breast. But he had no sooner placed the Divine Host on my tongue than I felt an unalterable serenity and peace. I felt myself bathed in such a supernatural atmosphere that the presence of our dear Lord became as clearly perceptible to me as if I had seen and heard Him with my bodily senses. I then addressed my prayer to Him: “O Lord, make me a saint. Keep my heart always pure, for you alone.” Then it seemed that in the depths of my heart, our dear Lord distinctly spoke these words to me: “The grace granted to you this day will remain living in your soul, producing fruits of eternal life.”
(Lucia and 1910 children in Portugal dressed for First Communion)
Thank you for celebrating the sacraments with your children! The importance of consistent celebration of the sacraments as proscribed by the Church is essential for the children’s formation. You are showing your children that their relationship with God is a priority (far greater than soccer, dance, etc.). After all, this is THE relationship that matters most in life and will last into eternity! If you know of friends who don’t take their children to Mass every Sunday maybe you could offer to take their children with you when you go to Mass. Perhaps seeing their children’s desire will be an instrument of conversion in their own hearts. After all, the gift of the Real Presence of Jesus is an amazing miracle and privilege. We can exclaim in a more concrete way than Moses who asked the people of Israel, “What great nation is there that has gods so close to it as our God is to us whenever we call upon Him?” Indeed, Jesus waits for and longs for us in the Blessed Sacrament. His delight is to dwell in our hearts whenever we receive Him. Let us all aim to make every Communion as if it were our First Communion, our Last Communion, our Only Communion.
God bless you!
Sister Mary Angela, C.K.