Friday, February 18, 2011

First Holy Communion

A child’s First Communion is the most memorable event in the life of any Christian child.  It is certainly lovely to see them walking down the aisle of the Church; little boys dress in their finest suits and little girls wearing their special white First Communion dresses and veils.  This is another beautiful moment for Parents and Godparents to celebrate together.  This Sacrament is an initiation into one of the Great Mysteries.  Baptism gives new life which is then strengthened by confirmation and nourished by Holy Communion (Eucharist).

While it is the priest’s decision as to whether or not a child understands the Sacrament and is able to form proper intent, it is our job as the parent or godparent to make sure that the Child is well prepared before they receive this Holy Sacrament.  It is us, the parents, and godparents who are ultimately responsible for the Catholic education of our child.  Our faith and the teachings of our Church about Liturgy and sacraments expand our horizons.

"This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."(1 Corinthians 11:24) Christ invites us to come to the table to receive Him in Holy Communion, but first we must prepare ourselves.  Children receiving first Holy Communion must receive first the Sacrament of Confession.  Why the child?  Because the child is now liable for his own actions and before we receive Holy Communion we must reconcile with God.  The Sacrament of Confession is a great source of Grace, and we should encourage our children to continue taking advantage of this amazing Sacrament.

Every act of worship is an invitation to meet our Creator, who created all things, the Sun, the Moon and the Stars, and who is able to speak things into reality; this is what God does at mass through His priests.  And this is why it is so important that children have an understanding that in Holy Communion, we are eating the True Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  The Bread and Wine has truly become the Sacrament.

"Unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you; he who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has eternal life.”(Jn 6:53) Jesus has filled first the host with everything that makes Him who He is.  That means the host is Jesus.  So, when we receive Holy Communion, Jesus fills us with everything that makes Him who He is.  When we walk down the aisle to receive Holy Communion, we go alone; when we return, we are two; Jesus and I. 

When the mass has ended typically a party follows.  It is also a custom that the child who received First Communion also receives gifts such as prayer books, rosaries or bible from their families, relatives and friends.  No doubt that this is a very memorable and beautiful celebration; but it should above all, be holy and with all priorities in place.  What really makes this moment a memorable one, is the joy of receiving Jesus, our Lord and Savior,  in our hearts…He is not just beside us, with us, but now He is within us.  “Abide in me, and I in you.”(John 15:4)  As Christ's disciples, it is now our responsibility to follow God’s Commandments and to share the Good News.

Many Blessings.