Next Saturday, many of the children in our faith community will make their First Holy Communion at Saint Brigid. They will share with us the fullness of the Lord’s Supper for the first time as their parents and other loved ones watch proudly as these children, with great devotion, take this important step on their journey of faith. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church “…reserves admission to Holy Communion to those who have attained the age of reason”, which is traditionally considered to be the age of seven.
As Catholics we are called to focus on our devotion to the Eucharist. This devotion is certainly shared by Our Holy Father, Pope Francis. Commenting on the Eucharist in a homily, he stated, “The Eucharist is Jesus Himself who gives Himself entirely to us. Nourishing ourselves of Him and abiding in Him through Eucharistic Communion, if we do so with faith, transforms our life, transforms it into a gift to God and to our brothers and sisters. Nourishing ourselves of that “Bread of Life” means entering into harmony with the heart of Christ, assimilating His choices, His thoughts, His behavior. It means entering into a dynamism of love and becoming people of peace, people of forgiveness, of reconciliation, of sharing in solidarity. The very things that Jesus did.”
As we reflect on these words of Pope Francis, and as we celebrate the First Holy Communion of these children, we are reminded that the Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. We are invited to bond with each other by nourishing together on the Bread of Life in the Eucharist, and then by going forth in loving service of our brothers and sisters, especially our brothers and sisters in need.
This recollection called “My First Holy Communion” from “Catholic Online” reflects a great appreciation for the gift of the Eucharist:
The first time I received Jesus was a wonderous day for me!
To be united with Christ our Savior
who died for me on Calvary.
This day reminds me to thank Him for the special gift He gave:
The sacrament of Holy Eucharist through which we are all saved.
It helps me think of the first time Jesus came into my heart; and if I but follow His message.
He and I will never part.
As Jesus said on that holy night so many years ago, if we take and eat this Bread,
Eternal life we will know.
Each time I receive Communion I’ll think of His love for me,
and I’ll thank Him for giving to us the greatest miracle in history.
As we take this recollection to heart, we are reminded that the word “Eucharist” means “giving thanks.” And on the very special day of First Holy Communion, we can once again thank the Lord for the great gift of the Eucharist, for our wonderful children, and for our vibrant faith community of Saint Brigid.