First Communion

My second Catholic child is one week shy of a sacrament. The seven-year-old will wear her First Communion dress a week from today and receive the host for the first time. I suppose she’ll also drink the blood of Christ.

First Communion at St. Didacus. 2008.

I typically sit in the back of the church on Sundays when I attend. So by the time I get to the front, nearly all the church has taken communion and I can’t help thinking about all of the folks who have put their mouths on the communion cup. Seems unsanitary. I usually skip the wine.

I’m glad my daughter hasn’t asked me any serious questions about transubstantiation. When I became Catholic I was surprised to hear you’re supposed to actually believe the wafer becomes the body of Christ. I mean the actual body of Jesus Christ. Not just a symbol. Are they serious?

Being the father of a kid who’s going through First Communion has meant I’ve had to attend a couple of classes, in which Father Mike explains some of the meaning of the sacrament. A funny thing happened. At one point, he asked a question of me and the about 25 other parents sitting in one of the St. Didacus classrooms. I can’t remember what point he wanted to illustrate, but he said:

“How many parents here have big families?” No hands went up. “Anyone have five kids?” No hands. “Four kids?” No hands.

A couple of parents finally raised their hands when he asked if anyone had three children. But it was pretty clear the church teaching on birth control wasn’t getting through.

One other thing the Padre mentioned during his lecture was Psalm 139. When I got home I read it and I got the point, which was the completeness of God’s embrace of us. The writer of the Psalm speaks to God:

My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately women in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.

But the beautiful poetry of the Psalms always seems to end with a line like this one, also found in Psalm 139:

Do I not hate those that hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with a perfect hatred!

Typical Psalm. A beautiful adoration of God is ended by saying, “Oh… by the way, God. You know those people who live over there, who don’t believe in you? And who are real jerks? Please make sure they starve or fall off a cliff. Amen.”

Hopefully, the message next Saturday will be more positive. After First Communion comes May Crowning, that cheerfully idolatrous coronation of the Virgin. Hope you can make it.

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One Comment on “First Communion”

  1. Hisaya Says:

    Rob-I simply can’t bveelie that you’re not on Facebook. That’s where ALL the networking is happening for authors and journlists these days. It’s an amazing tool for getting you and your writings noticed.Look me up at Facebook, and read my friends list. You’ll see what I mean.Let me know when you open your Facebook site.Deborah


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