Her lace and ribbon white dress is hanging in the closet next to her veil. It is waiting.
The Eucharist rests in the tabernacle behind the altar of our beautiful church, St. Rahael the Archangel. It is waiting.
I’ve never been a person who does well when things don’t go as planned. I’ve gotten better as I’ve grown older, but I still like to know what to expect. And I like things I can count on. Our family has been spared some of the more devastating effects of the pandemic thus far, but today was one of the harder ones for the family, and for Felicity in particular.
Today was supposed to be Felicity’s First Holy Communion. She is waiting.
What We Miss
I was 30 years old before I received my First Holy Communion. But for almost all of that time, I didn’t know what I was missing. I viewed communion as a symbol, something to help us remember a long ago event that was important to the foundation of the Christian faith.
Felicity understands differently, at a much earlier age than I did. And so she felt the delay of receiving her First Communion in a significant way.
For anyone who does not share our Catholic faith and might be wondering why this such a big deal, here’s a little bit of background on what we believe.
The Eucharist, or Holy Communion is the source and summit of our Catholic Faith. It is the centerpiece, the main event of every Mass. The readings, the songs, the prayers, they all lead up and point toward the Eucharist, where we believe Jesus is truly and fully present.
We take John 6 literally, and we believe Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper. And that he conferred authority to his disciples to do the same. And that they conferred their authority to their disciples. And so on and so on until we reach the men serving as Priests today.
We believe Holy Communion is a miracle. And that Christ is truly present in it- body, blood, soul and divinity. It is a Sacrament. It confers immense grace.
So while we are away from Mass, we don’t eat crackers and juice at home. Because we don’t believe Communion is a symbol of an event that happened a long time ago. We believe that when we participate in Mass, we slip outside of time and, in a mysterious way, are joining in with the very first Communion Jesus shared with his disciples, and in Jesus’s one time sacrifice on the cross.
For Those Who Wait
There are so many who have had to wait for things during this time, and we are praying for all those who are feeling the ache of waiting for something dear to their hearts. We pray for those who long for the Sacraments, and those who don’t have access to them as often as we usually do here where we live.
In lieu of First Communion, Felicity and I went to have an ice cream cone together, and just talked for a bit about the day. Then we drove to church and looked at the flowers, and said hello to Jesus from outside. We know He is with us in our hearts, but there is something so very, very precious to a Catholic who not only can receive Jesus spiritually, but also physically and tangibly through the Eucharist as well.
The uncertainty of the timing of when it will be Felicity’s turn weighs on me as her mother as I feel her disappointment today. But Jesus waited 30 years for me to find my way home, and much longer for many others. I’m certain we can bear the burden of waiting for a much shorter amount of time to receive him in this special way.
Sending prayers for all those who are delayed in receiving any of the precious Sacraments, and for all those who are impacted by the virus, in big ways and small.