Just when I think I have run out of ideas for teaching the Catholic faith with the use of everyday things and life experiences, God surprises me with an idea that gets me so excited that I want to share it with everyone. For example, this past spring two of my grandsons received their First Communion, of course, in two different parishes on the same day. I call that God’s sense of humor. Anyway, I wanted to write something personal on their cards, something special. I sat there for a little while asking God for help and as always, a new idea came into my mind. Here’s what I wrote.
You will receive many gifts in your life, but very few of them will last for your entire life. Some may be toys or games and you will grow out of them. Some will be money, and you’ll spend it. But Jesus in the Eucharist is a gift that will be there for you forever.
Still today, when I receive Communion it reminds me of when I was a little girl and my mom would take me to the city. When we were approaching an intersection, I would become afraid. There were so many cars, some beeping their horns and others trying to get around each other. My first reaction when I became frightened was to immediately reach up in the air to grab my mother’s hand. You see, I always knew that she loved me very much, and that she always did her best to keep me safe. It felt so reassuring to see that as I reached my hand up, my mom’s hand was already coming down to grab my little hand. She knew me so well and loved me so much that she sensed my fear before I did.
When you went up to receive Communion today for the very first time, you reached up with one hand on top of the other to receive Jesus because you know that Jesus loves you and is there for you. In Communion, just like me and my mom, Jesus is already coming down to be with you. When you place that consecrated host on your tongue, Jesus enters you in a very special way, throughout your entire body and walks with you all week long.
Love you always, Nana
When teaching young children about the gift of the Eucharist I use a statue of Jesus walking with two children with an arm around each of them. I turn the statue around so they see Jesus and the children as if they are walking away. The statue is placed in the Eucharistic chapel near the tabernacle to remind them of the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated hosts. They are asked to imagine themselves as one of those children when they leave Church after Mass, embraced by Jesus and feeling his great love inside of them, in their soul.
On a personal note, I always find it interesting when people who have read the Scriptures throughout their lives can’t accept the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. They say that “Jesus can’t be in a piece of bread, or in wine.” My response is that Jesus is God. I believe that if God can create an entire world and everything in it that he can be in anything he says he is in.
When we receive his Body and Blood and we say “Amen!” we are saying “I believe!”
PEG HOBLIN serves in the Archdiocese of New York as the Rockland Regional Director of the Youth Faith Formation—Catechetical Office.
PHOTO CREDIT: SEBASTIAN DUDA/SHUTTERSTOCK