Saturday, May 23, 1973. The weather was perfect. A beautiful spring day and I
was beyond excited about what would be happening. It’s
the day I dreamed of for an entire year. The day I got to wear a long
white dress and my Mother’s wedding veil.
The day I got to be a little
bride. I had memorized the
Baltimore Catechism taught by the nuns. I had written about how much I
loved Jesus and wanted Him to be in my heart. I had practiced the song “His Banner Over me is Love” since we were to sing it as a class.
I had worn my new white shoes for days at home so I wouldn’t slip on the big day. My Mom had gotten me a beautiful set of white gloves for the day as well. I was a bride preparing to meet her groom.
I don’t think I truly understood how important that day really was for another decade or so. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was excited about sticking out my tongue at the Pastor and not getting in trouble for it. However, the fact that I was receiving my Lord and Savior in the form of the Eucharist was exciting and wonderful and all that means would be slowly revealed to me for years to come.
I just felt so special. I felt chosen that day.
As we lined up to process into the church, my hands began to shake. So many people watching, so many opportunities to mess up. I imagined myself tripping on the hem of my long dress. I imagined my mother’s wedding veil slipping off as I bowed at the altar. I imagined dropping my beautiful pearl rosary my Godmother sent me and having to stop and pick it up, thereby creating a traffic jam of epic proportions.
Yes. I have always had a very active imagination.
Needless to say none of those things happened, but my little brother did manage to spit up on my Mom’s new dress. Sorry Mom.
The moment I received Jesus for the first time, there seemed to be nothing but silence. I remember that my heart was beating so hard I could feel it thumping in my chest and my hands shook. I knew this was it. I was going to receive Jesus for the first time, but more amazingly, he was going to receive me. That’s.just.crazy.
Jesus, the Son of God, was right there in front of me and we were about to be be really good friends. I stuck out my tongue as far as I could and I remembered to bless myself so Sr. Mercita would not be upset with me. I walked back to my pew beaming with joy. I was just so very happy.
When I started writing these reflections, I thought a lot about that day and did a little self-examination. Do I still receive Our Lord the way I did that day? He is still present to me in the same way today as He was then. The Eucharist is the source and summit of my faith, does my heart still pound? Do my hands still shake? Am I in awe of being in the presence of my Lord and Savior?
I know I should be. I know some days I feel more there than others but it’s not about feelings is it? It’s about faith.
In our parish we have a statue of Our Lady of Sorrows that sits at the foot of the altar, under the crucifix. She looks up upon her precious son hanging on that cross knowing that it could not be avoided for the salvation of mankind. The look of love carved upon her face will never leave me. It’s not the joy and breathless anticipation of a seven year old. It’s the love of a grieving mother, one I see in the mirror everyday.
Every time I approach that altar, I look upon that statue of Our Lady and realize that she is the perfect example of faith. She had to set aside her feelings to walk in faith, to do as God had asked.
Our Lord asked nothing less of that seven year old little girl that he asks of this 48 year old woman that he asked of Our Lady. He asks that we believe, that we have faith in Him as the One True God and in the Eucharist as the One True Presence.
Pray with me won’t you:
Dear Mother Mary,
Thank you for your example of steadfast faith. Thank you for always believing in your boy and following the path the Father laid before you without fail. I need your help this day. Help renew my awe when receiving your Son in Holy Eucharist. Help me to never waiver in faith, to always strive to enter into the beauty of the Eucharist receiving grace upon grace. May my heart pound and my hand shake in anticipation of the One True Presence.
We ask this in the name of Jesus your Son,