Thursday, May 5, 2011

First Communion

This weekend my niece Erin will receive her first communion, and I'll have the privilege of giving it her.  I am very much looking forward to the occasion, both for her and for me.  It's one of the things I've learned again and again from special occasions in the Church -- even when you think you know them, they have the potential to reveal something new and unexpected.  At the Easter Vigil I heard the story of Genesis read by a child, and it was like a whole new story.  Saturday I'll see communion received by children, and I bet that will make it new, too.  I'll let you know what I see.

About five months ago I got set up on, which is an online video Q&A service.  People write you questions, you offer short answers.  And a couple times now people have made comments about transubstantiation -- do you really believe the elements are turned into the body and blood of Jesus, what does that mean, etc.  And it's funny, after years of theology I certainly can offer a theological take on the eucharist, but that doesn't really get to the heart of the question of why or how anyone would believe this to be the case.

In general I pride myself on embracing these sorts of questions, but when it comes to the Eucharist I must admit I never really wonder or doubt too much.  It's not that I have visions of Jesus at the consecration, God knows.  It's just, somehow the receiving of communion breaks me free of my self-absorption, shakes me loose of whatever worries are distracting me and helps me be more present to the God who waits quietly and loves me.

Who knows what an 8 year old will make of the experience. Probably something far more wonderful and profound.  But at the very least  I hope the experience of receiving communion can always help her be more free and more present.


Michelle said...

I companioned a young woman converting a couple of years ago, and the experience of kneeling next to her after she received for the first time was one of great grace. And yeah, I can marshal the theological arugments, but articulating the experience - not so much.

I wonder what Thomas would have said after that encounter with Jesus in the upper room?

Hope it is a wonderful experience for your niece and family!

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