Amy received her First Holy Communion in a little chapel in Monterrey Mexico. The plan to celebrate with all of her school friends in St. Louis evaporated as our plan to relocate to Mexico developed. We waited to buy her dress so that she would fit in with the style of all the other girls, but when we arrived we discovered that there wouldn’t be any other girls that day, just Amy and a little boy named Guillermo.
What seemed so disappointing at the time turned out to be one of the most beautiful First Communion celebrations I’ve ever witnessed. Fr. Carlos spoke directly to Amy and Guillermo as he handed them a candle and Bible and said,
“See, the candle is beautiful, but incomplete.” He lit it. “Now it is complete because it is on fire. But the fire will consume it, and change it. This is what happens to our hearts when the fire of Christ is in us. We are changed.”
“This Bible is your armor against the enemy. Read it so that you know how to live like Jesus.”
Finally, he turned them toward the congregation and said, “This is God’s greatest gift to you; His people, the church.”
And to us, the church, “It is your responsibility to help these children grow in faith.”
This May 2020 we won’t see the large groups of children in white dresses and suits processing down the aisle and receiving their First Communion. The Covid 19 pandemic took care of that. It’s disappointing, and I feel for every family affected by this. I pray and hope that our disappointment turns to joy each time we receive the Lord in the Eucharist and remember,
“This is what happens to our hearts when the fire of Christ is in us. We are changed.”