On All Saints Day, my lovely eight year old daughter received her First Holy Communion. I have been preparing for this day since the day she was born. It sounds like hyperbole, but truly, once I had my baby girl, I was emotional with anticipation for this very day. There is a criticism of Catholics that comments on the inappropriateness of dressing our little girls like brides for this day. However, I cannot think of any other way more appropriate. In my heart, I know she is preparing to meet her bridegroom, Christ– who is Groom to the Church, who sacrifices all for the sake of His Church. The Church is filled with symbolic meaning, so offering a symbolic aspect to our children’s’ first reception of Christ is perfectly feasible. It should be filled with symbolism and greater meaning: purity of white garments, walking down the aisle, the ceremony, the tradition. She was giddy with anticipation. We bought her the right dress and veil; we prepared just the right hairstyle. We invited our family and took photos and had a lovely celebration. She knew this was an important day.
The first time she wore a white gown was her Baptism. Her white lace baptism gown was just a dress rehearsal for the white dress, which was also lace, my little girl would later wear. The chrism and water prepared her to receive Christ, though that would not happen for another eight years. Her baptism purified her of original sin and the Sacrament of Reconciliation further cleansed her to be ready for this important sacrament. Holy Eucharist sets us apart from all other faiths. Others may baptize or even marry, however no one else but the Catholic Church has the actual body and blood of Christ, and THAT is a big deal. So even when, or if, my little girl wears a white dress again and walks down the aisle again, it would never be so important as when she receives Christ.
Tears rolled down my face as I watched my daughter open her mouth to eat and to drink His body and blood. I have been so anxious and excited for her day, I almost forgot about my own privilege of receiving Him. I forgot about just how blessed I am to take Christ every time I go to Mass. I should be just as giddy as my sweet girl was on her First Holy Communion Day every day. It is a blessing that God gives us his Son, and He asked us to “Do this in memory of Me.” We get to experience Him any time we want, so I very much want to get back that excitement and emotion of receiving Christ. I want to spend my time leading up to receiving Communion in sincere preparation, not necessarily the right hairdo or a white dress, because God sees beyond that. He does, however, see my heart. He can see how I have prepared in my inmost being to become one with Him.
I want us all to go back to that very first time and feel the excitement, feel the love that we anticipate experiencing, and feel the beauty that God accomplishes in us. Complacency has no business in Faith.
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Charla is a life-long Catholic, married since 1995. She has three children who attend Catholic school and university. Charla has been teaching high school English literature at the same Catholic high school she attended for over 15 years. She has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Latin American Studies, and Secondary Education, as well as a Masters degree in Education. Charla has served as a lector and Eucharistic minister at her parish and school. She enjoys reading, cooking, running, and all activities involving her children. Her special devotions are to the Blessed Mother, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Alexandria, and the Holy Rosary.