Today, April 25, marks the day in 1982 that I made my first communion. I received Jesus in the sacrament of the Eucharist for the very first time. It was a wonderful Sunday afternoon, my attire consisted of a white dress, veil, stockings, and black patent leather shoes. To top it all off, my mom placed around my neck a small gold chain and locket that she had worn on the day of her first communion and each of my three older sisters wore it on their special day as well. Although I probably did not understand it then the way I do now, I knew that day was different than all my previous days of attending mass. I could feel it in my bones!
A few days ago, one of the sisters (Ursuline Sister, not one of my blood sisters) excitedly approached me to tell me about a book she was reading. I don’t remember the title of that book but she said that it described God as being as close to us as our marrow. That marrow is found in the inner part of our bones and is busy making billions of blood cells each day. Those cells keep us strong and help fight off those things that might make us sick. (Keep that thought in mind as you continue reading.)
There is no way I can even begin to calculate how many times over the last 35 years that I have received Jesus in the Eucharist…but I can tell you it has been lots! By receiving Holy Communion, we are taking in Jesus to the depths of our marrow. We are nourished to stay strong in our Lord and to fight against the forces of evil that surround us and want to make us weak or give up. Just like our marrow, that is daily producing blood cells, our daily encounters with Jesus, especially in the Eucharist, are our spiritual lifeline.
In the Catholic faith, we also can spend time with the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Hours and Adoration. I once heard a priest describe a person at prayer in Eucharistic Adoration as getting a “Son” tan…that the time before Jesus in the monstrance changes us in the presence of His glorious light.
Even as a second grader, I knew that small gold locket was an indication that something great was happening on the day of my first communion. Today, I know that it is the small white host, the Eucharist, in the gold monstrance that is greater than anything I can imagine!