"You come to me and unite Yourself intimately to me under the form of nourishment. Your Blood now runs in mine, Your Soul, Incarnate God, compenetrates mine, giving courage and support. What miracles! Who would have ever imagined such!"
—St. Maximilian Kolbe
Of her First Communion, in which St. Therese received Love Himself personally for the first time, she writes, "It was a kiss of love, I felt myself loved, and I replied, ‘I love You and I give myself to You forever." In her little notebook Therese wrote down all the days on which she received Jesus in Holy Communion. Her second meeting with Jesus was equally as intimate. Of this wedding Therese recalled the words of St. Paul, "It is no longer I who life, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal. 2:20).
This past Sunday, we opted to sit right up front for Sunday Mass. Our pastor always jokes about how Catholics always sit in their same spots week after week, claiming certain seats as our own, and oftentimes that's true for my family. We do tend to favor the left side, a few rows from the back. Ah, the comfort of routine! But with one of my sons serving as an altar boy, I thought it might be nice to sit directly in back of him in row two. It really does limit distractions during Mass, and I find that things that shouldn't irk me that do irk me...well, they don't irk me, because I simply don't see them! Does that make sense? (Well, if you had to go back and read that sentence a second time, don't fret. I do it all of the time in my advancing age)!
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by one little distraction, I have to say. It was a good distraction, actually, because it was so sweet and endearing. A little girl in a purple dress came down the aisle with her father after almost everyone had received Holy Communion and gone back to their seats. I recognized her as having had come down the aisle some moments earlier, so I was puzzled why she was returning. She had such a sad look on her tiny face that I wondered also what was wrong. The Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister leaned down and had a few words with her and her father, and then offered her the Host, Which she reverently received. He then patted her on the head and she turned around to walk back up the aisle, her tear-stained face showing a sign of relief. In that instant, I knew exactly what had happened. She wasn't offered the Host the first time around. Being very petite for her age, it was probably assumed that she had not made her First Holy Communion yet, and she was too shy (and possibly surprised) to say anything at first. I realized that when they got back to the pew, she had probably started to cry, the sheer sadness of missing out on the Eucharist affecting her immensely.
My heart was touched, and I gave her a warm smile in the hopes of cheering her up, and also so she wouldn't feel bad or embarrassed about going back.
It made me think about how we can sometimes take the Eucharist for granted. Thanks be to God I do not, but there were times in my past that I certainly did, I am sorry to say, before I knew how special and beautiful and life-giving it is to receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord. Now I would't miss it for the world! How many people miss Holy Mass because they're too tired on Sunday morning, they don't like crowds, it's raining, they have other things to do...the list goes on and on. This little girl, however, felt the pain of missing out on the Eucharist and God bless her, she went back to receive Jesus! Can you just picture Jesus smiling lovingly at his beloved child as she made her way back down the aisle?
If you've been away from the Eucharist, know how much He longs to be reunited with you in this way. Make a sacramental confession and be truly united with Him once again. Like the little girl, picture Him smiling lovingly at YOU as you make your way back down the aisle.
"I love so much a soul's desire to receive Me, that I hasten to it each time it summons me by its yearnings."
—Words of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque