HOLY COMMUNION: FOR THE YOUNG AND THE OLD
Several weekends from now, on Pentecost Sunday afternoon, over 70 of our children and youth will be receiving the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation. Our parish is the second group of parishes that is returning to the “Original Order” of receiving the Sacraments of Initiation. Now, at a younger age (Grades 2 to 10) the Church bestows upon them Sacraments of spiritual nourishment and energy. Eucharist (Holy Communion) is the sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood. What an honor for those who will be taking Communion for the first time.
Our Catechism of the Catholic Church offers these reflections to us on the Eucharist:
Holy communion is an intimate union with Jesus Christ. What material food produces in our bodily life; Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in one spiritual life. As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens one character which tends to be weakened in daily life. (CCC #1391).
In an ancient prayer the church acclaims the mystery of the eucharist:
“O sacred banquet in which Christ is received as food, the memory of his passion is renewed, the soul is filled with grace and a pledge of life to come is given us.”
If the Eucharist is the memorial of the Passover of the Lord Jesus, if by our communion at the altar we are filled with every heavenly blessing and grace, then the Eucharist is also an anticipation of the heavenly glory (CCC #1402).
All of these thoughts might seem too profound for our children but at what age did you adults receive First Holy Communion and Confirmation? Our Bishop desires that our children and youth be spiritually nourished for their journey in a very confusing world. By offering them “Spiritual assistance,” we hope and pray that God’s graces will give them the strength to meet the challenges that lie before them in their futures. Here is what the church wishes for each of them and us.
Having passed from this world, Christ gives us in the Eucharist the pledge of glory with him. Participation in the Holy Sacrifice identifies us with his heart, sustains our strength along the pilgrimage of this life, makes us long for eternal life and unites us even now to the Church in heaven, the Virgin Mary and all the saints.
As you come up for communion, at whatever Mass you attend, be aware of who you are receiving, what is being offered to you, and what affect it should have within you.