Regarding the Eucharist, St. John Chrysostom wrote: “When you behold the Lord sacrificed and prostrate, and the priest standing over the sacrifice and praying, and all who are stained with that precious Blood, do you then suppose you are among men, and standing upon earth? Are you not immediately transported to heaven? (On the Priesthood, 3, 4. 4th century)
A few years ago, a permanent deacon and his wife transported themselves to Pittsburgh to attend their nephew’s First Holy Communion. At the Mass, the priest first distributed Holy Communion to the congregation. After everyone had received, he allowed for a period of silence before finally calling forward their nephew— who was the sole first communicant. With the priest standing in front of the altar, the boy approached him in silence. With all eyes now focused upon them, the priest held up the Blessed Sacrament for all to see and asked the boy: “Who is this?” And in a loud voice, he exclaimed: “That’s Jesus!” To paraphrase an old saying, “Out of the mouths of babes—flows wisdom.”
With regard to children and their views toward receiving Jesus, there must be something in the water. A priest friend recently asked second graders from his parish to share their experiences of receiving Holy Communion. Of the many letters he received, one girl wrote, “I was so excited about my First Communion because it was the first time I received Jesus. I felt so happy inside, like I was going to faint. I felt nervous at first but then I felt better. Receiving Jesus is very important to me.” A boy stated simply, “It felt terrific when I received First Communion” while another boy added, “I felt good about it. Jesus came to me. I had a big smile on my face.”
For those seven and eight year olds, their reception of Holy Communion was exciting and left them feeling as though they had been transported to heaven.
Each time we receive Holy Communion, do we feel the same?