I have been spending a little extra time with the first communicants in the past couple of weeks. They can tell that they are on the cusp of something wonderful. A joy is coming over them that is different – more otherworldly than any joy they have ever known before.
I share with you a picture I came across of the First Communion dress of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. I can imagine how adorable little Thérèse was in that lacy white dress with the pink sash and matching purse – probably a little fidgety and giggly too.
Thérèse, also known as “The Little Flower,” celebrated her First Communion in her home village in France on May 8, 1884. She wrote about the day in her autobiography, Story of a Soul. She told about the classes she had to attend to prepare for the big day. She wrote about the party that her family had in their home afterward. She mentioned how delighted she was with the watch that her father gave her as a gift.
It all sounds strikingly similar to what will be happening in our own humble little parish and homes this day. I pray that the rest of the story will be the same too. Thanks to the gift that she received at her First Communion, Thérèse grew to become one of the most beloved saints in our tradition – inspiring countless people to see how beautiful the love of God is and what a difference it makes.
So we keep before us the promise. The more that the children, and we too, can grow to give ourselves in love to Jesus in the Eucharist, the more our Lord will beautify us and transform us in holiness too.
Thank you, parents and children. Your joy spills over to all of us. These little ones are indeed “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). Let us all see and wonder at what God can do with lives given in love to Him.
Especially on days like this, it’s great to be your humble parish priest.