"Can I have a little white cookie?" L has asked this question frequently. We have explained that she needs to have a better understanding of what that little white host is - Who it is - before she can have one for the first time. We explained that she needed to better understand her faith before she could have her first holy communion.
Cut to the other day we were driving past a Catholic church and, like we usually do, we crossed ourselves and said, "Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ!"
"Why do we say that, Mommy?" my bright little 3 year old asked.
I explained what it means to praise someone, and why we call Jesus 'Lord' and 'Christ.'
"Now that I know that can I have the Eucharist?" It seemed she thought her formation was complete.
I asked why she wanted the Eucharist. "So I can be like you and Daddy." Not a bad answer but not the best so I dug a little deeper asking how she wants to be like us. If she said she wanted to love Jesus like we do or grow in holiness or be a good Catholic then I would have considered talking to the priest.
Instead she said, "I want to be able to pour my own cereal."
Nope. Not ready for Holy Communion.
I want to instill in my kids a deep love of God. I want them to understand and appreciate the salvation He gained for them, the Sonship He has given them, and the Love He continually pours out to them. I want them to know Scripture and believe that when Jesus says, "This is my body," he means it. I want them to honor and worship that Body. They Body which saved them. I want them to know that "unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man you have no life within you" and I want them to have eternal life.
The Eucharist is a big deal to me. I want It to be a big deal to them, too.
So you can probably imagine how upset I was when I found out that L had her first communion on Sunday.
The story goes like this: Attending Mass with my parents, L got into the communion line with her arms crossed. With my mom right behind her she got a blessing from the person distributing the Sacred Host. She then walked over to the person with the cup. Our parish rarely distributes from the cup so I'm not sure L even knew what was happening. My mom, thinking L would receive a blessing, let her go. The man leaned down to her, my 3 year old daughter with her arms across her chest - the universal signal of "I can't receive - give me a blessing", and he said,
"Do you want a sip?"
Whaaaaat?!!!? This man is either poorly catechized, poorly trained, or both. It's probably both. The lack of reverence for our Eucharistic Lord is shocking and sad. I'm upset that the man disregarded her size and crossed arms - he should have known that she was too young to have communion.
So I called the church where it happened so they retrain the extraordinary ministers or something. I also called my pastor, which I'm really glad I did. He told me not to get really upset. He merciful towards the man who had messed up (a good example for me) and he explained that while L had partaken in the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, and it had chronologically been her first communion it was not her First Holy Communion. Father R. explained that since the intention of the priest and L was not for it to be her First Holy Communion it didn't, in some ways, count. I should have realized that since intentions do count.
I'm still upset though.