Friday, September 12, 2014

Corpus Christi

Me, no glasses.
On this day, forty nine years ago, I received the Eucharist for the first time.

I still have the dress, but not the veil, which was my mother's communion veil, too.  We sat in the front pew, which meant I could see what was going on.  I was so nearsighted in those days that I had no idea you could actually see each individual leaf on a tree.  But since I'd always seen the world in a blur, I never noticed, and it wasn't until third grade when I was moved to a seat several rows back in the classroom that I realized I couldn't read anything on the flip charts.

My mother, wearing the same veil.
Father John Sullivan heard my first confession the day before, and Father John Coholan, a Maryknoll missioner and English professor, who learned his role only a few minutes before Mass began, was that Sunday's celebrant.  I was the only first communicant, having been accidentally catechized the spring before, and both my parents and the pastor (who had quizzed me over the summer) were convinced I was prepared for what I desired and not inclined to make me wait a full year more.  So on a warm September Sunday, I knelt at the altar rail, and to the words "Corpus Christ," I responded, "Amen."

I can still remember the aching desire to receive, and my relief that my parents and pastor took my request seriously.

Someone asked me this morning why I am marking 49, not 50?  It's a perfect square of a sacred number:  7 x 7? Once a geek, always a geek.

1 comment:

  1. Michelle, I can relate to your relief that you were allowed to receive your First Holy Communion at an early age. I was raised Protestant, attending church by myself, and at the age of eleven I was given permission to be confirmed early. At that time I would be allowed to receive Holy Communion and was so very happy for it was the desire of my heart. We must always take these requests from children seriously. Who would ever have thought that 59 years later I would be waiting again to be confirmed in the Roman Catholic tradition so I could receive the Holy Eucharist there! That was ten years ago. God's plan is mysterious but amazing.