Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Greatest Gift

As I tucked Peter in to bed tonight I was so proud of my grown up boy who has made his First Communion today. Today I was truly aware of how blessed we are that the good Lord chooses to come to us in the Sacraments. We had done so much to prepare for this day, and then early this week the computer melted down and we had to stop work on his First Communion Notebook, where he was narrating everything he has learned this year. At first, he and I were both upset about this. We were eventually able to recover the document, and we will continue to work on it later in the summer, but I relaxed when I realized that with or without a binder to prove it, he was ready. While all of our teaching is important, it is the Lord who makes us worthy to receive, whether we are a simple child or a complicated grown up. If we ask Him, He will prepare a tabernacle in our heart and come and spend time with us there. He seeks to be with us, and I know that He was so happy to be truly present to Peter in the Eucharist today.

Tonight I told Peter that he, himself, is the fruit of a sacrament. His father and I are united in sacramental marriage, and through our marriage he was born. The love that our family shows for one another is the way that we make Christ present in our domestic church everyday. We are so thankful for Peter, because through him we learned to be open to life.

In the Old Testament, the Chosen People gave God the first fruits of their harvest. Peter is our own first fruit, and when we bring him to receive the sacraments, we give him with great trust and love to the Lord. The life of Christian can be difficult in our secular world, and we ask for the grace to allow our child to do what he discerns the Lord calling him to do in his adult life. Until then, we are thankful that the Lord gives us the task of teaching him and guiding him. As his first teachers, we bear responsibility for his catechism, and whatever choices he makes in life we will be called to account for his formation.

Surrounded by family and friends who have prayed for him throughout his little life, today he took another step on his journey of faith. As his mother, it is astounding to me that the little boy I held in my arms is now so big that I can't lift him. When I first learned I was having a baby, I thought it was just that, a baby. For some reason I had no sense that Peter would grow from a baby to a child, that what was growing inside of me was truly a person. I can see that in my other babies because I know that they will all grow as big as Peter, and still bigger.

I pray that Peter will continue to grow in body and spirit, and that his faith in the Real Presence will be strong throughout his life. I know that his questions from here on out are only going to be more important, and I ask that the Holy Spirit will be with me when I am tongue tied. Through the sacraments, God will give us the grace we need to sanctify each day, as individuals and as a family.

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Bethany said...

Congratulations to Peter and to you and your family. My oldest, Isaac's is today. And we're very much looking forward to it.

texas mommy said...

Beautiful in every way! God Bless you, Peter!

AWOL Mommy said...

I am glad your techno-troubles allowed you to post this for us - because it is beautiful and poignant. I cried in our Army chapel pews this morning as a handful of diverse children of all ages received their First Communion from the Archbishop of the Military. The combination of things that made me cry is too numerous for this post, but I think I was mostly overjoyed for them and overwhelmed at the prospect of properly forming my 4.5 year old and the siblings close on her heels. Will I be able to settle down enough to focus on what matters? Will I be organized enough to catechize them the way they deserve? Can I supplement my own weak formation enough to make them Catholics with the foundation they will need in this world? Anyhow, your example about the disappointment of the crashed computer is exactly right - the Lord will make their hearts ready, in spite of the world's best effort to get in the way. Thanks for the post on a busy day, and look at the transformation in that family, holy cow. You inspire. Congratulations, Peter!

Juris Mater said...

MaryAlice, our hearts were deeply moved seeing Peter receive his First Communion. It was especially touching, knowing how well he's been prepared for this day, to imagine how deeply his heart was yearning for his First Communion BECAUSE he truly understands the significance of receiving the Living God. What a gift you've given him through that formation. I was also moved by what a gift you've given him in his siblings... what a fan club he had, ecstatically hovering around him, filled with wonder and amazed at what was happening, anticipating their own First Communions, telling us of the special prayers you've been saying as a family for Peter leading up to his First Communion. Our family won't forget the beauty of yesterday!

Bethany, blessings to Isaac on his First Communion today!! Congratulations to your family.

Catherine said...

How beautiful. Thank you for sharing this insight into your lovely family. AWOL Mommy, I know the feeling of inadequacy in face of the task at hand. Thank God it's not only up to us!

B-Mama said...

To Peter, we rejoice with you in partaking of the Body and Blood! What joy--it lights up your face and the faces of your whole family! Blessings to you as you continue your Catholic journey and to your awesome parents as they help guide you!

(On a completely irrelevant note, your parents happen to look younger and spry-er these seven years and six kids later. Now how does that work?? ;) Keep up the great work MA and Mr. MA.)

Right Said Red said...

We were all very excited to be a part of Peter's day. He looked great, you looked great, and your whole family looked great. It was a very special day and just amazing to see how fast these kids grow up. I just can't believe how big they are all getting, but having the eldest of the group make his first communion is a real reminder to me that time is passing...and more quickly than I would like.

Afterward, someone asked Peter if he felt any different now that he had received his first communion. He said, "I'm not as nervous now." His answer was just priceless, the innocence of it reminded me that while he is big and grown up enough to receive Jesus in the blessed sacrament, he is ONLY 7 ;-)

Congratulations to your entire family!

Kat said...

What a wonderful event in the life of your family, MA! Your family is beautiful in all ways, you all seem to be thriving, and I'm so happy for all of you!
God bless!

Kate E. said...

Thanks for sharing about Peter's big day, and Red thanks for your added made me feel like we were really there to hear such a perfectly "Peter" comment.

We were sorry to have missed such an amazing day, but I am thrilled to see how that sweet little baby is growing into such a special kid...and I second B-mama, you guys look amazing!

Give our congratulations to him and to you and Len for helping prepare him all along for this day.