“All the good works in the world are not equal to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
because they are the works of men; but the Mass is the work of God.
Martyrdom is nothing in comparison for it is but the sacrifice of man to God;
but the Mass is the sacrifice of God for man.”
– St. John Vianney, Cure d’Ars (Real Presence)
This weekend begins the beautiful celebration of First Communion for many children of our parish. It has been a personal honor for myself to teach eleven precious children this past year to prepare them for their First Sacraments. The joy of receiving their First Reconciliation was so visible especially after the first-time nerves settled and they felt so free afterwards. There is so much excitement in being invited to partake in the Eucharistic Feast. They could not wait to receive the Precious Body and Blood of Christ for their first time.
All the children preparing for First Reconciliation and First Communion this year worked hard to learn more about their faith and to prepare themselves to receive these sacraments. They had the support and faithfulness of their parents and their catechists to guide them; but it was first and foremost Our Lord who has longed to invite them to receive these gifts of love – forgiveness in Reconciliation and relationship in Eucharist.
As a parish community, we join in celebration with all the children preparing and with their families. It is an important step in their faith journey and one that invites them to draw closer to Jesus. Their celebrations should invite us to go deeper in our own love for the Blessed Sacrament too.
Pray that Jesus will renew your passion and love for the Eucharist. I strongly invite you to watch a short powerful and moving film entitled The Veil Removed. May it change you forever to know the incredible gift of the Mass!
Can you remember your own First Communion? Share your memories with someone close to you or bring out the pictures of your family members’ First Communion. Bring back the joy and excitement of the first time receiving the Eucharist.
Seek ways to increase your own love for the Blessed Sacrament through study, prayer, and going to Eucharistic Adoration (available in St. Mary’s of the Woods Chapel on Monday – Thursday from 8:00 am – 9:00 pm).
If it will soon be your child’s turn for their preparation year, make or renew your commitment to attending Mass and to registering for preparation classes through Faith Formation. This year of preparation promises to be filled with great blessings as your child and your family discover the joy of the Eucharist and the gift of the Mass. Remember that the years leading up to and after the celebration of the sacraments are just as important to grow in our love and knowledge of the faith; so sign up now for Faith Formation for your children at the same link just above.
Our love for the Sacraments is so great that we must take time to prepare and understand the gift and the mystery of the Eucharist. We must be able to fully comprehend as we say “Amen” upon reception which means “I believe!” With preparation and, most importantly, intentional living of the faith, we can experience the gift that Jesus gave to the Apostles on Holy Thursday and to us at every celebration of Mass.
MAY JESUS IN THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT, THE LAMB OF LOVE, BE WITH YOU AND BLESS YOU THIS EASTER AND ALWAYS! MAY OUR LADY OF THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT, MOTHER OF THE LAMB, LEAD YOU EVER CLOSER TO HIS EUCHARISTIC HEART! (Real Presence)
If you are so blessed, give your mom a big hug and lift her up in prayer as we celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday. Many of us know our faith so strongly because of the faith of our mothers. They are truly instruments of God’s love and grace in our lives just as Mary was the humble instrument to bring Jesus into the world.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers! May you know how much God loves you!
Real Presence quotes retrieved from http://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/tes/a7.html
Author: Laura Stephens, FF Sacrament Preparation Catechist