I wrote a letter for my students as they prepare for First Communion.
When my own children were preparing for the first reception of the Eucharist, I wrote something similar for them. It is my hope that parents and Sunday School teachers will copy this and give it to this year’s First Communion class.
My dear children,
Your first time to receive Jesus in the form of the Holy Eucharist will be happening soon. How wonderful! You will receive the very real presence of Jesus inside your body! But before that happens your family will be fussing. They’ll want you to look just right. “Where are your good shoes? Let me take your picture. Your grandmother wants to see you before we go to Church!”
They fuss because this is such a special day and they love you so much. They want it to be just right.
But don’t let all the commotion take away from what is really important, OK? When you go into Church notice everything as if you were seeing it for the first time. The light coming through the colored glass in the windows is so pretty. The light will be shining on you and your friends in a special way. That’s God’s way of saying, “Good morning and welcome to my house.”
All the girls are dressed in white. That is a symbol of purity. You will go to Confession before First Communion so your soul is very clean. We want to become a “tabernacle”—a dwelling place–for Jesus. He is the King of Kings, the Savior, Awesome One. So the white today represents what we want our souls to look like every time we come to Communion—beautiful, sparkling and clean.
When the bells ring during the middle of Mass, you may feel a tingling in your body. That is Jesus saying, “I am here on this altar. I have come to be with you.” At the moment the bells ring, when the priest holds up the host and everything is quiet, that is the very moment Jesus comes into the bread. Then he comes into the wine too. It is a deep mystery. A wonderful event.
The bread and wine still look and taste the same. But now they are completely different. They have been changed into Jesus—His body, blood, soul and divinity. So pay close attention. You’ll feel that tingling. The whole Church is called to attention in that moment. Hundreds of angels are bowing to Jesus in that moment. The earth is blessed in that moment. It is a miracle!
And then, for the first time in your life, you’ll walk forward to receive Jesus. You and your friends will go to Communion before anyone else. Jesus told us long ago that He loves children and He wants you to come to Him. When you receive Jesus, it is as if you have been touched by the most important person ever. Except that Jesus is more than a man. He is God too. So taking Him into your body is very special. He comes inside you, into the soul you have prepared for Him. He looks around to see: “Ah. This child has a clean soul. And yes, this child has been trying to be kind and loving to others. That pleases Me.”
When you go back to the pew, make sure you kneel down and talk to Him. He is sitting in the room of your soul waiting to hear from you. You can tell Him anything because He’s a really good listener! And sometimes, if you are really quiet and respectful, you can feel His presence. As you close your eyes and tell Him you love Him, you might see a color or a word. Sometimes, you’ll just know something you didn’t know before. Jesus speaks to us in different ways.
It is really important to pay attention. When you look around during Communion before this special day, you might think that lots of adults receive Jesus and hardly tell Him “thank you for coming to me in this way.” It may be true. Some adults forget how holy and special this sacrament is and they ignore Jesus. But when you bow your head and really talk to Jesus, the adults will see and it will change them! Afterwards, some of them will have tears in their eyes. Because you are their inspiration and example. You remind them to honor Jesus.
Your special day is almost here! Say extra prayers after you read this. Jesus will be so happy to help you prepare to receive Him.
God bless you dear ones,
Your Sunday School teacher