When you were a kid, didn’t you always love reading stories about the search for buried treasure? These very words conjure up images of a great adventure, facing dangers, following an ancient map, persevering against all odds…and then finally winning the great reward—a chest filled with wonders and beauty!
When I started this past year of teaching students in preparation for their First Communion, TREASURE HUNTING was what came to mind. In actuality, that is what happens as our children spend time in preparation for First Communion. They are on a grand journey to discover and understand where the greatest treasure can truly be found. And the process of learning and growing in understanding is no less thrilling than the search for the chest of wonders. Now, during this month of May, my students are ready to experience the Eucharist…they have prepared, they have journeyed and now they are about to discover the greatest jewel/gift/treasure they will ever know! The Eucharist is the priceless gift of Jesus Himself, coming into the very temple of our bodies! Yet there has been an element of hiding in this. Jesus disguises Himself as bread and wine.
Other people, who aren’t believers, can’t see it. They don’t understand. They haven’t followed “the map” of faith. So they will not be at the Feast. They won’t receive this hidden treasure.
Only for those who have prepared themselves, for those who have sought the greatest of treasure—for them, our Lord is waiting. He brings this treasure of Himself into our very souls! To instill this image, I have my students make boxes. And this is a good activity to do now for any who are preparing for First Communion!
Here’s what I suggest:
1) Kids can either make a box or use one that is ready-made. The box represents our souls…the temple, or tabernacle, that will live even if our bodies die.
2) On the outside, kids can use magazine pictures and school mementos or photos to show how the world sees them. “This is who I am on the outside.”
3) Ah, but on the inside!! That is different. On the inside, we make room for Jesus. The inside can be painted white or gold to symbolize purity and to make a special place for the King of Kings.
4) Symbols of saints and God can be added to the interior “walls.” A velvet cushion might be added.
5) This special box can be used to store Holy Cards and First Communion gifts and photos! It symbolizes the great treasure that comes when we bring Jesus into our lives in a special way!
The treasure image lingers. I hope my students will always remember where to find the Real Treasure.
We love you Jesus! Our King, Our Savior, Our hope. Our treasure!
Judith Costello is the mother of two kids. She and her family live on a small farm they call “Sagging Acres” in rural New Mexico. Judith writes for national and regional magazines. She is a catechist, artist and a Secular Carmelite