I remember, quite clearly, making my own First Holy Communion. I remember the white eyelet dress I wore (that my sister had worn before me.) I remember the headband covered in baby’s breath. I remember being cautioned by a nun, “DON’T CHEW THE HOST!!!” I even remember the rehearsal when I was determined to master the order in which we’d be doing things.


What I don’t remember is having a very good grasp of what was really happening.


The thing is… second grade or third grade or whenever is really quite young. To ask a child of that age to have any concept of transubstantiation is a rather tall order. Mostly, the kids get that it’s a “big deal” and they hear the words, “this is Jesus’ body and blood”, but, really, what they know is that they get dressed up and their families are excited.


Even as a bright, attended-church-every-Sunday little girl, that’s really how it was for me.


And then there’s this kid.

altar serving


For almost a year, he’s served at the altar. He assisted our pastor in preparing and clearing the eucharist. He bowed low, poured holy water, and rang the bells. Hands perpetually in prayer, his reverence, despite his youth, stood out to everyone in the congregation.


And through it all, through all his efforts and after all his preparation, when it was time for communion to be handed out, rather than receive this precious gift, he was given a simple blessing.


Every week. And, rather than bemoan this fact, he’d always say the same thing: it’s a privilege to serve.


But this past Saturday, I got to watch my boy walk into the church…

A- procession


He read the Responsorial Psalm with clarity.



He sang, from the back corner of the line. (These things happen when you’re tall.)



And, then, my husband and I walked him up to our priest. And this happened…



Father Larry leaned closer, smiled, and said, “A. Finally… the body of Christ.”


And my son, hands in prayer, eyes glued to the consecrated host, again bowed low.





{sniff. dab dab. muffled sob.}


I don’t know for sure that A. totally “gets it.” But I sure know that he gets it more than I did at his age. I know that Father Larry has shaken his head in awe and murmured to me, “He gets it. It’s absolutely amazing how he gets it.”


And I know he was ready.





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3 comments to Ready.

  • Katie

    Such sweet pictures of A’s First Communion, thank you for sharing. I am constantly blown away by his spiritual maturity, what a gift!
    I for sure did not grasp the importance of what was happening during my First Communion. I am 29 and I feel like my eyes are finally being opened :)

  • Celine

    Thank you for sharing this moment with us. The images are precious and moving. I get the feeling that he understands the significance and the deeper meaning of this far better then most of the kids who receive their First Communion in 3rd Grade.

    I know it was completely lost on me and I truly wish it was something I could have waited to experience.

  • Donna

    Congratulations to your son, what a wonderful moment you all shared. I too remember bits and pieces of my own communion in 2nd grade. My last child, our son, will be making his confirmation next Sunday. Time flies by way too fast. 3 communions and now 3 confirmations, I still sniff and dab too.

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