Wednesday, May 7, 2014

First Communion, Fourth Time Lucky

Scabbed heads, burned faces, and stomach viruses might not seem like a lucky start to my fourth child Marguerite's First Communion day. Poor Marguerite tripped over the curb at school a few days before her First Communion and went flying up, up, up, and then down onto the pavement. Scabbed knees, scabbed hands, but the worst was a big scab on her forehead right by her hairline. Not the best for close-up shots.

Then there was my husband's burned face. He got scalded in the shower (horrible, I know -- how did that happen?), and the entire left side of his face was covered by a reddish-purplish burn. To disguise it, we had to decide between a Phantom of the Opera style mask, a Middle Eastern veil, or Loreal True Match foundation. We went with the foundation. The whole unfortunate event reminded my husband of the time in high school that he let his brother Tony cut his hair.

Hair buzzer: "Skkkrrt."
Tony: "Uh-oh."

Left with a bald spot in the back of his head, my husband colored it in with a black magic marker so no one would notice. See the parallels? But I digress.

The wonders of modern make-up
Finally, there was the matter of my younger daughter Cecilia's stomach virus. I'll spare you the gory details, but they were -- gory. None of the guests invited to the First Communion party was willing to set foot in the house plagued by such an unpleasant virus.

My mother-in-law mourned the absence of a full-scale shindig like we had for our other children's First Communions. It doesn't matter, I told my mother-in-law, Marguerite will have a party with Jesus. Because when you take away the pretty dress and the pretty hair, the veil, the crown, the gloves, and the festivities, what's behind it all is Jesus. At First Communion, we're not celebrating our children so much as we're celebrating him -- the God of Love who took flesh and blood in order to bring us eternal life. Our eyes and our hearts should be turned to him.

So we might not have been able to bring Marguerite to his altar without blemish or spot (Eph. 5:27). We might not have been able to bring ourselves that way either. But all the minor calamity took our minds off of what we were bringing Jesus and made us focus on what he was giving us -- freely, undeservedly, despite our inner and outer flaws, and despite the masks we wore to cover them. We cannot possibly merit the gift of God sacrificing himself for us on the altar or on Calvary so many centuries ago. We can only receive it with humility and devotion. Realizing the enormity of God's gift in the Eucharist is what made Marguerite's First Communion the luckiest -- the most blessed -- of all.


  1. Yes this is a blessed day. Your insights are most compelling. Love you all and Jesus loves you more.

    1. Thank you so much, Antonio! Please visit again soon.

  2. Beautiful and timely post for me Karee. I work with families of those making this sacrament and I plan to share with them as I think you say it far better that I would have. Many blessings to you and your daughter.

    1. Feel free to share this with your religious ed class, Cyndi. Nothing would thrill me more!

  3. The decades have passed....

    And passed and passed.

    But I still remember my First Communion day. It's always wonderful to make a Big Deal of it. Your effort was worth it!

  4. I didnt make my First Communion untill i was 12,just two months short of my 13th birthday and it was horrible! My parish required the girls to wear the poofy,short sleeve,knee length communion dress and veil with the lace anklets and white shoes.The parish considered the communion dress as an extension of the baptism gown or dress we were baptized in as babies,so we all had to wear a white tee shirt with a cloth diaper and rubberpants under our dresses to symbolize the purity of our baptism.My mom sewed a package of the cloth baby diapers together to make the required diaper and pinned it on me with diaper pins.The rubberpants i wore over the diaper were toddler extra large size and fit me tight.It was warm that sunday morning in may and me and most of the little girls were perspiring as the cloth diaper and rubberpants held in our body heat!After we got home,we got ready for my party,and the diaper was itching me so mom had me take it off,but i still had to wear the rubberpants under my dress for the rest of the day.At bed time i was broken out in a rash from the rubberpants and mom had to use ointment on me for bedtime.

  5. To Anonymous,dec.10 2018- I did my First Communion at 14 and had to wear rubberpants and a tee shirt under my dress per the dress code.Mom found the largest pair of toddler size rubberpants she could and they fit me tight and my tee shirt was tucked into the waist band.After the ceremony,some other teen girls lifted up my dress and checked out the rubberpants!