More about the Sacrament:
I think I will never forget my first communion! We were still living in New York at the time and I was seven years old. My parents and the religious education teacher had explained to us about Jesus in the Eucharist and how the bread and wine that are offered at the Mass, by the grace of God and the working of the Holy Spirit are transformed into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ.
I did not understand it as I do today, but I believed it because I trusted. The day before our first communion, the teacher gathered the class together and said we were going to have a practice right there in the classroom. She proceeded to give each of us an unconsecrated host making sure to tell us that this was not yet Jesus, but just the hosts that could become Him if a priest were to use them at Mass. Another boy and I did not behave very well. He said: “this tastes like paper” and I said “yeah!” and we took them out of our mouth and would not eat them even though the teacher insisted. (I told you I was a handful when I was a boy!)
The next day at Mass, I think the teacher was worried that I might do the same when I received communion,
but believe it or not, my little seven year old head knew the difference. My young faith told me that the Host I would receive at Mass was really Jesus. I believed it with all my heart and can still see myself receiving Him on my tongue for the first time and walking back to my pew as happy as could be as I consumed the Sacred Host for the first time. You may think I am making this up, but the truth is, I remember clearly thinking to myself as I returned to my pew, that it did not taste at all like paper anymore!
Do you remember the day of your first communion? I am sure that most of you do. There is something special about that day, that moment. Something sublime! Something that words cannot express. Most of us were young, innocent and trusting and we believed “just because”, and we received with the heart of a child.
Maybe as we grew up we started to doubt or question or wonder, and this is not bad. We want to know and understand in a deeper and fuller way the mystery of God’s love for us and the gift that Christ has given us of Himself in the Eucharist. If we are sincere and seek the answers, we can learn the depth of this mystery and grow to love Him more and more everyday!
There are many books and theological writings throughout history to help us with this. There is the Catechism of the Catholic Church and many documents of the Magisterium. There are writings of apologetics and debates with those that do not believe, which can all help us in our understanding. All of these sources are worth looking at in order to answer our questions and grow in our faith. Nevertheless, after many years of study in theology, when it comes down to it, I still believe for one reason: because I trusted!
As a child I had trusted in my parents and my religious education teacher. As a man, professing my faith in Jesus as the risen Lord who is God, the way the truth and the life and cannot deceive me, I trust in Him! I believe in the Eucharist because Jesus said “This is my body and this is my blood”. I believe in the Eucharist because I believe in Him!
Sincerely in Christ, Fr. Thomas Bennett