Saturday, April 19, 2008

For Fifty Years...and Counting

I have been wanting to write a blog entry for the past few days, and I couldn't decide what to write about, until now.
As I sat here, saying my daily Rosary, I held my First Communion beads in my hand. It is a smallish chaplet, crystal beads, a medallion of the Miraculous Medal for a centerpiece and hearts surrounding the Corpus on the Crucifix. Attached to the medal is a link with three additional medals on it ~ one of St. Joseph holding the Christ Child, one of the Eucharist and one of the Sacred Heart, a small sterling silver piece with red enamel about the filigree edging. This third medal was an extra gift from my parents on the day I received Him for the first time, along with the usual Brown Scapular, the Rosary and a brand new prayer book.
I have since, of course, for many years now, been consecrated in the Scapular and happily wear it all the time. I have lost track tho' of the prayer book; it most likely was destroyed when our old house was demolished years after I had moved out.
But my Rosary, which I had saved in my drawer, is safe and sound. I kept it put away, all those years when I did not say it faithfully as I should have, but Our Lady is very certain of Her servants...She knows who will come around, so to speak, and even if later in life to become a follower of Her and Her divine Son. She must have known that one day I would grow up to become a member of the Blue Army (WAF) and promise to say it every day. She must have known that one day, even after five years of being away from the Church, I would one day come home and never leave again.
I have told my children that I want to be buried with this Rosary...and I keep it with my 20-decade one in a safe place, where I can get to it any time I feel the urge to say another one. I want them to be familiar with it...so they will take good care of the ones they were given on their own special days.
As my most favored memory of the day was the actual receiving of the Sacred Host, my second favorite moment was when my parents presented me with my "other" gifts.
O yes, we did have a party ~ all of my cousins were there. I had two other cousins who received on the same day as I did. We all celebrated together, but I was never much of a party girl. Too shy, I'm afraid.
However, I do remember this: I remember how I felt that morning as I returned to my pew, the light of the early Spring sun shining down upon us through the stained glass windows, reflecting all the colors of the rainbow on our white dresses and the crisply starched white shirts of the boys. The rustle of the nuns in their black habits as they filed past us kneeling in thanksgiving to their own seats...even with my hands covering my eyes I could never mistake that sound.
But my primary focus was elsewhere I'm afraid ~ I had taken the Blessed Sacrament for the first time in my life!
This was back in May, 1958. Nearly fifty years ago...
I was sitting here, while saying my Rosary, meditating on the Mysteries, and this thought came to me out of the blue.
Fifty years!
Now, I realize that there have been countless souls who have gone on to receive Him for many years beyond their fiftieth anniversary, but so far I am not one of them ~ yet.
But I will be...and sooner than I would have thought possible.
My husband and I have been so blessed with our eight children, all of whom have received their Sacraments many years ago. But that memory is still fresh in my mind.
The other day our daughter was going through some old photos and found this one here of my own special day; here I stand in front of my mother's favorite forsythia bush in our front yard, my veil and dress all in pure white, my hair permed for the event, my shyness obvious to anyone with eyes to see.
But the most important thing about this photo is the fact of the day on which it was taken. I will never forget that morning as long as I live.
And I am sure ~ as sure as I sit here writing this blog ~ that Our Lord will never forget it, either.
This was the day that He first came to His humble servant, and the day when I first learned to make a heartfelt thanksgiving for all that He had done.
It has been said that if the Angels could have a jealous moment at all, they would envy us our ability to receive Him in the Holy Eucharist...as profoundly as they adore Him in this Sacrament, so too would they love above all else to be able to receive Him in this Sacrament. Since they possess no flesh and bone body, they cannot, of course. But if they could, they would!
In the next few weeks, there will be all over the world, countless boys and girls making their own First Holy Communions ~ and how I envy them that first moment with Him! But I would wish for them as I did for each of my own babes many years of happy growth with the comfort and peace that He alone can bring to their souls and the light of His word in each of their hearts.
Yes, this is what I would wish for each of them, so that they too can someday reach their own milestone fiftieth anniversary with Him and continue on to many many more years...until one day finally receiving Him in person ~ in the hallowed halls of Heaven!

2 comments:

Crystal said...

Wow, Jenn! Reading your story made me think about my first Communion, just over too years ago. After receiving our Lord in the Eucharist, I went back to the pew, and kneeled weeping from happiness and thanksgiving. Thank you for reminding me of how wonderful that was! It was not long ago, but sometimes I forget how special it really was...

~~JennD.'J.M.J.'~* said...

Crystal ~
Even tho' it was nearly a half century ago for me...and I thank Him every day for that, believe me ~ it remains in my mind like it was a couple of days ago. The whole thing was so beautiful!