As the Family Goes

JP II Quote

"As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live." John Paul II

Monday, May 27, 2013

Big Day for a Special Boy

On Sunday my son Timothy made his First Communion. It is a step he has been looking forward to ever since his older brother made his First Communion last year.  You see Timothy, despite being my second of six children, suffers from middle child syndrome.  And he spends much of his life living in the shadow of his older brother, who makes all the milestones for the first time.  But this year was all about him, and it was special - and if there's anything Timothy loves, it's to be made a special deal over.

When I realized that the First Communion was the same weekend as the bachelor and bachelorette parties for two of our closest friends, I didn't know what to do.  Jeff and I are both in the wedding party, and Jeff was hosting the bachelor party (which was an overnighter), and the First Communion was for 9:00 am the next morning.  I texted Jeff to let him know only a couple of weeks before the First Communion but didn't hear back right away. When I got home that evening I discovered he had already talked to Timothy about it, who was crushed.  We tried to find another way, but he wouldn't have it. He didn't want to do it at another church, and he certainly didn't want to do it on his own without a catechism class (and the community-wide celebration that accompanies it).  He was heartbroken, he couldn't even talk about it without crying.  There was nothing we could do - we had to make it happen.

And little Timothy was thrilled!  He spent the weeks before his First Communion taking part in classes, learning a song that the kids all sang together, shopping for a suit with his Dad, and baking cupcakes with me for the big day.  And it was all worth it.  The look on his little face says it all.

God is good, and always makes up for what we lack.  Where we felt we had no time, God was there, providing for us - giving us the energy to celebrate our friends who are preparing to make the incredible journey into marriage late into the evening the night before, and still have the energy to rise bright and early the next morning with Timothy.  My mother and nephew stayed overnight to help with the kids the next morning, and despite having seven kids (and having been up until 2 am) things went off without a hitch.  We, who are late for Mass on a good day, managed to arrive on time and with our good tempers intact.  I could really feel God's grace carrying me, preparing the way so that I could be fully invested in my boy.

He was giddy with excitement when he received the Eucharist for the first time.  I kept telling him he should close his eyes and pray, but he couldn't. As I knelt in prayer I could feel him flipping my hair, tugging on my coat, and shifting next to me.  And while I would normally correct such behavior, I let it slide.  I knew this was the expression of his joy - all of the excitement leading up to this very moment.  I asked him if he felt any different now that he had received Jesus' body and blood inside of him, and he said, "A little like my chest hurts.  And a little happy."  And that made my chest hurt a little too, in a bursting with pride kind of way.

Receiving his certificate
We have been preparing for this day for a very long time.  We have had long talks about what it means to receive Jesus into your body physically, how at the moment of consecration the bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Christ, and how Jesus - who is King of all the world - does that just so that He can live inside of us, and fill us with His life.  I don't know how much of that he gets right now, if any.  I don't know if he was thinking of that when he received Jesus for the first time or not.  But what I do know is what I saw on his face - that look of pure joy filling his heart and bursting out of him.  He knows it's a big deal, and he knows it means he is growing up.  And I know that is one of the biggest steps on his journey to knowing Jesus for himself.  Jesus making himself physically present to him, living inside of him.  What an incredible thing!

May Jesus present in the Eucharist dwell in my son and make his heart aflame for Himself!

Us and Timothy with his Godparents on his special day

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