Five of our parishioners will be receiving First Communion next Sunday, which is also Mothers’ Day.
This joyous occasion is a good time to reflect upon the glory and privilege of receiving the very life, human and divine, of Jesus Christ into our very selves. Anyone, Catholic or non-Catholic alike can come into the presence of the Almighty God, for at Mass and in any church where the Eucharist is reserved, Jesus is here with us, as much as He was with His disciples when He walked the earth.
But, when we receive Communion, heaven and earth are joined within us as Christ, the light of the world, dwells within our bodies and souls. In order to fully appreciate and value this great gift, it is important to prepare to receive Holy Communion by an openness to this divine and supernatural life. It is helpful here to focus on five ways through which we can prepare for this great gift: purity of heart, repentance of sins, appreciation of sacred beauty, consecration of the mind, and charity towards others. To begin with, purity of heart leads to greater vision. As the Psalmist says, “Who can climb the mountain of the Lord? Who can dwell in His holy place? The man of clean hands and pure heart.” Psalm 24:3-4. Or as Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.” Matt. 5:8.
And to the degree that we have allowed the burden of sin to cloud this divine vision, we can receive His cleansing power by repentance of sins. This purifying freedom is especially available in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which is a requirement at least once a year, and in case of mortal sin and it is recommended about once a month. It is also important that we lift up our hearts and minds to God through culture and learning. Thus, for example, music, art, vestments, sacred architecture and the like portray the sacred and holy in tangible and beautiful ways.
Even outside of Mass, it is helpful to listen to sacred music, appreciate sacred art and tap into sacred entertainment to continue the effects of this splendor into our lives. And to guide this glory and beauty, we should also continue improving our minds to appreciate more of God’s presence.
For example, it is helpful to read and meditate upon the readings for Mass in order that the wisdom of heaven will dwell in our souls more and more. And then, at the end of Mass we are sent forth to live out the Gospel in the world that all people may likewise sense how it is that Jesus Christ dwells among us in the Eucharist and in His people who receive Him