Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
Welcoming spring and the Easter season after the forever winter was the perfect conclusion to our family’s sacrament season. For it to come together and culminate in the sacrament of Holy Eucharist for my daughter, Gianna, was the icing on the sacramental cake.
As we prepared over the months for this wonderful day, the anticipation was high. Gianna recognized the importance of being able to receive Jesus and be as close possible to Him after consuming His Body and Blood. The date was set by our parish–and perfectly so–for Divine Mercy Sunday, the Sunday following Easter. Divine Mercy Sunday has always held a special place for me, having grown up learning about devotion to the Divine Mercy, praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and participating in a Divine Mercy celebration at one parish or another through the years. In our own family, the chaplet is often a prayer practice and the words, “Jesus, I Trust In You” are added to many family prayers. As if that feast day wasn’t a big enough one to make her First Communion day perfect, it was also Gianna’s name day! While Sunday and the feast of Divine Mercy takes precedence, the feast of St. Gianna is normally celebrated on April 28. Even though her feast fell to a lower importance, our family always celebrates our children’s patron saints’ feast days, so it was like a church trifecta for Gianna that day.
Over the months, many preparations had been made to instill the importance and magnitude of this growing in the life of the Church sacraments–conversations about the big day, ordering of her own beautiful white dress, and inviting guests who would share our excitement and celebrate with us. My cautious and reserved daughter would periodically ask assorted questions and then go back to whatever she had been doing, while likely pondering the answers I had given her. I knew her heart and soul were ready, even if she didn’t outwardly share much of her enthusiasm. The week prior, she came to me and said, “There’s just one part of my First Communion day that I can’t stop thinking about.” Assuming (like any little girl) she was thinking about how pretty she would look and special she would feel in her white dress, I started preparing my reply that would steer her back to the sacramental importance. Instead, she went on to say, “The part I keep thinking about is when I actually receive Jesus and what that’s going to be like.” My heart swelled and I smiled. She already knew how united with Jesus she would become in that moment of grace.
Gianna’s First Communion day was just as wonderful as we knew it would be as she was surrounded by those who loved her. I will admit that tears filled my eyes when I saw her walk into church with the other First Communicants and confidently read the First Reading. Days like this are more extraordinary and special for a lot of extra reasons and these are the ones that fill my heart just a little more to overflowing.
What a season! Now our family will look forward to continuing to cultivate and nurture these blossoming faith filled souls.