For the Twenty-Sixth Time

Oratory Blauwe zusters Brunssum Comunie

Every Saturday, after the oratory we bring the children who would like to attend the Holy Mass to the parish church. We know that the Eucharist is “the source and summit of all Christian life “[1]. For some children it is difficult to remain quiet for forty-five minutes for the great mystery of the Holy Mass while others understand very well Christ’s total gift of self for love of us.

We try to prepare the children in the best way possible so that they know Who it is they will receive. At the moment of the consecration we tell the children that Jesus is really present on the altar. Some children are not able to understand yet, but others look with amazed eyes as the priest raises the Host. Jesus is there now!

The children know how they are to receive Holy Communion and we taught them a short prayer to prepare themselves for this special moment: “Mary, help me, so that I may be worthy to receive Jesus.”

Oratory in Brunssum SSVMLast week a boy came who has not come to the oratory for a long time. He made his First Holy Communion last year and came regularly with us to the Holy Mass on Saturday evenings.  He is one of the children who understand the mystery of the Eucharist, one with a pure heart open to receive Christ. This Saturday he came with us as he used to, to the Holy Mass.  When the moment to receive Communion arrived I asked him if he knew the prayer before receiving Communion and then I told him:  “soon you will be able to receive Jesus”. His face gleamed and he said “Yeah, for the twenty-sixth time.”

He remembered exactly how many times he had received Jesus. Is it possible to remain indifferent when faced with so much love for God, that he remembered every meeting with Jesus? For the twenty-sixth time! It makes me think of Pope Francis who thanked God when celebrating the 70th anniversary of His First Communion. [2] He said to a group of children preparing for their First Communion: “Never forget your first encounter with Jesus. I remember mine as if it were yesterday…Jesus comes to us, He becomes one of us, He becomes our nourishment, he gives us strength…Never forget this day, and go every year, on this day to confession and receive Communion. Is it a deal?” [3]

Maybe we have lost count but from today we can begin to count again. With Christ we can always begin again!

Sr. Maria Foederis Arca

Our Oratory

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[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324.

[2] Pope Francis General Audience, 8 October 2014.

[3] Pope Francis, speech with children from St. Joseph’s parish in Aurelio, Rome, 14 December 2014. From: Translated

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