I was seven when I first accepted the Eucharist, but twenty-seven before I realized I wasn’t going to hell for my actions on the morning of my first holy communion. Left unsupervised for mere minutes in the parish, curiosity got the better of me, as it often did in my childhood, and I reached my hand into the bowl of wafers that were meant for holy communion. I ate one. The wafer was gone is seconds, but remembered and agonized over for years.
Transubstantiation – a word I had yet to learn or at least pay attention to in my second grade classroom was never the issue. I was always comfortable with the idea that the bread became the body of Christ; a testament to my strong cradle Catholic upbringing I suppose. I simply didn’t fully understand when exactly that wafer was magically or mysteriously, if you prefer, transformed from bread to body.
I would like to believe that as I have gotten older and become more immersed in the church, I have a fuller understanding of the mass and the Eucharist, but admittedly there are still major gaps in my knowledge and understanding. Having spent a fair amount of my adolescence rejecting Catholicism instead of embracing it, has left me a fair bit behind the curve. Reading We Worship: A Guide to the Catholic Mass by Father Oscar Lukefahr helped. Reading more of the Bible has also helped.
As part of New Years Resolutions/Goals/Bucket List, I am planning to read the entire Catholic Bible and Catechism. Feel free to cheer or groan, whichever you feel is most appropriate. I often find myself doing both. I just completed reading Exodus 20, which is full of repetition, as it lists out the commandments of what “you shall not” do for “your God.” Reading this passage, I am often struck by the words “your God.” He is your God. You cannot give him away or commit such a grievance that He will no longer love you or welcome you back into the flock. These are very much the words and actions of a Father who truly loves and cares for his children even as they commit sins against him. He is still my God and loves me greatly even when my actions are not consistent with his wishes.
We have two toddlers and our house is almost continually filled with “you shall nots.” “You shall not hit your brother in the head with the toy car.” “You shall not get up off that bed again until morning.” “You shall not leave this table until your hands are clean.” Yet, even as the rules are broken, ignored, or followed only in the accompaniment of whining and moaning, our love for them never fades. We even tell them, “I don’t like what you’ve done, but I still love you.” How amazing it is to know that God has an even larger and more forgiving, wondrous love for us!
We are truly God’s toddlers. We break the rules. We ignore the rules. We piss and moan about the rules. Sometimes we have complete and total melt downs and temper tantrums. BUT, we are never abandoned. We are never alone. We are always loved.
My prayer for you during this Lenten season is that you feel the love that only God as our Father can truly give us……even when we act like toddlers.
What is the biggest “shall not” in your house this week?
As part of our Lenten commitment, my husband and I agreed to attend a group bible study at the church composed primarily of married couples with an interest in learning more about the Eucharist. The first two meetings were a bust for us, since the first Sunday evening we were under attack by a nasty GI bug that attacked the entire family and the second Sunday were snowed/iced into our home. We finally made the third Sunday and were rewarded with the lively conversation that inspired this post.