Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dearest Katie, on your First Communion

DSC_5693.JPGMy Princess,

Today you made your First Holy Communion.  Through a slip of bad timing and weak resolve, I somehow volunteered myself to teach your First Communion preparation classes over the past 6 Saturday mornings. While I've missed my morning off, I know you have been learning a lot, practicing your genuflecting and blessings, and anxiously awaiting this day.

In class, we talked about the Eucharist as a series of meanings.  Firstly, we talked about belonging.  We belong to our families; we belong to our clubs or teams or choirs or bands; and we belong to our Church.  Belonging is a tricky thing, because it's as much about our choice to be a part of that group as it is a statement about what we owe to that group.  Belonging is a commitment.

You belong to your brothers; they belong to you.


We belong to our family.  The wacky household of Awful Waffle eaters and the wider net of cousins, aunts, uncles, grandmas, and grandpas.
And when we belong, we celebrate together.  We join forces and face life--for better or worse--together.  We talked in our classes about celebrating as a family, as a team, and as a church.  How we need those people around us to connect us to our greater purposes.


And we talked about how the Eucharist is about listening.  How God calls us to listen to His words and share our words back through prayer.  We talked about the importance of staying quiet and listening to our hearts when situations are not obvious--and sometimes even when they are.

Listening can be so hard.  We have our ideas of what is happening and what that means and we want to just do.  But doing without truly listening is a good way to make a bad situation worse.  "Measure twice, cut once", as they say in carpentry.

Listening is learning.  Listening is preparing.   We listen in order to learn about our history--be that in family stories, church readings, or school--and we listen to learn about our calling.

"We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak" --Epictetus

With her banner, the deacon, and Father.
And we talked about how the Eucharist is about caring--both in terms of the prayers we say in church for the sick or sad or hurting as well as in acts of love and kindness we do for others.  And in receiving God's body and blood we are becoming God's hands and feet--called to serve those that need our hands, muscles, voices, and kindness.  And, baby girl, there's no end in sight for the number of ways we can do God's caring work.

And we discussed that the Eucharist is about making Peace.  Again, both in church when we make peace with God, with our neighbors, and with ourselves as well as in the real world.  There's a lot to be done here, too.  So much peace to be made.

DSC_5749.JPGIn the last few weeks we discussed the Eucharist as a way of giving thanks for all of God's creation and particularly for new life.  For the many other humans we love as well as the richness of life around us that we love, too.  Caring for the Earth, appreciating the beauty of the stars and the wonders of nature.  We celebrate these things together.  Because we belong together.  And when you belong together--not just to your family or your church but to the community and the world and nature, too--you care.  You make peace.  You give thanks.  Because that's what it is to belong.

And so we share a meal as a family, a church, and a community.   We share a meal, and remind ourselves that we care and make peace and celebrate all parts of this life.  And then we take those hands and voices and hearts of God and try to make the world a brighter, stronger, happier place.

Welcome to the table, Katie.  I'm so proud of you.

DSC_5760.JPGWe had a small party for you after mass with the local family. You modeled with your doll, Gianna, who you had taken great pride in making look just like you.  I have no idea where you get that urge.  Ahem.

DSC_5769.JPGWe had a lamb-shaped cake, which is tradition in my family.  Everyone else thinks I'm crazy, but thanks for humoring me.  (They may think I'm crazy, but they all ate it.)

Perhaps one of the sweetest moments of the weekend was between you and Jorge.  The two of you can't seem to decide if you're bound at the hip and best friends for life, or merely tolerating the other's existence.  This weekend, thankfully, you mostly chose friendship.

Jorge made you a gift with a lot of love and thought.  He stamped out designs from blue paper--your favorite color--and glued them to a piece of paper.  He added some colorful crystals and a strand of pearls across the top.  (Pearls, of course, are your birthstone and gem-of-choice.)  Then we wrote in his somewhat wobbly Kindergarten handwriting:

"First Communion     Love Jorge   To Katie"

A post it note in a tiny envelope said

"Katie  I am happy that you are having First communion.  love Jorge."


DSC_5783.JPGYou opened it and gushed in sincere awe.  You held it up in celebration.  You called Jorge over to have a picture next to you (Jorge with his cherry-drink red lips here!) and you set it carefully aside until it can be framed and added to your wall.

Reading your new Bible
You belong to us.  We belong to you.  I'm so proud of you for making that leap to belong to the church in a new and more significant way.  I love you, Miss May.

Love, Mom

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful letter. Thank you for sharing Katie's special day. Congratulations, Katie May!