Heaven on Earth

The story of St. Thérèse receiving her first Communion is very beautiful. She was 11 and had spent her entire life  looking forward to the moment of receiving Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. After receiving, she cried tears of joy and felt a peace that she had never experienced before. She wrote:

“Ah! how sweet was that first kiss of Jesus! It was a kiss of love; I felt that I was loved, and I said, ‘I love You and I give myself to You forever!'”…Her joy was too great, too deep for her to contain, and tears of consolation soon flowed, to the great consternation of her companions. They asked one another, ‘Why was she crying? Was there something bothering her?’…They did not understand that all the joy of Heaven having entered my heart, this exiled heart was unable to bear it without shedding tears.”

I have always loved the way she described the Eucharist like it is a kiss from Jesus. And I love the thought of  “all of the joy of Heaven having entered her heart.” Every time I read a description like that, I am in awe that I am able to receive that gift too- every Sunday- or more if I make it to daily Mass. Of course, it is also easy for me to ready this and get disheartened. Right now, the reality of my experience at Mass is nothing like the sweet prayers that Thérèse prayed. My prayers are more like this, “Jesus, I love You. And oh Hi! Yes, I am still here… Please please please grant me patience every time I have to take my children to the back of the church when they cry, have to go to the bathroom, have to blow their nose, or when they ask for the hundredth time if Church is over yet. Amen.”  It can often seem like sainthood is a distant goal, too far away to grasp.

Dan and I recently had the gift of witnessing a beautiful young woman become Catholic and as I watched her, all I could think about was the above story of St. Thérèse.  Here is part of an article that he wrote about this amazing event:

“Just two weeks ago, I had the tremendous blessing to see one of my old students come into the Church. During the interview process when she was asked why, her first response was- ” I just want so badly to receive Jesus!” Several times when the topic of the Eucharist came up she was even teary-eyed. Honestly, at that point, I was even tearing up. Who wouldn’t? Who wouldn’t be moved to see this young person so happy by the thought of something that I take for granted every day. She had realized the deep hunger she had could not be filled by anything but Jesus Himself!

When she finally received Jesus in the Eucharist she went back to her pew and knelt down with tears of joy streaming down her face. I watched a living saint experience an intimate personal communion with Jesus. I was in awe and inspired by her great faith.”

I was in awe, too. I know that I am often distracted during Mass, caring for and trying to keep my children under control. And if I can have a half a second to pray and contemplate before Communion, I am grateful. But reading about Thérèse and watching Mia were reminders to me that we all have a call to be holy and that if we make it to Mass, Jesus must be so happy that we are there. And I would think that He just wants us to say to Him, “I love You, and I give myself to You forever!”

 

Congrats Mia!! We love you!


3 Comments

  1. So beautiful, Lauren and a wonderful reminder. Thank you!

  2. Jessica Maddox

    beautiful!

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