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My First Holy Communion and the unexpected gift


In 1977 I made my First Holy Communion and just like my two sisters before me, my family was packed and ready to go to Mexico to celebrate this beautiful sacrament with our family. Months before I had selected the dress style, rosary, candle and bible for my big day with our Lord. I remembered attending my catechism classes every Saturday loving every lesson in preparation for this big day, when I too would be able to receive our Lord and have him be with me in an even more intimate way. I practiced in the kitchen with potato chips how I would take the Communion Wafer, careful not to chew it but to let it dissolve, as I was taught. Finally the big day was just around the corner and it was time to pack my white gown, the accompanying regalia and two years of First Holy Communion preparation classes with me on a plane to Mexico. There to greet me was my God Mother who was a religious (God rest her soul) and my fathers cousin. I didn’t realize until we spoke that all my responses that I had practiced for a year in English would need to be said in Spanish, uh oh. I was so nervous the night before my First Holy Communion, I may have been a little to focused on my pretty dress and my responses in Spanish that I didn’t pay much mind to the curious buzzing around my face in the dark of the room or the fact that I kept reaching to relieve and itch I kept getting on my eyelid.
Morning was here and with it the hustle of ladies fusing, daddy waiting, coffee brewing, and the strange little matter of me not being able to quite open my left eye. The first clue that something was wrong was the look on my aunt’s face which was slight mix of shock and disbelief, as she ran to get my mother. Turns out that during the night I had been bitten by a mosquito on my left eyelid! My mother rushed in my eye was so swollen she immediately they ran for the home remedies: Vicks, lard, lotions, with just highlighted the problem now my eye was shinny and swollen. In that moment it occurred to me that this unexpected gift from one of our Lords creatures was to help shift my priorities and attention of worrying about the exteriors and to reflect on what was about to happen interiorly, in that moment I received that, no matter how I looked or if my responses were not said in the most perfect Spanish the day was still going to bring with it my First Holy Communion. When I came to the chapel at the convent and the Father received me at the door I knew I was coming to this sacrament in all sincerity and fully to our Lord and have been ever since my unexpected gift brought with it a life long reminder of love and acceptance.