It was the Saturday before my daughter’s First Communion. My daughter was well catechized and had a clear understanding about this Sacrament.
I was standing behind her, making final adjustments to her First Communion veil as I studied her reflection in the bathroom mirror. Suddenly – out of nowhere – I saw tears swelling up in her eyes. I asked her what happened, “Was the headband too tight? Don’t worry, I assured her, I can loosen it”.
“No”, she responded, “I just can’t do it!”
“You can’t do what?”, I asked.
“I can’t make my First Communion tomorrow”, she responded.
“Sweetheart… why not?” I asked.
“Because”, she explained, “…………I just don’t understand!”
By now her voice was quivering and tears were streaming down her cheeks. My heart was deeply touched. My daughter, at the tender age of seven, realized the significance of what she was preparing to do and found herself caught up in a moment of truth.
I paused for just a moment in prayer – Oh God; please help me know what to say right now. Without thinking, my hand reached up and flipped off the light switch. I then asked her to explain to me what I had just done. She didn’t say anything so I flipped the lights on and again asked her to explain what just happened.
Clearly frustrated with this distraction she finally answered what she perceived as a ridiculous question. “You turned the lights on”, she sighed.
“OK”, I said to her, “So explain to me how I have the power to light up a glass bulb.”
“You don’t!” she retorted.
“OK”, I answered, “so explain to me how it is that the lights came on.”
“ELECTRICITY!” she exclaimed.
“Oh”, I said, “…so please explain electricity to me.”
She looked at me with a faint realization of where I might be taking this conversation, and I began, “You can’t explain electricity, can you? You’ve never seen electricity; you’ve never touched electricity. But you believe it exists because people you know and trust have told you it is real. As you continue in your education you’ll learn all of the scientific facts about electricity, but for now it is enough to know electricity is real because I am telling you it is real.” “And”, I continued, “the same is true about the Faith. For now it is enough for you to believe it is true because I am your mother and I would never lie to you. Later in life, as you grow in faith and grow in your relationship with Jesus, you will come to know this is true not because I am telling you, but because Jesus Himself is telling you.”
“And so, daughter dear you now ask yourself how you are able to believe a small white wafer is to really become the body and blood of Jesus. For now you can believe because people you know and trust tell you it is true. I am telling you it is true.”
A smile broke out on her tear-stained face and we finished working on her veil. The next day she happily received the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist for the first time.