To My Sister on Her First Communion

A sixth grader offers some advice to his little sister before her first communion.

Dear Charlotte,

Your big day is growing near and in just a few short days you will make your way to the altar, no more arms crossed over your chest, but instead hands clasped together in prayer. I’ll be serving when you receive, and please know that while I may not be able to smile at you, my heart will be smiling with you. But before Saturday rolls around and you get to wear your white dress, there are a few things that I hope you will always remember.

1. Communion is full of mercy. Remember the lines from the poem mom made us all memorize during the snow days: “The quality of mercy is not strained; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest; It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.” I hope you will think of those words when you examine your conscience, do your penance, and receive. Communion heals us. It makes us whole, but it also makes our Lord whole when we receive. Remember the words you will say each time: “Lord, I’m not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

2. We have to give mercy to receive it. Mercy is only limited by what you give to others. Think about when Peter denied Jesus three times on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Peter committed some mortal — that is to say, major — sins. Jesus didn’t have to forgive Peter. He could have let Peter die with this guilt and shame, but our Lord did not. His forgiveness of Peter is a guide and a reminder that we too must be merciful and forgive. So the next time one of your younger siblings breaks a toy or chews your gum without asking, remember to show him or her the same mercy you would like to receive.

3. Confession allows us to be worthy of his mercy. Don’t ever be afraid to go into a confessional and tell the priest your sins. Remember how mom always tells us that if we tell her what we did, she will be upset, but she will be more upset if we keep it from her and she hears it from someone else? It’s kind of the same with confession. The Lord is naturally disappointed when we sin, but he rejoices when we acknowledge and confess our sins and try not to sin again. We can only unite the Body of Christ if we are clean. If we have sinned and we receive communion, we further sin and make it more difficult to unite the Body of Christ. Confession is God’s merciful cleansing of our soul, but we have to confess in order to be cleansed, and of course we have to do our penance.

I hope this advice is helpful to you, if not now, perhaps later, and I hope that you will take away good memories from the special day when you receive First Holy Communion.

May you always be worthy to receive our Lord. I will be praying for you.

Love,

Patrick

 

Image via Shutterstock.

Patrick Hart
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  • Mary Schlickenmaier

    How perfectly beautiful, Patrick! I am very proud of the wisdom and grace you have shared here. I will be at Charlotte’s First Holy Communion and will reflect on your lovely expression of Faith as we join together as a Church community to share this sacred moment in the lives of our second graders.
    peace
    Mrs. S.

  • W Maxwell Cassity-Guilliom

    I feel strange commenting on such a personal note from one family member to another, but you chose to publicize this so I guess it’s what you expect?

    Why are you turning your eyes upward to ask forgiveness from someone who you have never wronged and are incapable of wronging? Rather, you should turn your eyes to the side and pay attention to your fellows who you actually can and do effect. If you told a lie don’t ask some third party for forgiveness, talk to the person you lied to and ask them. Don’t you think that if your god truly is all-knowing he would have much more respect for someone who tries to right a wrong, than someone who tells him what he already knows and asks for his forgiveness even though he’s uninvolved?

    • kjm11

      Perhaps he asks forgiveness from both? You are trying to go beyond what the kid wrote, and what he wrote is both sweet and impressive.