How Do You Celebrate the Anniversary of Your First Holy Communion?

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A Grace Renewed

How do readers of Vultus Christi celebrate the anniversary of their First Holy Communion? Every grace remembered is a grace renewed. Saint Gertrude the Great made a practice of recalling the sacramental anniversaries of her life and of re-living them in the spirit of praise and thanksgiving that runs through all her writings.

Thanksgiving

For me, today is a memorial of thanksgiving embracing all of the Holy Communions received since June 4, 1959. Every Holy Communion draws the soul into the thanksgiving of Christ to the Father in the Holy Spirit: "In that same hour He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, 'I thank Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was Thy gracious will. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him'" (Lk 10:21-22).

Reparation

Today is also a day of reparation for the coldness, indifference, and unworthiness with which I have received the holy and life-giving Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ over the years. The desire to make reparation is directly proportionate to what Pope John Paul II called "Eucharistic amazement." Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. wrote of being "lost, all lost in wonder" before the adorable mystery of the Eucharist. It is this sense of awe before the Mystery that ignites the desire to make Eucharistic reparation.

My recent trip to France made me more sensitive to the need for Eucharistic reparation. For one who loves it becomes an imperative of the heart. I passed through dozens of small rural villages, each one having its clocher, its ancient church. In many of these villages churches Mass is offered only once a week on Sunday; in some of them Mass is offered only occasionally. Churches, with the Blessed Sacrament reserved in their tabernacles, are kept locked from one week to the next. No longer is there the possibility of making a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or of stealing in quietly to seek the Eucharistic Face and Heart of Love. A coldness is spreading through our lands, and this not only in France. "I came, " says the Lord, "to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled" (Lk 12:49).

I am reminded of what Mother Marie-Adèle Garnier, the saintly foundress of the Tyburn Benedictines wrote in 1875:

In this France which He loves, and where He has been pleased to manifest the torrents of love and mercy of which the Holy Eucharist is at once the ocean and the channel, does He not expect to find souls, objects of His special mercy, uniting themselves to Him, consecrating themselves forever to the prayer of reparation at the foot of His altar, and obtaining by their humble supplications a slackening of the sacrileges committed against Him, and a check to the contagious temptations of indifference and neglect? . . .

A Bold Prediction

I predict that among the fruits of Pope John Paul II's Year of the Eucharist and of his intercession in heaven, we will begin to see here and there in the Church the birth or rebirth of monasteries and other communities of men and women "driven" by the Holy Spirit to a life of Eucharistic adoration and reparation. Priests, in particular, are being called to the life of adoration, reparation, and Johannine intimacy with the Holy Face and pierced Heart of Jesus at once concealed and revealed in the Eucharist. Some are being called to live this out in community, others in a more solitary fashion.

In addition to these prayers, there is this Litany of Reparation which I found in the manual of the (Anglican!) Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament and slightly modified. It inspires compunction.

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

O, Christ, hear us.
O Christ, graciously hear us.

O God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy upon us.
O God the Son, Redeemer of the World,
Have mercy upon us.
O God the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy upon us.
O Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy upon us.

Sacred Victim, offered for the sins of the World,
Have mercy upon us.
Sacred Victim, consumed on the Altar by us, and for us,
Have mercy upon us.
Sacred Victim, despised and neglected by those who call themselves Christian,
Have mercy upon us.
Sacred Victim, outraged by the blasphemies of sinners,
Have mercy upon us.
Sacred Victim, neglected and abandoned in the Sacrament of Thy Surpassing Love,
Have mercy upon us.
Sacred Victim, left alone in so many churches throughout the world,
Have mercy upon us.

Be merciful.
Spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful,
Spare us, O Lord.
For so many unworthy communions,
We offer our reparation, O Lord.
For those who approach Thy Holy Mysteries without reverence,
We offer our reparation, O Lord.
For the continual blasphemies of the impious,
We offer our reparation, O Lord.
For the carelessness and neglect of Priests and people,
We offer our reparation, O Lord.
For the unbelief of those who discern Thee not,
We offer our reparation, O Lord.
For the failure to abide with Thee in thanksgiving
after receiving Thy Sacred Body and Blood,
We offer our reparation, O Lord.
For refusing to visit and adore Thee in Thy churches,
We offer our reparation, O Lord.
For the disorder and neglect of Thy sanctuaries,
We offer our reparation, O Lord.

That Thou wouldest have mercy upon us and spare us,
We beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldest accept our sorrow and humility,
We beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldest increase faith and reverence in Thy priests and in all Thy people,
We beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldest endue all with zeal for Thine honor and glory,
We beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldest incline all hearts to worship and receive Thee worthily,
We beseech Thee to hear us.
That Thou wouldest make known to all Thy love in this Holy Sacrament,
We beseech Thee to hear us.

O Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world;
Spare us, Good Lord.
O Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world;
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
O Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world;
Have mercy upon us.

Behold our affliction, O Lord,
And glorify Thy holy Name.

Lord, hear our prayer,
And let our cry come unto Thee.

The Lord be with you,
And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who hast willed to abide with us always
in this wonderful Sacrament,
thus ever glorifying Thy Father, by the Memorial of Thy Passion,
and giving unto us the Food of Life;
grant us grace to grieve with a hearty sorrow for the insults offered this Holy Mystery, and to repair so far as lies in our power, and with sincere love,
the many dishonors Thou still continuest to receive in thy Blessed Sacrament,
Who livest and reignest with the Father in the Unity of the Holy Ghost,
one God, world without end. Amen.

1 Comments

I received mine on Good Shephard Sunday...I always remember it on that Sunday rather than by the date. I pray thanksgiving for all the priests whose vocations were needed to bring me into the Church as well as for all pastors of souls.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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