My son received his First Communion last week. Amidst all the processions, bread sharings, Scapular inductions, white dresses and camera-wielding in laws – amidst all the hoopla – the parish photographer managed to snap this photo of my son at the moment he received Jesus for the first time.
I cannot get enough of this picture. I look at it every day. Not just because it’s my kid (but seriously, check it out – that’s my boy! – he and Jesus are tight now). I also look at it every day because every time I do, the look on his face brings me to tears.
I know my son well enough to know that there are a thousand different thoughts that could have been running through his head at this moment:
Don’t drop it…don’t drop it…don’t drop it…don’t drop it.
I wonder if Mom will let me play Minecraft when we get home.
I hate tacos, why are we having tacos for my First Communion party.
I’m totally giving my load of bread to Zach. He’s cool.
Do I HAVE to take the cup? It tastes nasty.
Father needs to cut his fingernails.
My eyes itch.
(Poor kid had nasty allergies all week – in some of the pictures he looks like he has two black eyes).
As much as I would like to believe he was having a Blessed Imelda Lambertini moment, I know it’s possible (ahem – likely) that’s far from the case. After I saw the picture the next day, I asked him: “What were you thinking about right then?” His response, complete with the dismissive shoulder shrug, was all 8 year old boy: “Dunno. Jesus, I guess. Can I go play a video game now?”
But you know, it kind of doesn’t matter. Because the look on his face in this moment speaks a thousand words. They may not be his words, but I am certain that they are our words. They are the words of the Bride to the Bridegroom – of the Church to Christ – of us to Our Lord. They are the words of the deepest love.
The words of love visible on my son’s face in that moment are an echo of the words of Pope Benedict in his encyclical Sacramentum Caritatis (Sacrament of Love):
Receiving the Eucharist means adoring him whom we receive. Only in this way do we become one with him, and are given, as it were, a foretaste of the beauty of the heavenly liturgy.
Oh, would that our hearts, souls, minds, and faces would reflect this same look each and every time we receive this Sacrament of Love!