We are into First Holy Communion season. The children are still innocent and some even understand what exactly is going on. Some are more taken by the parties afterwards and the presents and all the razzamatazz that goes with First Holy Communion these days. It’s good that we celebrate the day because it reminds us that it is something special. Even when we forget what is special about it, there is at least still the fact that people celebrate it.
For many people, perhaps increasingly the majority of families, it is an excuse for a family celebration. Perhaps for some that is all it is; a social gathering like many others, only a bit more special. The transcendental aspect of it all is long gone; but that is because the transcendental side of life has gone for them. Life has nothing more to offer than life, and if there is any Chrsitian faith left, it is perhaps that there is something after death. But someone having any sense of the divine breaking into ordinary daily life is more and more the exception. Someone understanding that we can touch the divine in our ordinary life, seems to be rarer and rarer. God is more and more remote from daily life. Contact with him is reserved to a special place and time and the more we do ostracise him from our daily life, the less relevant he seems to our life, the more right it seems to reserve a special place and time to him. He is uninterested in our life and we are uninterested in him; we have little time for him in our busy schedule.
Whether it is as a result of this move away from the presence of God in our life, or just a coincidence, we also seem to be becoming more and more pragmatists in the sense that we appreciate the results of our actions and less the importance of the journey to get there. If there is a short cut or an easy way of doing something we take it because it’s the end that matters. But sometimes, most times, the journey to get to the end can teach us something that is as valuable as what we want to have at the end of it all. The end doesn’t justify the means, but the means to the end helps us understand the end more clearly.
There is something about love that is missing if it costs nothing, there is something that is present to love only when we have struggled with someone else to hold on to it. The road that you travel along and which brings you to love can give you a radically different understanding of what love is from another road that you might have travelled. Love at the end of the day is not all the same. When you are in the habit of experiencing life with someone else it affects how you experience life; it affects your values on life, your priorities in life. It can affect the beauty and joy of life. What do you lose when you excise God from your life?
First communions are joyful and happy occasions. There is lots of human joy and excitement. But it doesn’t compare with the beauty of life to which your eyes can be opened when you let Christ guide you through life. The Eucharist can be the door through which we enter and see that beautiful world once again.