This weekend I went to a first reconciliation retreat with my youngest, which at our parish is the first step of sacramental preparation which culminates in receipt of the Eucharist next spring. Although it’s not my first or even my second rodeo on this retreat, I knew still that it would be a unique experience, because Zach is my pistol.
Allow me to digress for a moment and explain about the Z-man.
My 2nd grade son has informed me that this will be the last year of his formal education. He says he wants to go to school this year, because it’s first communion year and that is pretty cool, but he really knows everything he needs to know and so he thinks 3rd grade is a waste of time.
When I suggested to him that his grandma, a teacher, thought he might want to “gut it out” for one more year, because multiplication comes in fairly handy, Zach replied, “Umm, iPhones have a calculator.”
Good argument, I thought. So, the follow up question I asked was about how he plans to spend all his free time. His reply, “Well, I’m gonna race in the Tour de France.”
This response mystified and disturbed Zach’s very bright and pragmatic cousin, Maddie, a 3rd grader. As I explained the situation to her, she was immediately struck with the practical impossibilities. First of all, Zach would need a race bike, which he doesn’t have, and additionally, he is way too young for the Tour de France. Someone should alert him that he doesn’t have all the facts!
I use this story to illustrate the rub we parents face.
We know it’s our responsibility to impart to our children all sorts of important things. For Zach, right now, my job is to help him understand God’s love and forgiveness is always available to us, and that receiving Jesus is the greatest gift God gives us.
How can I possibly help my child grasp the enormity of all that when his creative and engaged little 8yr old mind has him quitting school after this year to ride a bike across France? He can’t possibly understand these things which are so ethereal—can he?
I decided I just have to let go and let God.
Sunday at mass, Zach knelt next to me. As Fr. Pat began his prayer of consecration, Zach waited anxiously for his brother, who was serving the mass, to ring the bell. His eyes were on Nick like a hawk. Then, he whispered to me, “Now’s when the miracle happens, right mom?”
A wide smile came across my face.
“Yeah, Z, you’re absolutely right.”
“Mom? How come I have to wait until April to make my first communion? I think a lot of people don’t know Jesus is here right when consecration happens, but I do!”
God’s grace rings the bell. LET GOD. Amen. I do believe.
O Sacred Banquet
O Sacred banquet, in which Christ is received, the memory of His passion is renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.