Saturday, January 11, 2014

ANOTHER TRUE STORY


REGGIE

A few years ago in a large convent school you might have seen a happy band of children getting ready for their First Holy Communion.  Such little mites they looked, nine boys and seven girls, the youngest only six, the eldest eight years old.  Though they were so youg they were very much in earnest, all trying to fill their hearts with beautiful flowers for Little Baby Jesus.  Day after day they would come running in to tell Sister of some fresh flower just added to the rest.  It would be:  "Sister, I gave a penny to a poor boy coming to school!" or:  "Sister, I turned the rope three times instead of jumping," or a fidgety little mite would say:  "Sister, I never looked round once the whole lesson," and so on, each wanting Sister to know how much he or she was trying.
   The First Communion Day was to be on the 25th of March, the beautiful Feast of the Annunciation.  Now all preparations were made.  Each little soul had been washed in the Precious Blood of Our Dear Lord in Confession the day before, and the great morning of the 25th had come.  Such a beautiful spring morning it was.  One by one the children arrived, the little girls in their white dresses with their snowy veils and wreaths of roses on their heads, and the little boys in nice suits.  As they came in, each sat quietly in a little chair in class, until all were ready.  One little lad, in changing his shoes, had soiled his fingers and asked if he might go and wash them.  "I couldn't go to Holy Communion with dirty fingers, could I Sister?" he said as he went.  Alas!  how little Sister or he thought what that little act would cost him.  
   As he was washing his fingers he spied a little cup just beside the basin.  Without a thought he filled it to the brim and took a long refreshing drink, then, running quickly back to the others he sat down contentedly in his chair.  Two minutes later there was a knock at the door.  Sister was wanted.  One of the servants was there;  she came to say she thought-she wasn't sure, but she thought-she had caught sight of one of the little gentlemen taking a drink of water.  Sister's heart sank with her.  Could it be true? Returning to the children she said quietly:  "Did any little boy forget and take a drink of water?"  
   Poor little Reggie!  In an instant it flashed into his mind what he had done.  With the remembrance came the temptation not to tell, but it was only for a moment.  No, he would be brave.  White as his little suit, and trembling from head to foot, he looked up at the Sister.  "Oh, Sister, I did-I never thought.  Oh, Sister, what can I do?"  Tenderly drawing the child to her side Sister tried to comfort him, telling him that he need only wait till to-morrow.  But the poor little fellow seemed quite stunned, unable to realise what it all meant.
   Then they went up to chapel in procession.  Reggie knelt beside Sister.  What were his thoughts as he knelt there in that beautiful chapel, watching the priest and listening to the sweet singing?  Presently the bell rang for the Elevation.  Then the children made aloud their short "Acts before Holy Communion."  The longed-for moment had at last arrived.  Slowly and reverently the little ones went up to the altar rails-all but Reggie.  Only then did the truth really dawn upon him-Baby Jesus could not come into his heart.  All would receive Him, only he would be left out.  Poor little Reggie, he burst into passionate sobs, startling all in the chapel.  He was obliged to be taken out that the others might not be disturbed.  
   All that day he joined with the others in their games and amusements.  Such a sad little face his looked among the others whose hearts were overflowing with peace and happiness. 
   But the next morning very early, when all his little companions of the day before were still in bed, Reggie's father and mother brought him once more to the convent.  No music and singing to be heard to-day.  All the music was in Reggie's heart as at last Baby Jesus entered it for the first time.  How much he had to tell Him-all about the long weeks of preparation and then about the bitter disappointment of the day before.  But how happy he was now, and how quickly the moments flew. "I had to finish talking to Jesus all the way out of chapel!" he said.  But I don't think he or his little companions could ever forget that they must be "fasting from midnight."

The End

True Stories for First Communicants
Freame, Manning & Co. , London - 1953



Thursday, January 9, 2014

TRUE STORIES FOR FIRST COMMUNICANTS


MARIE

This story happened years ago, when there was a war between Germany and France in 1870.  The Germans had brought their large armies into France and many battles were fought there.
   One night when the Germans were near a village called Dijon they sent scouts on to say that their soldiers would rest in that village for the night, and would sleep in the church, which was the only large building there.
When the people of the village heard this they were in great distress.  The priest was not at home and many of these soldiers were perhaps faithless men, and it would not have been right to leave Our Lord in the tabernacle of the church where the soldiers might insult Him.  Yet they could not prevent the German soldiers from doing that what they said they would do.
   Now you know that no one but a priest or deacon should take the Blessed Sacrament in his hands except in cases of necessity.  No one should touch the ciborium or sacred vessl in which It is kept without special permission.  But when soldiers were going to sleep in the church it was of course "a case of necessity."  Yet not one of the villagers dared to take the coborium away.  First they asked the sacristan who cleaned the church, but he said "No."  Then they asked one man after the other, but each was afraid, or said he was not worthy.  What was to be done?  Soon it would be too late.
   At last one of the men said:  "I know what to do.  My little daughter Marie is four years old.  She is good and innocent, just like an angel.  I will take her up to the altar.  She shall take Our Lord from the tabernacle, and then we will carry her to the priest's house.  While she holds the ciborium in her baby hands.
All were very pleased with this idea.  So Marie was sought for.  Her mother washed her, especially her little hands that were so soon to carry Our Dear Lord, and dressed in her best white frock,  while she tried to explain to ther the great honour she was to have.  
Mary seemed quite able to understand.  Since she was a tiny baby her mother had taken her to visit Little Jesus in the tabernacle, and many a time she had blown Him kisses from the church door.  Now she was to carry him in her arms. 
Slowly and reverently her father carried her up the altar steps, and unlocked the tabernacle door.  Lovingly Marie drew out the ciborium which held her dear Jesus and pressed it to her breast.  Her little heart beat fast while she whispered to Jesus how pleased she was to have Him in her arms, for was she not bearing in her tiny hands the Lord and God who bears us all in the hollow of His Hand, and yet loves us so much that He hides Himself in the Blessed Sacrament just to be always with us when we need Him?
   After Marie's father walked all the villagers, making quite a long procession, until they came to the priest's house.  There Our Lord remained safely all night, the good villagers taking it in turns to kneel on guard in front of Him.  
   Now you will want to know why Marie was chosen instead of one of the men for this great honour.  It was because she was so innocent and pure:  she had never committed any sin and so had never offended dear Jesus.  It is into pure and innocent hearts like hers that Jesus loves to come in Holy Communion.
   Very soon, when the priest came back, the villagers told him all that they had done, and he was very pleased, and told Marie that she must always remember what a great honor she had had, and that she must begin to prepare her heart to become a home for the same dear Jesus whom she had carried in her hands.

The End

True Stories for First Communicants
Freame, Manning & Co. , London - 1953


Ciborium

Sunday, December 8, 2013

THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION - WHAT DOES IT MEAN


The parents of the Blessed Virgin were Saint Joachim and Saint Anne.  For a long time they were without children.  

At last God answered their prayers and granted them a daughter.  They gave her the name Mary, which means Lady, or Star of the Sea.

Mary's soul was always in the grace and friendship of God.  She is the Immaculate Conception because she never had original sin, the first sin committed by Adam and Eve, which all of us have when we come into this world.  

Mary was chosen by God from all eternity to give us a Savior.  The Feast of the Immaculate Conception brings to our minds the holiness of the Mother God has prepared from and for Himself.  

Thou art all fair, O Mary,
There is no spot in thee.
Thou art the Mother of Wisdom,
The spouse of Infinity.
O morning star of Jacob,
O boast of Israel's pride,
Through thee came the gift from Heaven
For which the hills long sighed.  

Thou art all bright, O Mary,
The moon serene and sweet
That mirrors the Face of Justice
To the world beneath thy feet.
O Woman clothed with sunlight,
O Virgin crowned with stars,
Through thee God opened Heaven,
Released earth's sin-chained bars.

Thou art all pure, O Mary,
White wings thy thoughts enfold;
Thy breast is an ivory altar,
Thy heart a house of gold.
No thing defiled can enter
Thy sanctuary wall,
For thou dost shrine in thy sweet flesh
Our God, our life, our all.  

Receive, O Most Sweet Mother, our humble supplications, and above all obtain for us that, one day, happy with you, we may sing with Luciano the song we cherish true.


Friday, December 6, 2013

WHY ARE FIRST FRIDAYS SPECIAL?



During the month of May, in the year 1688, St. Margaret Mary wrote to her superior in Dijon:  "During Holy Communion on a certain Friday the Lord spoke to me, His unworthy servant, the following words:  'I promise thee in the excessive mercy of My heart that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final penitence;  they shall not die in My disgrace nor without having received the sacraments;  My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge at that last moment.'"