Saturday, January 11, 2014



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

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