After Elias was baptized, we had to decide how we would handle communion with him. When would he start to partake? We decided not to dribble any of the wine into his mouth…while it may nourish him in some way spiritually, we just didn’t think it was time. As for the bread, we decided that when he ate bread at home safely, he could eat it at church too.
So a couple months ago, Elias started eating bread at home. We let the priests know that instead of the normal blessing, they could offer him Eucharist. At first he vehemently denied it. He would push away their hands. But starting about three or four weeks ago, he all of a sudden decided that he wanted to partake. Mother Charlotte lifted the bread in front of him and said, “Elias, this is the body of Christ, bread of heaven.” He took it from her and popped it in his mouth. My first reaction was to be very happy. It was like a rite of passage. But my second thought was horror. I had sudden visions of him spitting it out or something there in the front of the church in front of everyone! But…he just chewed it and swallowed.
After that first week, he has been eager to eat the Eucharist. As soon as we get up the the altar rail he remembers what happens and gets excited. He reaches out to the priests and takes it as fast as he can. I still get nervous that he will drop it or spit it out or something. But mostly I’m just happy that he can participate. He does not understand the meaning yet, but as with many other things like prayer and signing and reading, I’ll never know the moment when he comes to understand the significance. So we may as well start now and see what happens.
I have many hopes for my little boy. But if I had to choose one it would be that he will know and love the Lord. Whether or not you believe that the Eucharist is actually Christ’s body and blood, I think that by partaking, Elias has a bit more of Jesus in his heart each time.