As I sat in the pew, watching my son climb the steps into the Sanctuary to receive his First Holy Communion alongside his cousin, I prayed a prayer I’m sure parents the world over have prayed at every single First Holy Communion ever: “Dear God, please don’t let him drop the Host.” Repeated, over and over, in my mind until it was done and he was back in the pew beside me, this prayer was the only thing I could focus on. I’m thankful to report, both he and my niece did just fine. They were reverent, excited, and used a proper form. They didn’t drop the Host.
This is now the second child my husband and I have gotten to this Sacrament. With both of them, the sense of pride I felt was immense, even knowing it had so much more to do with God’s grace than with me. As I watched him kneeling after Communion, beaming in his own serious way, it struck me how much more I have to pray for him. He didn’t drop the Host today, but that isn’t enough. Now I’m speaking figuratively of course. As a parent, it’s my obligation to pray for my child to never “drop the Host”, to never abandon the Faith or the Church, and I fear at times, many of us simply assume that these sweet innocent children will just go on being spiritually sweet, innocent, and faithful, with little or no help from us other than “the basics.” I speak from experience here: this isn’t so. Even with excellent examples, children can grow up and become fallen away adults. They can drop the Host.
We need to pray, and pray hard, and daily, for our children to become the Catholic men and women God is calling them to be. We’ve brought them to the altar, we’ve brought them to the Sacraments. Now we have an obligation to pray for our children, and our God children too, and for all the children of our parish even, to remain faithful as they utilize them and grow. Not only do we need to set the best example we can for them by word and by deed, but we also need to back up that example with daily prayers that they be given and accept the grace needed to grow in their faith and their love of our Church. We need to never stop praying that parents’ First Holy Communion prayer: “Please don’t let them drop the Host.”