I stood in line for communion at daily Mass, same as always. My daughter was on my hip, smiling and making faces at the person behind us. The altar grew closer, and I genuflected in anticipation of receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. The person in front of me received and there I stood, right before the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, ready to hear her say “The Body of Christ” – only that wasn’t what she said.
She said something to my daughter about how Jesus loves her, then she looked at me and said, “I can tell you are not of age. Jesus loves you.” Then she looked at the person behind me in line. I refused to move.
“I am not underage. I’m 27, and I have a daughter. I am most certainly of age, would you like to see my ID? I’m also in a state of grace and would like to receive the Eucharist.”
“You are not of age. Please step aside.”
I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. “Please, I love the Lord and need Him in the Eucharist. I cannot survive without Him.”
“You are not of age” she said, rather sternly.
The tears began to flow. My heart was breaking. “But I am of age, please, let me receive. I need Him. I need Him in me, I need the Eucharist. I come for Him daily, why won’t you let me receive? Who are you to deny me my Lord? Why won’t you let me receive?”
I fell to my knees, begging, pleading with this minister to share with me the sweetness of the Eucharist. On my knees, my daughter quietly on my hip, I simply sobbed as she still denied me the Eucharist, no longer saying anything to me. I looked around, searching for someone to hear my begging and let me receive, but no one came. I was suddenly aware that I was making a scene, though I didn’t care. My heart was so broken over being denied the Eucharist. I simply didn’t understand his underage business – I had received the day before. Feeling alone, crying at the altar, desperate for my Lord, I crumbled and wept.
And then I woke up.
I am no Joseph of the Old Testament, no wise interpreter of dreams, but this dream has stuck with me.
I often wonder when I take Monkey to daily Mass how much she or I am getting out of it. Am I just going through the motions? Do I go because it gets us out of the house and it works well with our morning routine, or am I going because I desire the Lord? I’d like to think that this dream shows that the depths of my desire for the Eucharist are true and pure.
Sure, Mass works well with our routine, but it also exposes my daughter to the beauty of the faith – even if she mostly just plays with the hymnal and explores everyone else’s leftover Cheerios.
Even for me, Mass isn’t the same when I have a baby to care for and make sure that she doesn’t eat odd things off the floor. Sometimes I completely miss an entire reading tending to her, but in other ways I pay attention more. When she’s occupied it feels like my other senses go into overdrive, as though I’m compensating for the times I’m not fully invested in the liturgy.
My heart is in motherhood, but it is also in the liturgy, in running after Christ with all that I am. Should that dream come true, I am fairly certain it would play out the same way in real life. I can’t imagine my life without the Eucharist. I need Him. I need His love, His mercy, His patience flowing through me. His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity are the only way I not only make through each day, they are the only way I’ll make it to eternal unity with Him, and that is my life’s goal.