"The very words they had sung became their last Communion"


Do we take for granted one of the greatest gifts we have been given as Catholics? I’m talking about the gift of the Eucharist. Are we aware at all that when we partake in Communion it truly gives us a bond to Jesus himself?

“Behold the Lamb of God; behold Him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb.”

Why is it important to receive Communion? What possible relevance does it have to our daily lives, if any? On the night that He was betrayed at His last supper Jesus asked the Disciples to remember Him by sharing of His Body and Blood because it was a reminder of the sacrifice He was about to make. Essentially he initiated Holy Communion.

“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

I remember having a conversation with my sister about this quote from the Mass. In her words we became “worthy” as soon as Jesus died on the Cross. “I don’t agree with those words in the Mass” she said to me. My response to her: I think what it means is that aside from being part of Christ’s family, we are being asked to have a healthy body and mind for Jesus. Communion is a channel to God’s healing, making us worthy to partake.

Photo by Lester Gedlman (1959) via Flickr. All rights reserved.

Photo by Lester Gedlman (1959) via Flickr. All rights reserved.

Do you remember when you prepared for your First Communion? I do. I remember it well. I remember learning about the importance of making an examination of conscience. It’s interesting this memory from eight years of age is still so vivid today. For years following this, I remember all of us walking with my mother to Church on Saturdays to go to confession so we could go to Communion the next day.

Growing up in a large Catholic family I remember often resenting all the things we didn’t have. We did not live in an affluent neighborhood by any means. But everyone around us seemed to have so much more than we had. I’m sure I confessed it as a sin a few times. The nice thing about becoming an adult is remembering with fondness all the things I did have, truthfully; just appreciating all the lessons I was taught. Learning about the gift of Communion was one of those lessons.

“The very words that they had sung became their last Communion” is a line from a song entitled “Empty chairs and empty tables” from the musical Les Miserables. The character of Marius is overwhelmed with sadness at the realization of the loss of all his friends who died in battle and he being the only survivor; expresses his grief by making this statement. I think it is amazing how it captures the heart of what a gift life is and how possible every day could be our “last Communion.” Essentially, the writer is comparing life to “Communion.”

I believe that Communion is our gift of life. Jesus made the effort to make sure His apostles remembered it. Two thousand years later, it still is His reminder that He gave His life so we could have our next life with Him. That’s why it is relevant to each of us today.

“Then he took the bread and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ He did the same with the cup after supper and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is poured for you’. (Luke Chapter 22 – 19-20)

Copyright 2016 Catherine Baugh


About Author

Catherine Mendenhall-Baugh (Cathy) completed her education in Special Education and English and now works as an Agent in the Insurance Industry. A mother and Grandmother, Cathy grew up in a large Catholic family and has spent the last 30 years as a caregiver for her husband, Jack. She is a cancer survivor which inspired her to begin writing six years ago.

1 Comment

  1. Beautiful article. My Firs Communion was at the Easter Vigil as an adult. A moment I will never forget. I love how you wrote that “Communion is the gift of life.”

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.