One of the surest ways to incite wonder and love for the Lord in our children is for us to rekindle wonder and love for the Lord in ourselves. As mature Christians, we have a responsibility to instruct our children––to model and share our faith with them. For many of us, this begins as a daunting and uncertain task: we might question our own faith, or feel awkward in our wording or mannerisms in sharing faith, or recognize our own lack of knowledge when it comes to Scripture or the particularities of Catholic doctrine. I felt all those things myself when it was time for me to begin forming my children to reverence our Eucharistic Lord and welcome him in the Blessed Sacrament. But starting some years ago, I took on this precious and challenging responsibility in a new way, when I began reading Scripture with my then six-year-old son to help him prepare for his First Communion. In particular, we read and wondered at 12 biblical episodes of God feeding his people: six from the Old Testament and six from the gospels, when Jesus fulfills what has been prefigured. From all our time spent together, including my son’s work in illustrating each of those 12 biblical scenes, I came to see that paying attention to these particular actions through Scripture created one firm, clear, and beautiful memory for my son, which was this: the Lord feeds his people. Even more, when he stepped forward to receive his First Communion in May of that year, he rejoiced at the wonder that now he himself was being fed by the Lord.
I think this way of sacramental preparation is more important now than ever, especially as belief in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist continues to wane among Catholics. In the Catholic Church in the U.S., we are hoping for a Eucharistic revival, and I want to think together about how to form our children better for First Communion, to set the best foundation for a sacramental, Eucharistic life.
This is the second of two episodes where I share some of the teachings on the biblical episodes of God feeding his people. These teachings are drawn from my book Fed by the Lord: At-Home Scriptural Formation to Prepare Children for First Communion, from Liturgical Press. Fed by the Lord is written especially for parents, godparents, teachers, and catechists with two primary goals: first, to help enrich and renew the adults’ understanding of and wonder at the way in which God feeds his people throughout Scripture, and second, to offer guidance to adults as they seek to form their children and students for First Communion.
In the last episode, I shared my teachings on one Old Testament episode and the corresponding Gospel episode that fulfills it. From 2 Kings 4, we focused on the prophet Elisha and the abundant bread, then from Mark 6 we contemplated Jesus feeding the five thousand. In this episode, I want to add two more: from the Old Testament, we will turn our attention to the Passover in Exodus, and then from Luke 22, the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper.
● Fed by the Lord: At-Home Scriptural Formation to Prepare Children for First Communion (Liturgical Press, 2023), by Leonard J. DeLorenzo
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