As Catholics, we know that the Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith: it is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Pope Francis has called it the “Sacrament of Love”:
“The Eucharist is at the heart of ‘Christian initiation’, together with Baptism and Confirmation, and it constitutes the source of the Church’s life itself. From this Sacrament of love, in fact, flows every authentic journey of faith, of communion, and of witness.”
For children who are preparing to receive their First Holy Communion, this is a big deal. And for all of us, no matter how many times we have received Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, it should always be a big deal.
What makes it so special the first time is the same thing that makes it special every time! Jesus comes to us in a unique way in the Eucharist. When He comes, we receive Him into our body and our soul. This is very beautiful, personal, and intimate. This is why the first time a family member makes their Holy Communion, it is an exciting event for the whole family. The boy or girl preparing for this sacrament is going to be profoundly united with Jesus in a way that they never have before!
It is such a holy, joyful occasion. Our souls become the bride of Christ. That is why girls wear white dresses and boys wear suits. Relatives are invited. Parents take pictures. We celebrate. And the very act of celebrating reveals our belief in the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Also, by taking Holy Communion, we express our union with all Catholics who believe the same doctrines, obey the same laws, and follow the same leaders. This sense of participation in a larger community is why Catholics (and Eastern Orthodox Christians) have a strict law that only people who are in communion with the Church can receive Holy Communion. In other words, only those who are united in the same beliefs are allowed to receive Holy Communion