Four Ways to Help Prepare Your Child for First Communion
Talk to them about the Eucharist in ways that relate to their own lives.
Reprinted with permission from Catholic Parent.
You can help your children understand and appreciate the Eucharist--and thus prepare for First Communion--if you relate it to their lives. Familiar, ordinary realities that kids already value can be conversation-starters for exploring the meaning of the Eucharist with them. Here are four ways to use those everyday realities to talk about the meaning of the Eucharist with your children so they will understand the sacrament they will be receiving for the first time.
1. Spiritual Food.
If your kids are like mine, one of their main interests in life is food. How many times a day have I heard, "What's for dinner?" or "Isn't there anything good to eat (read: junk food) around here?" So, food is a natural starter for conversations about the Eucharist, since it is a ritual meal. Here are some ways food can help you talk to your children:
- "The Eucharist is a meal. On the table of the altar, Jesus feeds us with his Body and Blood, under the appearances of bread and wine."
- "Just as food nourishes our bodies, the Eucharist is spiritual food that nourishes our soul."
- "The bread and wine are signs that tell us the Lord is nourishing us spiritually."
- "Unlike other signs--stop signs, for example--that can't cause us to do anything, the bread and wine of the Eucharist cause what they signify. They nourish us in our spirit; they cause us to grow in Christ."
2. Real Presence. Friends are a high priority for your kids. Your children's experience of friendship can be a launching pad for talking about the Eucharist, the sacrament in which Christ is present to us and shares his life with us. Some possible lines for conversation are:
- "We like to be around friends, and our love for them grows when we're with them."
- "Jesus called us friends, and in the Eucharist he made it possible for us to be with him (see John 15:15)."
- "Jesus is really present in the Eucharist under the forms of bread and wine."
- "When we celebrate the Eucharist and spend time in Jesus' presence, our love for him grows."