Nervous Before Christ’s Majesty
Fr Michael Mapulanga – To be nervous can be either positive or negative, depending on the circumstance.
Over five days recently I conducted interviews with 36 candidates who were going to receive their First Communion at St Charles Lwanga parish in Botshabelo, archdiocese of Bloemfontein.
I asked the candidates a simple question: “How do you feel about it that you are going to receive Holy Communion for the first time?” The common answer I received was that they were nervous.
This touched me because I had a similar experience when I celebrated my first Mass after my ordination in January.
The ordination was on Saturday, and on Sunday I led the first Eucharistic celebration of my priesthood. When I raised the paten and the chalice during the consecration, I became very nervous.
My hands started shaking. I didn’t understand why that nervousness was suddenly kicking in and why my hands were shaking during this time of consecration.
I was puzzled, because from the beginning of the Mass, up to the moment of consecration, I was fine — no nerves or shaking of hands. And I was fine again after the consecration.
After listening to the children preparing for their First Holy Communion and hearing that they were nervous, I came to believe and understand something profound: the presences of Christ in our lives can sometimes make us nervous because we are in front of the Great Mystery.
In his love and mercy, God sometimes makes us realise that we are in front of the mystery, which is deserving of full reverence.
Indeed, we should give great reverence to Holy Communion because Jesus was fully recognised by his disciples after resurrection after the breaking of the bread.
My set of questions, directed to all of us, is this:
- When we receive Holy Communion, are we truly fully aware that we are receiving our Lord Jesus Christ?
- Are we always aware that we are in front of the Great Mystery?
- Do we give the due total reverence to Holy Communion?
May God continue to enlighten all of us during Communion and in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
And may the Lord continue to bless and strengthen all of these 36 first communicants of St Charles Lwanga parish whose nervousness taught me such a great lesson.