My Desire for Holy Communion

05-13-2018Weekly ReflectionParishioner Stephanie Pickthall

I was raised in a Catholic home and attended Mass regularly. I had received the usual sacrament as a child and attended a Catholic high school. As a teenager, I attended daily Mass for a while. I was feeling close to God. I was married in the Church at the age of 21. By the time I was 23, I had divorced and began living a sinful life. I went to church occasionally and stopped going to confession.

After being single for 12 years, I met and married a wonderful man who helped me to straighten out my life and made me want to settle down again. We married in a civil ceremony and had a daughter. My husband is not Catholic, but I wanted our daughter to be raised Catholic, so I started taking our baby to Mass. I was still receiving Holy Communion because I didn't know I wasn't supposed to do so after my civil marriage. When I found out that I was not supposed to be receiving Holy Communion, I will admit that I got angry. I did not see the point of going to Mass and not receiving Holy Communion and I contemplated avoiding Mass. I thought the whole point of Mass was Holy Communion.

God kept calling me to Mass. I began to really concentrate on the parts of the Mass that I could participate in. Since I could not receive, I tried to really be present for the prayers, readings, music and people around me. I read books and articles about the Mass and learned that the entire Mas is the point of the Mass. It is the most complete and beautiful prayer we can utter and I fell in love with it.

I had heard negative things about the annulment process and kept putting it off because I just didn't have the time to do all the work it would require. Years went by and I kept attending Mass without receiving Communion. I really began to long for Jesus in the form of Communion. I became a regular adorer and would stare at the host and wish I could receive Communion. I attended the Discovering Christ and the Charism workshops (both highly recommended!). I wa compensating to be close to Jesus since I was not experiencing that closeness in Holy Communion. Still, an annulment just seemed too difficult and I didn't want to burden anyone with the responsibility of being a witness for me.

When my mother passed away in 2016, I took some holy books from her collection. I read that in her apparitions in Medjugorje, the Blessed Mother was asking us to attend Sunday Mass, pray the complete Rosary daily, go to confession monthly, and receive Holy Communion. I began doing the first three things and I asked God to please let me live long enough to receive Holy Communion again. I began work on an annulment in earnest.

The annulment took about a year to complete and from there it was a short jump to "making things right" regarding my current marriage. Shortly after Easter of this year, Father Chad gave me the go ahead to receive Holy Communion again. After 14 years, it felt like my First Holy Communion all over again!

I'm not sure why my faith journey went the way it did, but I do know that obedience is the best policy and that everything one does for Jesus leads one to Jesus. I am drawn to Mass now in a new way and I hope that I always look forward to Holy Communion as if it was the first time.

I would like to thank John Deg and Father Chad for their guidance and support in this journey.