Yesterday was my third anniversary of priestly ordination. I have always considered it a special privilege to have been ordained on Our Lady's birthday. (I was also ordained deacon on Our Lady of the Rosary, a feast not without its own resonances for our time.)
I had no obligation for Mass yesterday (the life of a student!) so I went next door to the parish chapel and concelebrated with the pastor. While the people sang Cordero de Dios... the pastor brought the paten over for me to take the Host. He indicated that I should take half of the priest host. As I held It in my hands while we prayed the Lord, I am not worthy... I saw again the Body of Christ I received at my first Holy Communion, just over eighteen years ago. On that day the pastor called me up after the regular communion procession, explained to the people that I was Charles, that I was a student 'up-at-the-college,' and that I had been baptized the day before. He then gave me a half of the priest host for my first Holy Communion.
I saw that the Host I took in my hands yesterday on my third anniversary of priesthood was the same Host I received in my hands on the second day of my baptism. The Body of Christ is a single sacrifice, the Word of God spoken from all eternity sacrificed into our fallen human condition in order to draw us back into the peace and delight of the Blessed Trinity Himself. All of our Holy Communions are one. Each is our first Holy Communion, each is our viaticum.
As I stood there and prayed ...but only say the word, and I shall be healed I was deeply grateful. My first Holy Communion all the way back at the beginning of my junior year of college contained all of the graces and sufferings that were to come: religious life, vows, priesthood. In all of this I am very grateful and have a very real consciousness of having been saved, or at least being daily offered the opportunity for salvation.