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I had the great blessing of being able to return to Mass last weekend, after a gap of some four months due to the restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. I had anticipated that my first Communion in that time would have been something special. My last Communion, at a Mass in the Catheral the day before lockdown, was an emotional one as I knew I would not be able to receive for some time to come. I went home that evening with a very heavy heart.

There were some changes to the format of the Mass last weekend because of the restrictions, but it was a holy and solemn occasion and I am so grateful I was able to be there. And yet, receiving the Eucharist was not at all what I had expected. There was no sense of spiritual consolation whatsoever, no feeling of joy, just – nothing. Added to this, the restrictions meant that immediately after receiving the Eucharist, one had to leave the Church building immediately – because of this, there was no opportunity to offer a prayer of thanksgiving other than the one I offered in the car, and again once home. This added to the sense of emptiness I felt.

A good part of the day after that was spent reminding myself that it is not about the sensible consolation, feelings of joy or anything else – yes, those are sometimes given, but not always. And regardless of whether they are given or not, the Divine Guest has come into the heart and has resided there for a little while. Any sensible emotions – in fact, anything else at all – has no effect on that reality whatsoever. And so this is what I reminded myself of, time after time as the day went on.

I hope to receive again tomorrow, so I pray the Lord will find a worthy place in my heart.

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