It was the month of May a long time ago. I was so excited. I was going to make my First Communion with my first grade class the next Sunday. In those days you made your First Communion when you were in the first grade. My dress had been made by a friend of the family, and I had my veil which I just loved. I even had new white shoes and socks.
On the Wednesday before the big day I was tired and grouchy. My mom said, "You aren't acting right." She felt my head and I had a fever and was sent to bed. The next day I woke up with spots. I had measles.
Oh, how I cried. "I am missing the last rehearsal for the First Communion Mass," I wailed. I was so upset. I had to stay in a darkened room and no one but my mother and father could come in to see me. I had a younger brother and a younger sister, but Mom didn't want them to catch measles from me. That night when Daddy came home from work he came up to sit with me in my room. I said I was so sad because I had measles but maybe they would be gone by Sunday and I could still make my First Communion with my class. Daddy said we could pray and ask Jesus to make me better by Sunday. We did that, and I was sure I was going to be able to go to church on Sunday.
When I awoke on Sunday I looked in my mirror and the spots were gone off my face. I got so excited and called to Mom and Dad who were still sleeping since it was very early in the morning. Mom came in and she saw that my face had cleared somewhat, but she pulled up my pajama shirt and my back and tummy were peppered with spots. She told me she was sorry, but I would not be able to make my First Communion this Sunday. That morning I sat by my bedroom window watching the girls and boys make their way to the church, wondering why Jesus hadn't healed me of my spots.
I did get to make my Communion on June 6th with a few other boys and girls who missed the class communion day. I remember still being disappointed that day, but I also remember as I went up to receive the Eucharist saying the prayer that Sister Eileen Marie had taught us to say. It was a simple prayer: "Jesus, come into my heart."
When I became a grown woman and had received Jesus many many times at mass over the years I was thinking about my First Communion during my time of prayer. I told Jesus that I really thought He was going to heal me after Daddy and I had prayed. Why wasn't I healed? I wondered.
A thought came into my head immediately. The words were, "I wanted you to say the prayer asking me to come into your heart. If you had made your Communion with all the other children you would have been too distracted and would not have prayed the prayer. I wanted to live in your heart." Tears of joy came with these words and I could say "Thank you, Lord Jesus, for not healing me then, but loving me so much that you wanted me to ask you to come live in my heart."
Now, when any of my children or grandchildren are making their First Communion, I urge them to pray the prayer that Sister Eileen Marie taught me: "Jesus, Come Into My Heart."