Brooke will never forget witnessing a First Communion Mass after converting to the Catholic faith. A friend of hers, Amy, invited Brooke to her daughter’s First Communion. Brooke walked into the church and the first thing she saw were the girls in their white dresses. The beauty of it stopped her in her tracks and it reminded Brooke of a bride in her white dress. She started thinking about the relationship between Jesus Christ as the Bridegroom and our role making up the church as members of the Body of Christ. Brooke found herself asking, 'Am I a Bride of Christ?'
“As I participated in the Mass, the garments, liturgy and traditions just all spoke to me. Nobody told me what it all meant, I just seemed to understand. It was Amy’s daughter’s First Communion, but I received grace through her sacrament,” said Brooke.
That grace came into Brooke’s life and she was on fire with Christ’s love. She became enamored with the concept of Jesus Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church as His Bride. She yearned to learn more about her faith and what it meant to be a Bride of Christ. She started to read some books that really fed her on her journey including, "The Marriage Supper of the Lamb,” by Scott Hahn. She then began participating in Jeff Cavin’s Great Adventure Bible Study. She was soaking it all in and really on fire.
After several people commented to her that she should pursue a masters degree in theology, she turned to prayer and eventually enrolled in an online program.
A couple years after Brooke completed her theology studies which were sparked from attending Amy’s daughter’s First Communion, her own son, Ezra, was getting ready to receive his First Communion. Brooke not only prepared her son to receive this Sacrament but she prayed fervently for Ezra. Brooke explained how excited Ezra was to receive Jesus in the sacrament and how he really wanted to receive his First Communion on his birthday. Ezra’s birthday is November 16, which was right at the height of the COVID pandemic in Iowa. Brooke wasn’t sure how it was going to happen.
“It was four days before his birthday and I thought that nothing would happen if I didn’t do something. So, I contacted our parish. The priest said Ezra could receive his First Communion at the daily Mass he celebrated at 7:15 am on his birthday.”
“Everything just happened all very fast,” said Brooke. Amy was Ezra’s Godmother so I sent her a message inviting her to the Mass but also understood if she couldn’t make it especially with the short notice and the virus. I didn’t hear back from her so I figured she wasn’t able to make it.”
That morning, Ezra was so excited but there was also a sense of nervousness. Right before Mass, Brooke saw Amy. Amy seemed surprised to see Ezra all dressed up in his white suit but she excitedly greeted Ezra, putting him at ease.
“It was a very meaningful Mass. What made it extra special was that there were many friends there who didn’t even know Ezra was going to receive his First Communion. When I saw Amy afterwards, I found out she never received my text. She told me that she normally never goes to that particular Mass but that morning Jesus woke her up and told her to go to Mass. I couldn’t believe it. I was in awe and wonder of God's providence. It confirmed in me God’s faithfulness. He is bigger than all of us and we can put our total trust in Him.”
Shortly after Ezra’s First Communion, Brooke shared how they were at Mass and her son went up to receive Communion. Amy’s daughter was the Eucharistic Minister and Ezra received Communion from her.
“I felt a strong sense of friendship. It was like a full circle from when I went to Amy’s daughter’s First Communion and the experience brought about a deeper conversion within my heart. Then, to have such a powerful experience of God’s presence at my son’s First Communion and to now seeing our kids living this all and growing in their faith. It was really powerful,” said Brooke.
1. Consider the depth of a marriage relationship. How does this compare to your relationship with Christ?
2. Who in your life has been instrumental in inviting or influencing you in your faith life? How can you be that person in someone else’s life?