|Boris Kustodiev, US public domain due to age|
Jesus lived in a golden box way up in the front of Church. I didn't understand how they fit Him in there, but that didn't really matter to me. Sister said that's where He was and - even better than that! In spring, when school was almost out for the year, I'd be receiving my First Communion and somehow Jesus would come to my heart in a special way. Oh my. I didn't know how such a thing could be, but at times I was breathless thinking about it.
Sometimes I would sneak into the empty Church during recess. I'd slip away from the other kids and run along the alley between my school and Church, and I'd tug open the gigantic wooden door and tiptoe into quiet. It was perfect. Just me, all by myself; and way up front, there He was. Sometimes a lady or two might be in there, kneeling in a pew with a prayerbook, a felt or straw hat covering her head. I would hide lest I be discovered. If there weren't any grownups, I sometimes got brave enough to go as far as to a back pew. I don't remember praying, exactly. I just looked at the gold box in the distance, and breathed in whiffs of beeswax candles and lingering incense, and listened to muted sounds of traffic from the streets around.
And what about this young love - was it lasting? I am happy to say that, through most of my grade school years, yes it was. Oh, I got distracted, certainly. Childhood games and pettiness, selfishness and materialism and fashion and crushes and pre-teen drama: all took their toll. The fact that I was the only one in my family who went to Sunday Mass (my dad drove me to church and came back to get me) wasn't easy. I felt like the oddball in my family, so learned to hide any interest I had in God. And my interest in Him was far from constant; sometimes it disappeared for months on end.
|"Jesus Looking Through a Lattice" by James Tissot|
I am glad to be able to say: Jesus Christ was my first love.
"Here He stands behind our wall, gazing through the windows, peering through the lattices." (Song of Songs 2:9)
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