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As she taught her toddler to pray for others, Kate Taliaferro learned an important lesson about community and the Eucharist.

As a mom, it can be hard to hear the voice of God through the noise and chaos of childhood. It can be easy to assume you don’t have time, energy or space to communicate with God. And if you’re this busy, surely He is also.

One of the many beautiful and generous things about God is that He chooses to speak to us through a myriad of ways, including those noisy, chaotic children. He is present within each one of them and because they are children, they don’t just say the darnedest things. Sometimes, they speak deep spiritual truths as well. This happened to me with our 2-year-old, Gabe, on Pentecost Sunday.

We tend to sit close to the front of church, so we're among the first to receive Communion. After sitting back down, I asked Gabe if he wanted to pray with me. I asked, “Who do you want to pray for today?”

His response was, “Jesus.”

Ok, not exactly what I had in mind but our mind is in the right place so I prompted again, “That’s lovely. Who else do you want to pray for?”

Pointing across to the church to a small Marian shrine, “Mary too.”

I chuckled and started directing him toward family members he might want to pray for. “Yes, yes, all them too,” he said. “And Jesus. And Mary.” I looked at him, seeing he was very focused on Jesus and Mary, and changed my question slightly to see if it helped.

“Gabe, who do you want Jesus and Mary to give a hug to today?”

His eyes lit up at the idea and carefully scanned the room. “That guy,” he definitively pointed to a gentleman walking through the Communion line. “And that guy too, over there.” He proceeded to individually select a number of people who he wanted Jesus and Mary to be with that day. When he saw me smiling at him, he looked back over the congregation and with wide sweeping arms, he said, “All the people!”




Through the mouths of babes we can learn so much about God’s love for us and how we ought to act toward one another. There is some debate and personal preference about what one ought to be doing after receiving the Eucharist. It is a time for individual prayer, but also communal prayer. We are experiencing intense union with Christ, but also with our community. Some people chose to close their eyes and silently focus on their relationship with Jesus in that moment, attempting to remove the distraction of the movement happening around them. Others will fully participate in the Communion song, observing others receive and, hopefully, be praying for them as they receive (this isn’t the time to check out who has cute shoes).


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Through the mouths of babes we can learn so much about God’s love for us and how we ought to act toward one another. #catholicmom


Regardless of how you chose to pray after receiving Christ, a transformation is happening within you and around you. Your community is experiencing the unity of the Body of Christ. St. Paul VI explained in Lumen Gentium:

Taking part in the Eucharistic sacrifice, which is the fount and apex of the whole Christian life, they offer the Divine Victim to God, and offer themselves along with It. Thus both by reason of the offering and through Holy Communion all take part in this liturgical service, not indeed, all in the same way but each in that way which is proper to himself. Strengthened in Holy Communion by the Body of Christ, they then manifest in a concrete way that unity of the people of God which is suitably signified and wondrously brought about by this most august sacrament. (11)


To put it in Gabe’s terms, you all are receiving a hug from Jesus—individually and collectively. If you aren’t sure how to pray after Communion, the Church offers a wide range of prayers from the saints. Depending on your parish, you might even have some of them available in your missal. You can unite your voice in song with those around you. Or you can rest peacefully, feeling yourself enveloped in the loving arms of Jesus.



Copyright 2022 Kate Taliaferro
Images: Canva