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Rachel Bulman learned a lesson about friendship from her young son as he prepared for his first Communion.

There’s an often-quoted line from Gaudium et Spes, paragraph 24. It reads that due to the human person’s likeness to God, man is “the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” What does this mean? We find ourselves by making a gift of ourselves.

I am four days into sending my kids back to school. We did two weeks of e-learning but for many reasons, we sent them back to the campus.

I have not missed the morning rush, but I have missed the final few moments that we share before they open the car doors and pour out on to their school grounds. As we get closer and closer to drop off, I always ask them the same question: "What’s our mission today?"

And they reply, “To be a gift to others!”

And when they’re up to it, sometimes they add, “And to allow others to be a gift to me!”

As a mom, that second part is crucial to becoming who I am. It’s difficult to allow others to be gift to us when so much of our lives is dependent on our gift. Many of a mother’s decisions are predicated on good for others, on making a sincere gift of oneself. But, to be a gift, it must be received.

How often have you let someone be a gift to you? Have you allowed the children, your spouse, or your friends  to become gift for you? Have you opened your heart enough to fully receive the gift of others around you?

I’m a “get it done” type of person but I have found great joy in discovering ways to allow people to be gift for me. When I do that, I enter into this reciprocal relationship of two people finding themselves through gift of self – through my receiving and their giving.

Now back to the car ride in the mornings! Two years ago, we were approaching morning drop off, and it was around the same time that our eldest son was preparing for his first Communion.

I had asked my morning question, and after the response he said, “Mom, I found out that eucharist means thanksgiving. It means to be thankful. Jesus is a gift, right? We are thankful for Him, right?”

I said yes unsure of where this was going, and he said, “And He is the Eucharist. I get to be gift for people. I get to be the Eucharist for other people.”

And then, he opened the door and left me with tear-filled eyes in the middle of the morning hustle. I hadn’t made that connection before that moment.

Have you opened your heart enough to fully receive the gift of others around you? #catholicmom

Being gift to one another mimics the action of receiving Christ in the Eucharist. We receive and He gives much more than we could ever imagine. And, as we receive Him we become more like Him and then long to be given away just as He continues to be given to us.

How can I be Eucharist today? How can I receive better? And in what ways can I continue to give?

Copyright 2020 Rachel Bulman
Image: Pixabay (2016)