COMMUNION: The Reason For My Hope - Huruma Eamonn Monson

My First Holy Communion Day 1962
"Always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope you all have" (1 Peter 3:15)

My answer is not a theology or a logic or even an explanation. It is an experience that is known and understood in my soul. It is beyond words but I also need to put some words on it. Each of us needs to put our own words on a truth that is eternal.

The soul gets crusty and rusty and smothered by all sorts of clutter, so it's necessary to clear away the debris that has gathered in and around it. This clearing away takes me back to a time of pure innocence, the time of my First Holy Communion.

I knew that Jesus Himself was coming into me, into my soul and I longed for Him, approaching Him with great reverence in the way that I see reverence in the children of today, the reverence that is essential for the well-being of the soul.

Sr. Frances told us that our souls would shine and I was expecting a physical brightness to take place in me, wondering if the soles of my shoes would shine brightly with the effect of Jesus – soul and sole meant the same thing to me then. But of course it wasn't physical.

What I learned to discover over the years is that the soul is a space within me that cannot be seen or touched or measured - it is in this space that Divine Love is experienced and known. And it is important to keep that space intact, to preserve its purity and integrity.

In this material age we tend to value what can be seen, counted, measured - where seeing is believing. The spiritual life of the soul does not respond to these criteria and so it is treated as being unimportant in a person's development. We pay great attention to the mind, the body and feelings and all of these need to be cared for but there can be no proper human development without the development of the soul and its protection.

A Cistercian writer talks about how each of us stands at the door of our own soul and to everything that approaches our lives we're are meant to ask it "are you for me or against me?" We should only let in those things that are for our good. 

That's not to say that we close our hearts, nor is it to say we only let in what is nice and pleasant but we need to be discerning about what is for our salvation and what is against it, what brings us closer to God and what takes us away from Him. Sometimes what is for our good comes in the form of suffering and often "nice" experiences actually seduce us away from God.

Sadly, a lot of the time we don't stand guard at all, we don't ask the question and we let everything and anything in so that we live in a state of spiritual confusion or even spiritual decay.

Jesus in the Eucharist seeks to enter our souls as the food that preserves its innocence and integrity. In Communion He gives all of Himself so that we may be well.

I'm taken by the song "All Of Me" by John Legend. It's not about God as such but from the first time I heard it and every time I hear it now, it's as if God is saying to me personally "All of me loves all of you" and my soul responds to God with the same "All of me loves all of you" and the song ends with "I give you all of me And you give me all of you"

This is what is happening between Jesus and the soul in Communion, it is what's happening within the Christian community and in this I find the reason for my hope.


  1. I like the tenderness and the simplicity of this approach to childlike prayer. There is no more beautiful prayer than the childs prayer on his/her First Communion day. It becomes a treasure chest into which we can all dip into at anytime in our life.


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