Holy mass is the center of the Catholic religious life, and the Holy Communion is always its climax. The First Communion is the most sacred and solemn event for a young individual, who for the first time receives Christ’s body and blood.
While preparing for the First Communion, the right thing is to know the Catholic First Communion symbols, that help us understand the real and religious meaning of this sacrament.
Below I will describe and explain the importance of the most distinctive and known First Communion symbols.
First Communion and the Last Supper
The sacrament of the Eucharist (Holy Mass, Holy Communion) was founded by Jesus during the last supper with his disciples on Holy Thursday before he was betrayed and crucified. The most known illustration of the last supper is a mural painted by Leonardo da Vinci, which is located in a Dominican monastery next to the church of Santa Maria Della Grazia in Milano. The reproduction of the said painting can be found in many different designs, sizes, and materials.
First Communion and Bread and Wine
During the last supper, Jesus took the bread and the chalice and said: »This is my body…« and »This is my blood…«. Since by his words, bread, and wine became his body and blood. The two became symbols and signs, that reminds us of Jesus and his presence in the First Communion.
In the Holy Bible, we can read, that Jesus spoke about himself in symbols while teaching his students: »I am the living bread, which came down from heaven…« »I am the bread of life…«.
With this, bread became a symbol of Christ’s body and not just a physical, but also spiritual food. Some artists use ears of grain instead of an actual bread.
Besides the scene of the last supper and the bread and wine symbols, some other well-known symbols have established themselves. They are strongly connected to each other and we clearly know, they are a symbol of the First Communion.
First Communion and the Holy Host
The word Host comes from Latin (hostia) and means sacrifice. The host (sacramental bread) that becomes Jesus’s body during the holy mass is a really thin bread from unleavened dough, that is consumed as Holy Communion. The host often depicts Christ’s monogram IHS or JHS.
First Communion and the Chalice
The chalice was used as a symbol of suffering already in the Old Testament. Even Jesus mentioned the chalice when he asked his father for the chalice to pass him. After the last supper, the chalice’s symbol changed from suffering to a symbol of happiness and blessing as well as a Eucharistic symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice. The chalice became a challenge and an inspiration for artistic works.
First Communion and Wine/Grape Cluster
The motives of the Chalice and the Holy host are commonly accompanied by a grape cluster, that creates wine. In gospels, we can read, that Jesus himself used the symbolism of the vineyard, viticulture, and grapes (»I am the vine, you are the branches…«)
The above First Communion symbols can lead you to the proper celebration of the First Communion and to proper gift choices.
We welcome any other opinions and suggestions of symbols, that remind us of the Eucharist. You can write them down in the comment section.