First Communion

The sacraments begin with Baptism, then Penance and then Holy Communion, which is received with solemnity when the child is about eight years old. This is the First Communion. Still, in all its purity, the little one receives the purity of the Cosmos, united with Jesus the Creator, while passing from one state to another and one period of life to another.

Infancy left behind, this union opens on to the second period, childhood, between eight and fourteen, to be followed by the third period, that of youth, seven years between fifteen and twenty-one. Not so very long ago, the last-mentioned age was when young people started to be considered ripe for marriage, another sacrament.

The fourth septennial, from twenty-two to twenty-eight, was the age for heroism, to be preceded by the ages of Truth, Beauty and Good. Confirmation strengthened a man for his maturity, while Extreme Unction prepared him for his end.

And when one stands at the door of the eleventh septennial beginning in one’s seventies, age of wisdom, now a grandfather, what then? What does grandfather do to pass his time? Amuse his grandchildren? Spoil them? Make conversation with them? Tell them stories of the olden times?

Grandfather, above all when he still feels young, will want to recall with nostalgia his own childhood. And when he is a creative artist, what will he be thinking about? Above all, when the time is nigh for his granddaughter Chloë to receive her First Communion?

What he has done is to sketch the expressions on the faces of children. Seen from different angles, little girls and boys express innocence, hope, freshness, and light. One may call them Margaret, Carmen, Maria or Teresa, John, Francis, Fabian, James or Andrew, or one of the two or three forms representing the name of Christ.

Grandfather may make some little compositions, which may be neither large nor small but a whole reduced to a small scale, whether family, group of friends, seaside party, pilgrims, people at prayer, a collection of flowers, of trees or of bunches of grapes, in all some forty-two works whose total area is scarcely one meter square, just to celebrate this holy event of Saturday, 4th June 2005.

William MATAR