The very definition of a Novice means: new to or inexperienced. It is a time of learning and seeing if you fit in with the Religious Order. It is a time where you fully experience being a “fool for Christ.”, quite literally- as you often make a fool of yourself and realize you are not as smart or holy as you thought, to be frank! Our Mother Mistress often would take the whole Novitiate aside and teach us something about the customs of Carmel or why we do things a certain way. What she said hit me hard. I was glad she said it, too! Of course it had me thinking, how come I was not taught this before my First Holy Communion when I was seven years old and how come the Priests never talk about this? Mother said when we receive Our Lord in Holy Communion it is important to not “chew” Our Lord, but to let the Host dissolve on our tongue. I honestly never thought about it before. It was a hard habit to break. I had done this since second grade. How come it never crossed my mind that Our Lord is not simply just some piece of food I am eating? He is not just some sweet tart candy I can suck on. My Lord and God is resting on my tongue and filling my whole being.
I would catch myself after receiving, out of habit; I would start to bite down and I would stop right away. Ever since I took her words to heart, my thanksgivings after receiving the Eucharist have been so fruitful. I realize what a precious Divine Gift I am receiving and to savor Our Lord. Keeping Him as if a Divine little Prisoner just a little longer before He fully dissolves. Now that I have learned this, the thought of chewing Our Lord the way I would a normal piece of bread or any other type of food is unthinkable. Mother also said how important it is to have our teeth brushed before receiving the Host. All of these would seem obvious, right? Yet, how many times I would go to Mass after work on a week day and of course I had not just recently brushed my teeth. I wanted to share this, because I needed the reminder as well- that Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest gift of all time! How many of us prepare ourselves as if we are meeting a King?