"The Story of Ming and the Gift of Jesus"
The Story of Ming and the Gift of Jesus is about a Spelling Bee Champion named Ming.
Ming and Nana have worked hard and Ming is determined to be the All State Champion!
However, something unexpected happens and Ming is faced with a very difficult decision.
Nana won't tell her what to do. Ming must decide. What will she do? What would YOU do?
Find out what happens by listening and reading Ming's surprising story below!
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A Visit with Jesus Series
"The Story of Ming and the Gift of Jesus"
Written by Jean Prather
Read by the author
"And a little child shall lead them."
Ming was so happy! She had won the spelling bee at her school! She could hardly wait until she was home so she could tell Nana the good news. Nana would be so happy too! Night after night Nana had patiently gone over the long lists of spelling words with Ming until Ming thought she could spell the words in her sleep!
The school bus finally stopped in front of Ming’s house and off she ran.
“Nana! Nana!” cried Ming as she burst through the front door. “I won! I won the spelling bee!”
Nana was dozing in the living room. The afternoon sun was shining warmly on her cozy chair as she awoke with a start at Ming’s entrance.
“My Little Flower!” exclaimed her grandmother. “I’m so proud of you! Many times today I asked your Guardian Angel to help you remember everything you had so diligently studied.”
Ming gave her grandma a big hug.
“Thank you, Nana. I love you so much!”
“I love you too, my Little Flower.”
Ming sighed happily. She wanted to tell her mother and father but that would have to wait. Her parents owned a busy Chinese restaurant and they would be home late tonight after Ming was asleep.
After washing her hands, Ming sat at the kitchen table with Nana and they ate their afternoon snack together.
Ming explained, “Nana, it was so exciting! The spelling bee ended up being between Michael and me. We kept going back and forth. Some of the words were pretty easy and some of the words were really hard. Finally Mrs. Roberts gave Michael the word ‘potato’ and he said, ‘p-o-t-a-t-o-E’, but I knew there is no ‘E’ in potato. Then I spelled it correctly and everyone clapped and cheered. Nana, I wish you could have been there!”
Nana smiled and said, “I am glad, my Little Flower. We must remember to thank Jesus when we say our prayers tonight for all the gifts and talents He has given you.”
“Yes, Nana! I remember what you taught me. All my gifts and talents are from God and I can use them and offer them as gifts back to Him. When someone tells me I play the piano well or they like the pictures I draw, I say ‘thank you.’ Then in my heart I thank Jesus. Today on the bus, when everyone around me was talking loudly, I silently told Jesus in my heart how happy I was that I won the spelling bee. Then I told Him I was giving my winning as my gift back to Him!”
Ming took a long drink of milk.
After wiping her mouth with a napkin she continued, “Nana, now we’ll have to study even harder because Mrs. Roberts told me I am going to represent our school at the citywide spelling bee next month. She said this is a great honor!”
“Yes, Ming,” answered Nana. “Next month is also the month of your First Holy Communion when you will receive Jesus in the little white Host for the very first time. We will keep studying and preparing for that day as well. What a great day that will be!”
Every Wednesday evening Ming’s father left their restaurant early to pick up Ming and take her to religion class at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Ming, along with thirty-two of her classmates, would be making her First Holy Communion during a Mass at 10am on the first Saturday in May.
“I can’t wait until that day!” exclaimed Ming. “Nana, don’t forget the First Holy Communion interviews are coming up soon for my religion class. You and I will have to go over the First Holy Communion questions again.”
“We can do that after your bath tonight,” answered Nana.
Ming loved going to religion class with her friends to learn about Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Her favorite part of the night was when she and her dad would stop in the Church and make a visit with Jesus after every class. She loved kneeling next to her dad, side by side, as they prayed in front of the shiny golden tabernacle. Ming liked to look for the red sanctuary candle burning next to the tabernacle that showed that Jesus was truly present in “His little golden house.”
Ming thought for a moment and then asked, “Nana, will you please tell me the story again about the brave little Chinese girl who loved Jesus in the little white Host just like me? Please, Nana, tell me the story. Tell me again what happened when the bad soldiers came.”
“My Little Flower,” sighed Nana as she patted Ming’s hand. “Now it is time for you to practice your piano. There will be time for telling stories later.”
Ming obeyed. She stood up right away, put her dishes in the sink, and headed towards the piano.
Then with a twinkle in her eye Ming said, “Nana, in honor of this happy day, I will play you a special song on the piano. You know the piece of music called: ‘The Flight of the Bumble Bee.’ Well, the piece I will play for you is called: ‘The Flight of the Spelling Bee!’”
Nana and Ming laughed and laughed!
It had been a busy evening after eating dinner with Nana. First Ming helped Nana with the dishes and then the two of them packed Ming’s lunch box for the next day. Then Ming selected the clothes she would wear for school and put them neatly on the little bench in her bedroom. After finishing her homework and going over spelling words with Nana, Ming headed to the bathroom to take a bath and brush her teeth.
Ming soon emerged from the bathroom all fresh and clean wearing her favorite blue silk pajamas. Now there was just one more thing that Ming and Nana had to do before Ming went to sleep.
Ming walked to the living room and sat on the couch where Nana was waiting for her. It was time to work on First Holy Communion preparation questions.
Nana opened Ming’s religion class notebook and said, “My Little Flower, we have spent much time discussing each of these questions and I think you are ready to answer them all.
Nana began, “Who is Jesus Christ?”
“Jesus Christ is God’s Son, our Savior, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity,” answered Ming.
“Correct,” said Nana. “What did Jesus do at the Last Supper?”
“Jesus changed bread and wine into His Body and Blood.”
“What did Jesus do on Good Friday?
“He died on the Cross for us,” answered Ming.
“What did Jesus do on Easter Sunday?” continued Nana.
“He rose from the dead!” exclaimed Ming
“What happened on Pentecost?”
“Jesus sent the Holy Spirit upon Mary and the Apostles. It was the birth of the Church.”
“That is correct,” said Nana.
“What are the seven sacraments of the Church?”
Ming thought for a moment and then used her fingers to keep count as she answered, “The seven sacraments are Baptism, Confession, Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick.”
“Very good, Ming,” encouraged Nana. “Now I will ask you about the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Ready?”
“Ready, Nana!” exclaimed Ming.
“Who do you receive when receiving the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist?”
“I receive Jesus – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity,” answered Ming.
“When was the first Mass?”
“The first Mass was Holy Thursday at the Last Supper,” answered Ming.
“When does Jesus become present in the Holy Eucharist?”
“Jesus becomes present during the consecration when the priest says ‘This is My Body’ and ‘This is My Blood.’”
“Very good,” said Nana. “Do you see Jesus in the Holy Eucharist?”
“No,” said Ming. “I do not see Jesus in the Holy Eucharist because He is hidden under the appearances of bread and wine.”
Then Ming smiled as she thought, “I can’t see you with the eyes in my head, Jesus, but I can see you with the eyes of my heart.”
Nana continued, “What two sacraments did Jesus give us at the Last Supper?”
“Jesus gave us the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Orders,” answered Ming.
“Why is a Catholic priest able to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus?”
“A Catholic priest was given the power to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus through the Sacrament of Holy Orders when the bishop ordained him a priest,” answered Ming.
“Yes,” said Nana. “Now here is the last question for tonight. Ready?”
“What are the conditions for receiving Holy Communion?”
“Give me a second, Nana. For some reason I always forget this one,” said Ming.
She closed her eyes and thought.
Suddenly she opened her eyes wide and exclaimed, “Now I remember! The conditions for receiving Holy Communion are I must have my soul free from any serious sins. Those are called mortal sins. But Nana, children don’t usually commit mortal sins. And I should not eat or drink anything for one hour before receiving Holy Communion. Except I may drink water or take medicine anytime.”
“Very good, Ming,” said Nana. “You got them all right.”
Before Nana could say another word Ming exclaimed, “But Nana! You forgot to ask me my very favorite question!”
Nana looked puzzled but then a great big smile lit up her face.
“My Little Flower,” said Nana, “you make me so proud. Ready?”
“What does the word transubstantiation (tran-sub-stan-ti-a-tion) mean?”
Ming took a deep breath and said, “Transubstantiation is the miracle of the changing of the bread and the wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus by a Catholic priest!”
“Correct!” answered Nana. “Now let us thank Jesus! He is always giving gifts to us including the very best gift of Himself in the Holy Eucharist.”
Nana and Ming prayed their night prayers together. Nana tucked Ming into bed, gave her a kiss and turned off the light.
Ming was almost asleep when a thought gently drifted into her mind. She had forgotten to ask Nana to tell her about the little Chinese girl who had been very brave for Jesus.
“Tomorrow I must remember to ask Nana to tell me the story again,” thought Ming.
With that final thought, Ming fell fast asleep.
Ming looked out the school bus window. It was grey and cloudy. Rain had begun to fall. The raindrops on the window reminded Ming of great big teardrops. Ming suddenly had real teardrops welling up in her own eyes! Just two more stops and she would be home.
“Nana will know what to do,” thought Ming to herself as she wiped a tear off her cheek.
Soon Ming and Nana were sitting at the kitchen table preparing for their afternoon snack. Nana made a pot of Ming’s favorite tea. She carefully poured it into Ming’s favorite teacup. It was the one with the hand-painted pink roses.
Nana set the teacup in front of Ming and sat down.
“Now, my Little Flower, I want you to tell me exactly what happened but this time tell me without any tears.”
“Yes, Nana,” said Ming.
Ming wiped her eyes with the palms of her hands then took a sip of tea. She carefully placed the teacup on the matching saucer and began.
“Well, when I got to school everyone was still talking about the spelling bee. Class started and my friend, Ruby, asked Mrs. Roberts what day the citywide spelling bee was. Ruby said her mother would bring her so she could cheer for me. Then everyone in my class started to say the same thing. Nana, it made me feel so happy!”
“Mrs. Roberts told us that the spelling bee would be in a big auditorium at John F. Kennedy High School on Saturday, May 6th at 10am. Then Bobby, who is in my religion class at Sacred Heart Church, told Mrs. Roberts that I wouldn’t be able to be in the spelling bee because that was the exact day and time of our First Holy Communion Mass! Everyone started talking all at once and then Michael wanted to know if he could take my place since he came in second. I suddenly felt like I was going to cry!”
Ming felt hot tears welling up in her eyes again.
“Go on, Ming,” encouraged Nana as she reached over and gently touched Ming’s hand.
“Then Mrs. Roberts told everybody to stop talking and to read quietly for five minutes. She walked over to my desk and led me out to the hallway. She asked me if May 6th really was the day of my First Holy Communion. I told her I wasn’t sure of the date but that I knew for sure it was the first Saturday in May at 10am. She said that May 6th was the first Saturday. Then she said she would call my parents to ask if I could make my First Holy Communion on another day.”
Ming paused to catch her breath.
“But, Nana! I don’t want to make my First Holy Communion on another day by myself! I want to make it with my friends! And you know that Dad and Mom have already invited my Godparents and other special people to be there too. But I also want to be in the citywide spelling bee and represent my school! Mrs. Roberts said it is a great honor! We worked so hard, Nana. What if I won that spelling bee? I know if we study every night there is a good chance I could win! Then the winner of that goes on to the all-state spelling bee championship!”
Ming looked at Nana and pleaded, “Please, tell me, Nana! Tell me what should I do!”
Nana was quiet. She didn’t say a word. She picked up her teacup and took a long sip of tea.
Finally she answered, “Ming, remember yesterday when you wanted me to tell you the story about the brave little Chinese girl?
“Yes, Nana,” answered Ming.
“I’d like to tell you that story.”
“My mother told me the story of the brave little Chinese girl when I was about your age,” explained Nana. “The little girl in our story lived a long time ago. Every week she went to religion class, just like you, and learned many wonderful things about God.”
“Now this little Chinese girl studied Bible stories about people who loved God very much. These people tried to offer their very best gifts back to God. You know the story of Cain and Abel. What was the gift that Abel offered back to God?
“A lamb!” answered Ming. “I remember you told me that Abel was a shepherd. He loved his sheep and took good care of them. But Abel loved God even more than his sheep. So Abel put his very best lamb on the altar of sacrifice to offer it as a gift back to God. Abel wanted to show God that he loved Him even more than his very best lamb.”
“Yes,” said Nana. “God was very pleased with Abel’s sacrifice.
Nana continued, “Then the little Chinese girl learned about a king with the very long name of Melchisedech (mel-ki-ze-dek). The king decided to offer bread and wine to God as his gift back to God. He thought, ‘If it is bread and wine that keep me alive and I give God my bread and wine, then it will show God that I love Him more than my life.’ Do you think God was pleased with the king’s gift?”
“Oh, yes!” exclaimed Ming. “That was a really good gift.”
“Another Bible story the little girl learned in her First Holy Communion class was about a man named Abraham. Abraham was a very rich man. God had blessed him with everything that money could buy. He also blessed Abraham and his wife, Sarah, with an only son. His name was Isaac. Abraham loved his son, Isaac, more than anything in the world. God asked Abraham for a special gift. God asked Abraham to give Him back his son, Isaac. Abraham was very surprised! God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice to Him. “
Ming’s eyes grew wide with wonder.
“What did Abraham do?” continued Nana. “Did he tell God he loved Isaac too much to obey? No. Abraham loved God the most. Abraham trusted God. Abraham didn’t understand why God was asking this of him but he knew that God was good and only wanted what was best. It would be the hardest thing Abraham would ever have to do, but because he was sure God was asking this of him, he would do it. Abraham obeyed God.”
“What happened, Nana?” asked Ming.
“Abraham placed his only beloved son, Isaac, on the altar of sacrifice. But then God sent an Angel to stop Abraham. Isaac was not hurt. You see, Ming, God did not want Abraham to actually sacrifice Isaac. It was a test. God allowed Abraham to prove that Abraham loved God the most. God was so pleased with Abraham that He blessed Abraham and his only son, Isaac, even more than before.”
“Wow!” exclaimed Ming.
Nana continued, “Now the little Chinese girl loved hearing all these Bible stories that are found in the Old Testament. She also loved hearing Bible stories that told about the great gift of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist found in the New Testament.”
“That’s just like me!” exclaimed Ming.
“This little girl thought about how Jesus loves us so much that He gives Himself to us in the little white Host. She thought about how we receive the best gift of all when we receive Him in Holy Communion, just like the Apostles did at the Last Supper.”
“That was on Holy Thursday,” added Ming.
“Yes,” replied Nana. “She also thought about how much God must love the gifts that are offered to Him with great love, especially when those gifts are very difficult to give. The little girl thought about how Jesus is the precious LAMB OF GOD who takes away the sins of the world. She thought about how Jesus is truly present in the Holy Eucharist under the forms of BREAD AND WINE. And she thought about Jesus as the ONLY SON OF GOD.”
“Why, Nana!” cried Ming. “Those are the things that were in the Bible stories the little girl learned! They are all part of the story of Jesus!”
Ming thought for a few moments and then said, “Yes, I think God must have really loved the gifts that Abel, the King and Abraham gave to Him.”
Nana nodded and continued, “Now one day the little Chinese girl was making a visit with Jesus. She was sitting in a pew in the back of the village Church, looking at the golden tabernacle in the center of the sanctuary. She was thinking about all these wonderful Bible stories she had learned in religion class. She was trying to decide what gift she could give back to Jesus to show Him how much she loved Him. It was then that a terrible thing happened. Suddenly, wicked men came into the Church. They were dressed as soldiers and they were carrying guns and swords. They began yelling bad things at the priest and then took him prisoner.”
“Poor Father!” exclaimed Ming.
“They went up to the golden tabernacle and broke open the door. They took the golden ciborium, the container where the little white Hosts are kept, and threw it on the ground. The lid flew off - the sacred Hosts scattered around the sanctuary floor. Then the soldiers stepped on those precious, consecrated Hosts, which is the Body of Christ. This is called a sacrilege.”
“Poor Jesus!” Ming cried.
“Afterwards these men dragged the priest to a room next to the sanctuary and locked him up. One of the soldiers sat on a chair near the room to keep guard over him. Then the rest of the soldiers left the Church. None of them had noticed the little Chinese girl praying in the back of Church with tears now streaming down her face.”
“That would make me cry too,” said Ming.
“Hours passed and soon it was dark. The only light in the Church was the bright, flickering sanctuary candle. Father sat looking out the tiny window carved in the door where he was being held prisoner. With great sadness, he gazed at the little white Hosts scattered over the sanctuary floor. That’s when he saw her. It was the little Chinese girl. She had silently crawled up to the front of the Church and was in the sanctuary where the Hosts were on the ground. Father saw her pause in front of a Host and then bend down and pick up the Host with her tongue. Quiet as a mouse, she snuck away with the soldier unaware that she had been there.”
“She got away,” whispered Ming.
“Father continued to be held prisoner in his Church and the next night the little Chinese girl came back. As quiet as could be she crawled in and adored Jesus, truly present in the little white Hosts on the floor. When she was done with her prayers she slowly bent down and picked up a Host with her tongue. Then she quietly snuck out of the Church into the dark night.”
Nana paused and took a sip of tea. Ming waited patiently for her to continue.
“For the rest of the week the little Chinese girl continued to make her visits with Jesus. The night the sanctuary candle burned out was the night the sky was clear and a bit of moonlight came shining in through the Church windows to help the little girl find her way into the sanctuary. Each night when she came to make her visit, the sleepy soldier on guard never noticed her.”
Ming was on the edge of her seat remembering what came next.
“Finally the day came when there was only one Host left on the floor. Father kept watch and prayed as he waited for the brave little girl to come for her final visit. Hour after hour went by and just when he started to think that maybe she wasn’t going to come, he saw her! He noticed that she adored Jesus in the little white Host for an extra long time. Then she slowly bent down and received the last Host on her tongue. As she started to crawl away it was then, for the first time, the soldier noticed her in a little beam of moonlight streaming in from a window. He stood up and carefully aimed his gun at the brave little girl. He squeezed the trigger and, an instant later, a little Martyr of the Eucharist was added to the Saints in Heaven. One moment the little Chinese girl was crawling on the floor in the dark, cold Church with Jesus truly present in the Eucharist in her heart. The next moment she was looking at Him, face-to-face, in Heaven!”
“Oh, Nana!” cried Ming. “Safe with Jesus in Heaven!”
“That’s right, Ming,” said Nana. “You see, the brave little Chinese girl made a decision to keep making her visits with Jesus even when the situation seemed impossible. Because of her great love, she figured out a way to be with Him. No sacrifice was too hard. She ended up giving the very best gift that anyone could ever give back to Him. Do you know what that is?”
“She gave Jesus the gift of her life, Nana,” answered Ming.
“That’s right. Her love for Jesus was greater than any fear or difficulty. Now she is safe and happy with Jesus in Heaven forever.”
“Forever,” repeated Ming.
Nana and Ming sat in silence.
Ming finally spoke and said, “Nana, I know what I’m going to do on May 6th. Thank you for telling me the story again. I love you.”
“I love you too, my Little Flower,” answered Nana.
Then Ming stood up, put her dishes in the sink and went to practice her piano without Nana having to tell her.
May 6th turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day! Ming looked radiant in her First Holy Communion dress made of white silk. As she got ready, she happily sang “A Visit With Jesus.” Ming and her classmates would be singing this song at the end of their First Holy Communion Mass:
Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity;
“My Lord and God!” Jesus is near;
Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity;
Jesus, My Lord, I know You’re here.
Jesus I've come to visit You in Your home;
I bend my right knee and bow to Your throne;
Quietly I kneel, I whisper "I love You so!"
My eyes cannot see but my heart truly knows:
Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity;
“My Lord and God!” Jesus is near;
Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity;
Jesus, My Lord, I know You’re here.
When Ming and her family arrived at Sacred Heart Church it was already overflowing with all the First Communion families and their friends. It was truly a day of joy and excitement!
Mass began and soon it was time for Father Peterson’s homily. He had a tradition of asking the First Holy Communion preparation questions as part of his homily. Father would ask a question and then the children would raise their hands. He would choose one by name and that child would stand up and answer the question so everyone in the Church could hear. One by one Father went through the questions until he came to the very last one.
“Okay, boys and girls,” said Father. “What does the word transubstantiation mean?”
All the children raised their hands but Ming raised her hand the highest of all!
“Ming, will you answer this one?” asked Father.
Ming stood up and in a loud, clear voice said, “Transubstantiation is the miracle of the changing of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus by a Catholic priest.”
Ming sat down.
“Very good, Ming,” said Father. “However, we are not finished yet.”
Ming thought she saw Father look over towards Nana and wink.
Ming slowly stood up again.
Father continued, “Some of you may know that we have a spelling bee champion in our midst. Ming sacrificed the opportunity to represent her school as a contestant in the citywide spelling bee taking place right now so she could make her First Holy Communion today with her class. So I thought we’d have a little spelling bee of our own. Ming, the word is: transubstantiation.”
At first Ming was very surprised! She paused and thought for a few moments. Then, with a big smile on her face, she said:
“Transubstantiation. T-R-A-N / S-U-B / S-T-A-N / T-I / A / T-I-O-N. Transubstantiation.”
As Ming sat down, she kept her eyes on the shiny golden tabernacle in the middle of the sanctuary and prayed, “Jesus, it is my gift back to You to show You how much I love You. Thank You for giving me the very best Gift of all when I receive You today in Holy Communion!”
Jesus gladly accepted this precious gift from Ming - the winner of His spelling bee!
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only-begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
P.S. "Portrait of Sanctity"
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
In 1918, while a seminarian at the Saint Paul Seminary in Minnesota, Fulton Sheen was taking a walk one evening during recreation time. As he walked up and down the area outside the major seminary Chapel the thought struck him: “Why not make a Holy Hour of adoration in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament?” The next day he began his visits with Jesus.
The following year, on the day of his ordination to the priesthood, he made the resolution that he would spend a continuous Holy Hour every single day in the Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
For the next 60 years, no matter where he was, he never missed his daily Holy Hour. That equals about 22,000 visits with Jesus!
May Archbishop Sheen’s beautiful example be a reminder that Jesus waits for us in every tabernacle and every Adoration Chapel in every Catholic Church around the world!
Here is a recording of the song that Ming and her friends sang at their First Holy Communion Mass.
Later you will learn about the prayer in the middle of the song from Isabel on her CK101 Page.
As you listen, you can ask Jesus to help you love Him more and more in the little white Host!
Click the image of Jesus in the beautiful white Host to meet Benji!