The Holy Eucharist
National Eucharistic Revival. In preparation for the American Bishops’ National Eucharistic Revival of 2022-2024, we are first addressing the issue of Eucharistic coherence and spiritual consistency for all devout Catholics. For more information, please contact us at Prayer@StDaniel.org.
When we approach the altar for Holy Communion, we receive Christ himself in the Blessed Sacrament. In doing so, let Christ also receive you as well, that is, your commitment to Him as your God and Savior, the Lord of your life. Saint Ignatius of Loyola expressed this well in his famous Suscipe prayer:
“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me. Amen.”
Eucharistic Coherence is about the way we live and the way we pray. Receiving Communion is an admission that we are forgiven sinners who need God’s grace to continue living our lives as faithful Christians. To worthily receive Communion, three things are spiritually necessary to obtain the blessings of this holy sacrament, and to avoid the spiritual consequences of committing further sin in our lives.
- First, we are faithfully living our daily lives according to the beliefs and values of Catholic Christianity as explained in the Catechism.
- Second, we have been absolved from serious sin through sacramental Confession and a recommitment of our whole life to Christ.
- Third, we have spiritually prepared ourselves for receiving Holy Communion by prayerfully fasting for at least an hour beforehand.
Spiritual Consistency. In other words, we need to be in spiritual communion with Christ and his Church in order to worthily receive sacramental Communion. Our inner private life and our outer public life need to be congruent, not just for the sake of receiving Communion, but for obtaining our eternal salvation. So, it is truly an act of charity which compels us to emphasize this issue of spiritual consistency and personal integrity in regard to worthily receiving Communion.
An Invitation for You. As we are actively working through these spiritual issues in our personal lives, we may always come forward for a blessing from the priest instead of Communion. We indicate this request by placing our hand over our heart when we come forward, but this blessing is no substitute for actually resolving these issues of spiritual consistency and personal integrity. Please contact us at Prayer@StDaniel.org for spiritual support and guidance.
For more information about being in full communion with Christ and his Church, please check out our parish spiritual resources: New Life in Christ, The Great Spiritual Reset, the ChristLife Course, and Critical Grace Theory. You may also spiritually benefit from exploring CatholicsComeHome.org, and Catholic.com. As forgiven sinners ourselves, we reach out to all people of good will with the gospel of repentance and new life in Christ.
For more information about Eucharistic Coherence, please click here to read Bishop Olmsted’s pastoral letter, “Veneremur Cernui (Down in Adoration Falling).” Click here to read Archbishop Cordileone’s pastoral letter, “Before I Formed You in the Womb, I Knew You.” Click here to read a message from Archbishop Aquila, and here to read a message from Bishop Paprocki. Also, please click here for an insightful commentary by Dr. Ralph Martin.
Finally, while the American Bishops are drafting a new document on Eucharistic Coherence, please click here to read their 2006 statement on the same topic. Why a new document at this time? Because today some people are falsely claiming that devout Catholics can be pro-abortion, among other things. Such a challenge to our faith cannot go unanswered, especially when it involves the preeminent moral issue of our time, the sanctity of human life!
Official Church Laws about Worthy Reception of the Holy Eucharist
Canon 912. Any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to Holy Communion.
Canon 913. §1. The administration of the Most Holy Eucharist to children requires that they have sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so that they understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity and are able to receive the body of Christ with faith and devotion. §2. The Most Holy Eucharist, however, can be administered to children in danger of death if they can distinguish the body of Christ from ordinary food and receive communion reverently.
Canon 914. It is primarily the duty of parents and those who take the place of parents, as well as the duty of pastors, to take care that children who have reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have made sacramental confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible. It is for the pastor to exercise vigilance so that children who have not attained the use of reason or whom he judges are not sufficiently disposed do not approach Holy Communion.
Canon 915. Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.
Canon 916. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.
Canon 917. A person who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist can receive it a second time on the same day only within the eucharistic celebration in which the person participates, without prejudice to the prescript of canon 921, §2.
Canon 918. It is highly recommended that the faithful receive Holy Communion during the Eucharistic celebration itself. It is to be administered outside the Mass, however, to those who request it for a just cause, with the liturgical rites being observed.
Canon 919. §1. A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before Holy Communion from any food and drink, except for only water and medicine. §2. A priest who celebrates the Most Holy Eucharist two or three times on the same day can take something before the second or third celebration even if there is less than one hour between them. §3. The elderly, the infirm, and those who care for them can receive the Most Holy Eucharist even if they have eaten something within the preceding hour.
Canon 920. §1. After being initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, each of the faithful is obliged to receive Holy Communion at least once a year. §2. This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season unless it is fulfilled for a just cause at another time during the year.
Canon 921. §1. The Christian faithful who are in danger of death from any cause are to be nourished by Holy Communion in the form of Viaticum. §2. Even if they have been nourished by Holy Communion on the same day, however, those in danger of death are strongly urged to receive communion again. §3. While the danger of death lasts, it is recommended that Holy Communion be administered often, but on separate days.
Canon 922. Holy Viaticum for the sick is not to be delayed too long; those who have the care of souls are to be zealous and vigilant that the sick are nourished by Viaticum while fully conscious.
Canon 923. The Christian faithful can participate in the Eucharistic sacrifice and receive Holy Communion in any Catholic rite, without prejudice to the prescript of canon 844. (Note: Canon 844 refers to the circumstances under which Catholic priests could administer the sacraments to Eastern Orthodox Christians.)
Saint Paul on the Eucharist: I Corinthians 11:27-30
“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgement on himself.”
The Catechism on the Doctrine of the Eucharist
The Catechism of the Catholic Church has an extensive presentation on the meaning of the Eucharist and our worthy reception of this sacrament. Please click here to read sections 1322 through 1419 of the Catechism about the Eucharist. Then please contact us at Prayer@StDaniel.org for spiritual direction concerning worthy reception of Holy Communion.
Communion Prayers that Teach Us about the Eucharist
Communion Prayers from the Roman Rite Mass. The first two prayers listed here are recited by the priest while the congregation chants the Lamb of God. Next is the call to Communion, followed by the prayers of the priest while receiving Communion. The final prayer is recited by the priest as he consumes the remaining Communion. All of these prayers reflect the seriousness with which we are to receive the Eucharist.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, by the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit, through your Death gave life to the world, free me by this, your most holy Body and Blood, from all my sins and from every evil; keep me always faithful to your commandments, and never let me be parted from you.
May the receiving of your Body and Blood, Lord Jesus Christ, not bring me to judgment and condemnation, but through your loving mercy be for me protection in mind and body and a healing remedy.
Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb. Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
May the Body of Christ keep me safe for eternal life. May the Blood of Christ keep me safe for eternal life.
What has passed our lips as food, O Lord, may we possess in purity of heart, that what has been given to us in time may be our healing for eternity.
Communion Prayers from the Byzantine Rite Divine Liturgy. The first two prayers are recited by the priest and the congregation in preparation for receiving Communion. The third prayer invites the congregation to come forward for Communion. The fourth prayer is recited by the priest as each person receives Holy Communion. All these prayers emphasize the seriousness with which we are to receive the Eucharist.
O Lord, I believe and profess that you are truly Christ, the Son of the living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. Accept me as a partaker of your mystical supper, O Son of God; for I will not reveal your mystery to your enemies, nor will I give you a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief I confess to you: Remember me, O Lord, when you shall come into your kingdom. Remember me, O Master, when you shall come into your kingdom. Remember me, O Holy One, when you shall come into your kingdom.
May the partaking of your holy mysteries, O Lord, be not for my judgment or condemnation, but for the healing of soul and body. O Lord, I also believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly your most precious Body, and your life-giving Blood, which, I pray, make me worthy to receive for the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. Amen. O God, be merciful to me, a sinner. O God, cleanse me of my sins and have mercy on me. O Lord, forgive me for I have sinned without number.
Approach with fear of God and with faith!
The servant of God partakes of the precious, most holy and most pure Body and Blood of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins and for life everlasting. Amen.