"Un Ti Morceau"

"A Little Something," mini-lessons and reflections by our pastor, Father Paul Counce

Reception of Holy Communion

Published February 02, 2014 by Fr. Paul Counce

Most people view communion time at Mass as one of the most intensely personal times of our Catholic wor­ship. It is, after all, when each of us has the opportunity to take into our­selves the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, real­ly present under the appearances of bread and wine. Our Christian faith em­phasizes the need for a personal rela­tion­ship with our Savior, and in holy communion we can share in a moment of inti­macy with Him like no other.

This is why, no doubt, there are so many little per­so­nal rituals and individuals ways of relating to re­ceiv­ing the Eucharist. As a priest, I distribute communion a great deal, and the many and varied ways in which people approach – and reverence! – communion never ceases to fascinate me.

A slight bow of the head is the gesture which we are all supposed to make before receiving holy communion. People often do more. Many make a more profound bow. For some, a careful sign of the cross before or after receiving the Lord’s Body and Blood is clear indication of the importance of the moment. Others even genuflect or kneel out of respect for the Lord. Of course, just coming for­ward in the communion procession is an act of devotion. Per­haps the most eloquent testimony I witness are the many tears in the eyes of believers as they encoun­ter their God in this most special sacrament.

Yet an even more personal and important aspect of holy communion is one’s moral life which precedes it. We must be Aproperly disposed” to receive the Eucharist, that is, in a state of grace and not sin, to do so worthily. It was St. Paul himself who observed that when unre­pen­tant sinners receive communion they “eat and drink a condemnation upon themselves” (1 Cor 11:27). Commu­nion thus drives the unworthy farther from God, not brings them closer! So I’ll just echo the Apostle’s teach­ing: make sure it’s not just the half-hour before your com­munion that’s reverent and holy!

Return to List