Diocese of Toledo, Ohio

Browsing From the Pastor

When it is Hurtful & When it is a Blessing to Receive Holy Communion

    As Catholics, the Eucharist is at the hub and the heart of our faith-life. Christ offers Himself to us in a unique way in Holy Communion. If the reception of Communion is to benefit us individually and the Body of Christ as a whole of which we are members, it is essential that we be in a proper state to receive this Sacrament.

   We hurt ourselves and the Body of Christ as a whole if we receive Holy Communion in situations such as the following: 1) if, upon examining our consciences in the light of God’s Commandments as these are understood and taught in the Church, we realize that we are in grave sin. For example, according to one of the Precepts of the Catholic Church, it is essential that we gather for Mass each weekend, unless we have a serious reason for not coming. If we miss Mass without having a significant reason for doing this, the Church insists that in order not to hurt ourselves and the Church as a whole, we celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation before we receive Communion again. 2) Because the Eucharist expresses the unity of the Lord’s People as a whole, we should refrain from receiving Communion in a Catholic Church if we do not belong to the Roman Catholic Church. As Catholics, the Church insists that we not receive Communion in non-Catholic faith communities because we are not yet in full communion with other non-Catholic Christian bodies in faith and morals. 3) If we are in a marriage that is not recognized by the Catholic Church, the Church insists that we do not receive Communion. Persons in this situation are encouraged to look into the possibility of working to have their present marriage recognized by the Catholic Church.

   This leads me to mention when we are strongly encouraged to receive the Eucharist: 1) if we have experienced the trauma of divorce and have not re-married outside of the Catholic Church. Persons in this situation can benefit significantly from the strength that is offered in Holy Communion. 2) Unless we are in the situation of being in grave sin, each of us is encouraged to receive the Eucharist as often as we can, at least every weekend and Obligatory Holy Day. Hopefully, following the example of our Catholic school faith communities, we will want to receive the Eucharist at least once during the week in addition to receiving Communion each weekend.

   Let’s see why this is so. By analogy, we can eat a festive meal on Sunday with our family and friends. As nourishing as this is, doing this is not going to sustain us all through the coming week. We need to be nourished every day if we are to remain healthy and vibrant. Surely, this can be said about our faith-life. If our faith is to remain strong and fruitful for ourselves and for others, we can highly benefit from the nourishment of the Eucharist during the week as well as on weekends.  

   As we allow Christ to strengthen His Life within us each weekend and during the week as well in Holy Communion, we will have the motivation and the strength to continue to live as our Lord’s disciples in a manner that invites others to want to experience with us something of that fullness of life that Christ wants to offer to all persons.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor


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