I have two points to make about something which many people who profess the Catholic faith don’t give thought to. Today’s topic: the Holy Eucharist. Let’s jump right into the action, shall we?
Number one: What’s in an “Amen”?
I’m going to describe what is probably the typical Communion experience for many people. the person gets out of his pew, stands in line, approaches the priest, who says, “the Body of Christ”, and the communicant says, “Amen”. It’s routine and he wants to get back to his pew and wants Mass to end so he can go have fun for the rest of the day. If this is you, prepare to learn something. First, what’s in the word “Amen”? It’s a word of Hebrew origin meaning “so it is” or “so be it”.
I have a question for you, my readers: How many times do you talk about receiving the “bread and wine” at Mass? I can see why you would talk like that. After all, they really do seem like bread and wine. But when the priest says, “For this is My body” and “For this is the chalice of My blood”, they are not bread and wine, no matter how much your senses would have you think. Therefore it is incorrect to call the Eucharistic elements bread and wine after they’ve been consecrated. They are not bread and wine anymore. At all. They are the body–the real body–and blood–the real blood–that belong to God, the Second Person of the Trinity. The exact same body that was crucified, suffered death, and rose again, and the exact same blood that poured out of His wounds.
And when you say, “Amen” you’re exhibiting that you believe that. You are receiving God. Not just a really symbolic piece of bread. Think about that.
Number two: Does the congregation have a “right” to receive the Eucharist which is God the Son Himself?
A lot of people get offended if a priest dare deny them Holy Communion. “Everyone else does it! Why can’t I???? It’s what the community does! You’re discriminating!”
Uhhhh….whatever happened to the old “Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum” (Lord, I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof)? Oh, wait, that’s right! Nothing happened to it! It’s still said at every Mass! Ha! Silly me, I forgot. The Eucharist IS the Lord Himself and we are indeed not worthy of such a thing. It’s not bread. It’s Jesus. And there should be no entitlement mentality. The ability to receive Our Lord at Mass is a privilege. In no way do we just deserve Communion.
Not only that, one needs to be in the state of grace before he can receive Communion, so by leaving the pew and receiving he is, in fact, affirming two things: 1) that he really believes the Eucharist to be Jesus Himself and 2) that he is in the state of grace enough to receive Him (which is to say, he hasn’t committed any unabsolved mortal sins). If you don’t know what makes a sin mortal, three things are necessary: the evil done must be serious or considered serious, the sinner must know that it is serious, and he must consent to doing it anyway. If this applies to you, my dear reader, then perhaps it’s best you go to Confession as soon as possible and don’t receive Communion until you have done so.
God bless, and may His mother pray for you during this month of May,