Friday, May 23, 2008


Fr. Speekman at Homilies and Reflections from Australia posts this instructional bit for the Feast of Corpus Christi:

The Body and Blood of Christ - Year A

I want to mention a simple but often forgotten truth about receiving Holy Communion and that is that sometimes it can be very wrong to receive it.

Did you know that sometimes it is actually a very great sin, a sacrilege, to receive Holy Communion - that even though it is always good to come to Mass it is not always good to go to Holy Communion? Did you know that by receiving Holy Communion when we shouldn't we commit a very serious sin and we leave Mass in a worse condition than when we arrived?

If we are conscious of having committed a grave sin, what we call a mortal sin, we should definitely not go to Holy Communion until we have confessed this sin. If we do go we commit a sacrilegious communion and we need to confess that also.

Again we have the folks who will tell you to just make an act of sorrow, an act of contrition, and then you can go to Holy Communion. Please be clear about this: under normal circumstances, and I don’t have time to go into the details of the rare times when other rules apply, when it comes to a grave sin we absolutely must go to Confession before receiving Holy Communion.

When we receive Jesus himself, Lord of the Universe, Redeemer and Judge of all humanity, into ourselves, we must surely be prepared. A spotless soul, cleansed of all sin is the only place we should dare invite his presence, anything less and we dishonour and offend him.

I conclude with a word from Pope Benedict which he spoke only three days ago: We, Christians, kneel only before God, before the Most Holy Sacrament, because we know and believe that in it is present the one true God...

Not conscious of a grave sin? Is perhaps a little examination of conscience in order?
Missed a Sunday mass that you haven't confessed?
Rejecting the teaching of the church in favor of your own opinions regarding abortion, contraception, marriage, homosexuality, the all male priesthood, or whatever?

Far be it for me to tell you what to do; you have been told. I am only saying that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, present body, blood, soul, and divinity in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, has established this as the criteria. As St. Paul has warned, do not approach the sacrament unworthily, lest you eat and drink judgment.

So, even if you don't have a servile fear of God's wrath and punishment, how about displaying the filial fear which respects and loves the wishes of the Beloved Lord our Savior Jesus Christ? Should you argue, "wait, this is just a rule of the Church, not Jesus!!" I would respond that you are quite wrong to divide Christ by separating the head from the body in this way, for Jesus conferred His authority to the Apostles till the end of time, saying "whoever rejects you rejects me..."


  1. I was challenged for saying we should be totally without sin when receiving Holy Communion, even little ones. I said this in my homily for this Sunday and it's true. That's why we have the penitential rite before each Mass .. to forgive daily (venial) sins .. and why we have the penitential rite even when having a communion service in the Church or even at home.

  2. It only just occurred to me very recently that since Paul says "he who eats and drinks unworthily... is guilty of the body and blood of the Lord" -> this means it IS POSSIBLE to receive WORTHILY! - Lest one become proud, part of receiving worthily is the humble affirmation that "Lord I am not worthy..."

    This is the sort of thing that it seems like St. Augustine would have spun some great lines with (of the sort as "the Lord who made you without you won't save you without you").