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79. The Effects of the Holy Eucharist

1. Our Lord said (John 6:52): "The bread which I will giveis my flesh for the life of the world." The life of which ourLord speaks is the spiritual life of grace. The Holy Eucharist isthe richest source of grace, for it is the sacrament which isChrist himself, by whom alone grace comes to man.

2. The attaining of heaven is an effect of the sacramentof Holy Eucharist. For Christ says (John 6:52): "If any maneat of this bread, he shall live forever." Those who receivethis sacrament worthily are immediately helped toward eternalglory. The Holy Eucharist is Christ, and it represents his Passion;it is only by Christ and his Passion that men can win toheaven.

3. To receive the Holy Eucharist worthily, a man must befree from mortal sin. Our Lord has prepared for us a sacrament tocleanse us from such sin. Hence, it would be sacrilegious for aperson conscious of deliberate mortal sin to receive the HolyEucharist. He must first cleanse his soul of mortal sin byreceiving worthily the sacrament of penance. Although the HolyEucharist contains all power, it was not instituted for the purposeof forgiving mortal sins.

4. Nevertheless, the Holy Eucharist does "blot outvenial sins, and it wards off mortal sins from the soul," asPope Innocent III has said. Hence, St. Ambrose declares that thisdaily Bread is a remedy for our daily infirmity.

5. The Holy Eucharist was not instituted for makingsatisfaction for sins, but for giving spiritual nourishment byuniting Christ with his members. This union, however, is effectedby charity, and charity obtains forgiveness and renderssatisfaction. A person who receives the Holy Eucharist worthily,does not receive full remission of the punishment due to his sins,but he does receive some remission of that punishment; the extentof this remission of punishment is measured by the devotion andfervor of the person receiving the Holy Eucharist. Also as asacrifice (that is, as offered in Holy Mass), the Eucharistmakes satisfaction according to the devotion "of theofferers," and "of those for whom the sacrifice isoffered."

6. The Holy Eucharist is a most powerful preservative fromsin. It gives a person spiritual nourishment which strengthens himagainst inner weakness, and it also arms him against assaults thatcome from without. St. John says (6:50): "This is the breadwhich cometh down from heaven; that if any man eat of it, he maynot die." Manifestly, St. John speaks here of the spiritualdeath of sin.

7. Thus, the Holy Eucharist is of the greatest benefit tothose who receive it. It is also of the highest benefit to thosefor whom it is offered in the sacrifice of the Mass.

8. Venial sins committed in the past do not hinder theeffects of the Holy Eucharist, and, as we have seen, the devoutreceiver of the Holy Eucharist obtains remission of such sins. Butvenial sins that accompany the receiving of the HolyEucharist partially hinder the effects of this greatsacrament; yet they do not entirely block out thesanctifyinggrace and charity which the sacrament bestows on a man'ssoul.

"Many words do not satisfy the soul; but a good life eases the mind and a clean conscience inspires great trust in God."
Thomas á Kempis

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"This is the greatest wisdom -- to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."
St Philip Neri

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