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80. The Receiving of the Holy Eucharist

1. The Holy Eucharist, usually called the BlessedSacrament, is received sacramentally by one who actuallyconsumes the sacred species. It is received spiritually byone who, through faith and charity, desires to receive itsacramentally.

2. Man alone may receive this sacrament spiritually. Theangels see Christ in his own species, and they desire him so, andpossess him so. Only man can desire our Lord in the BlessedSacrament.

3. Our Lord is actually present in the Holy Eucharist;therefore, he who receives this sacrament, receives Christ. Eventhough a sinner receives sacrilegiously, he receives Christ. It isentirely mistaken to say that when the sacred species are touchedby the lips of a sinner, Christ ceases to be present.

4. If a person conscious of mortal sin receives thissacrament, he "eateth and drinketh judgment to himself"(I Cor. 11:29). Such receiving adds to the sin already on thereceiver's soul, the new mortal sin of sacrilege.

5. Unbelief and blasphemy, which involve contempt of God,are, in themselves, greater sins than the sin of receiving the HolyEucharist unworthily. Of course, unworthy receiving of theEucharist may be accompanied by blasphemy and contemptuousunbelief, and so it becomes the greatest of sins. But, in itself,although a very grave sin, a sacrilegious Communion is not thegreatest of sins.

6. A priest is to deny the Holy Eucharist to notoriouspublic sinners, but not to occult sinners who ask to receive thissacrament.

7. What occurs in sleep is never perfectly voluntary, andhence is not gravely sinful. Yet sometimes a sense of propriety orbecomingness suggests that one refrain from receiving the HolyEucharist after an unfortunate occurrence during sleep.

8. Except in cases of persons sick or unable to fast, itis the practice of the Church to require a fast before thereceiving of Holy Eucharist.

9. People who have always been devoid of the use ofreason, or who have become insane, are not to be given the HolyEucharist. If an insane person once was sane and had faith andreverence for God, he is not to be denied the Holy Eucharist at thehour of death, provided there is no danger of his ejecting thesacred host. Feeble-minded persons who have some knowledge of theBlessed Sacrament, and some degree of devotion, are to be admittedto Holy Communion.

10. St. Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. Serm. 28):"This is our daily Bread; take it daily that it may perfectthee daily." Those who are properly disposed should receivethe Holy Eucharist as frequently as possible.

11. No one can lawfully abstain altogether from the HolyEucharist. The Church demands a worthy Communion at least onceyearly. And our Lord himself says (John 6:54): "Except you eatthe flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not havelife in you."

12. It is a wise provision of the Church that thissacrament can be received under one form only. Reverence for thesacrament, added to the difficulty of reserving and distributingthe sacred species, has suggested that the faithful receive ourLord under the form of bread alone. This is the practice of theLatin Church. The sacrament is confected in bread and wine in HolyMass, and is received under both forms by the sacrificingpriest.

"O Lord, my God, who will seek you with simple and pure love, and not find that you are all one can desire, for you show yourself first and go out to meet those who seek you? "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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"A man should keep himself down, and not busy himself in mirabilibus super se."
St Philip Neri

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"If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel."
Thomas á Kempis

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