The Distribution and Reception of the Holy Eucharist
In this week’s article we will delve once again into Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI’s 2007 Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (¶ 50) and discuss the distribution and reception of the Holy Eucharist during the Sacrifice of the Mass.
Right from the onset the Holy Father reminds us that adequate preparation ought to be exercised when choosing among the faithful to help distribute Holy Communion when in cases of genuine need is necessary. For the reception of the Holy Eucharist is the very means we’re given to have a deep and meaningful encounter with Jesus Christ and it must be taken with the utmost seriousness and reverence. For proper instruction he refers us to read Redemptionis Sacramentum (Sacrament of Redemption), the instruction manual for the Mass written by the Congregation of for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Through the proper means given to us through the Church, the faithful will then be able to fully appreciate the Sacrament and not be deprived of much needed grace.
He moves on to encourage us to prepare ourselves for the precious time we have after receiving Jesus in the Sacrament by spending time in thanksgiving and silent reflection. By doing this we will show God that we are truly grateful for Him and better learn to unite ourselves, body and soul, with Him as His flesh and blood becomes one with ours.
Moreover, Pope Emeritus Benedict brings our attention to certain Holy Masses where there may be present some who do not share the Catholic faith, non-Catholic Christians, or people who are not disposed to receive the Sacrament. Therefore, during Mass – for example, at funerals, weddings and the like – he instructs us that “there is a need to find a brief and clear way to remind those present of the meaning of sacramental communion and the conditions required for its reception.”
As Catholics we have been given such a special gift, we’ve been given the gift of gifts, Christ Jesus truly present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, in the Blessed Sacrament and we must always make sure that people understand the significance of this so as to prevent them from “eat(ing) and drink(ing) judgment upon himself (1 Cor. 11:29)” by not discerning Who’s body it is they receive. – Paul A. Ray NEXT WEEK: Authentic Participation in the Eucharistic Celebration