The Importance of Preparation for the Reception of the Eucharist


David Sadasivam

Fridays at Priory follow the same pattern week after week. Students wake up, throw on a crumpled blazer, and arrive, bleary eyed, to a first period class a minute after the bell rings. At 8:45, a sea of blue blazers move from the high school to the church where participants doze off until they irreverently shuffle forward, receive the Eucharist, and toss it in their mouth like the pretzels they ate just minutes before mass.


The purpose of this article is to call out those that are Catholic and receive communion without properly preparing. What I am suggesting is that there are many people at Priory who receive the Eucharist either in a state of mortal sin or without fasting for an hour before. The catechism states: “One who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from any food or drink, with the exception only of water and medicine, for at least the period of one hour before Holy Communion.” Since mass is second period, and communion is around halfway through mass, it is best not to eat after 8:20. This is not very difficult to do. If you do happen to eat something, however, it is okay not to receive communion. 


I am sure all of you know the requirements for a sin to be mortal: it must be a grave matter, done freely, and with full knowledge that the act is gravely wrong. I do not know anyone’s soul, so I cannot claim to know when someone has committed a mortal sin, but it is important for us to individually examine our conscience prior to receiving Holy Communion. If you believe you may have committed a mortal sin it is best to abstain from receiving the Eucharist until you can receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. In 1 Corinthians, Saint Paul states “whoever…eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”  

I see it as a simple issue: if one truly believes in the transubstantiation of the bread and wine, then they would do their best to prepare themselves for the Eucharist, and if they are not prepared, they will cross their arms for a blessing as they approach the altar. There is no shame in not receiving the Eucharist. If one does not truly believe in the transubstantiation, then there is no purpose in receiving communion in the first place, so why act in a way that “profan[es] the body and blood of the Lord”? This is not some ancient practice that is no longer important, but a vital part of our Catholic faith. I hope all at Priory take a second to understand the great gift of the Eucharist and prepare themselves properly to receive it.