Q: What is Holy Communion?
A: Also known as the Eucharist, Holy Communion is the ďsource and summitĒ (CCC 1324) of the Catholic faith because it is truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not in any way a symbol but literally Christís most Holy body. The bread and wine at the Mass become the holiest of holies through the priestís words by the power of God. The entire Gospel of John Chapter Six even wrote specifically on the Eucharist and how Christís body is truly present.
Some people that don't believe in the Eucharist say that Jesus meant for it to be symbolic. Well, then we look to the Gospel of John Chapter 6. That chapter is entirely on the Eucharist, and we see that when Our Lord tell them "Unless you eat my Body and Drink my Blood you will have no life within you" the people do one thing: they leave Him. If Jesus was speaking symbolically He would have said "No, you misunderstand" like He did before in the Gospels, but this time He just let them walk away. Thousands left Him, but He let them because what He spoke was literally true and they couldn't accept it.
ďSince Christ Himself has said, ĎThis is My Bodyí who shall dare to doubt that it is His Body?Ē -- Saint Cyril of Jerusalem
Q: What are Eucharistic Miracles?
A: These are outward signs of the majesty of Our Lordís true presence in the Holy Eucharist. I recognize this mirroring the Transfiguration when Our Lord on Mt. Tabor appeared dazzlingly white with Elijah and Moses. This was an outward manifestation of Our Lordís immense greatness. The Transfiguration wasnít in and of itself the greatest part of this mystery, but what is even greater is that Christ humbled Himself and kept in His immense glory while on earth.
Eucharistic miracles are the same where the Lordís greatness reveals itself and scientific testing has proven it to be true blood and tissue. Read about these beautiful miracles (1)
Q: How must Holy Communion be given to those wearing gloves?
A: Holy Communion must be given on the tongue as opposed to on the hands to those people wearing gloves. If anyone has something in their hands already do not receive Our Lordís Sacred Body on your hands and carry it back to the pews. Rather, receive the Lord on your tongue with reverence knowing that Our Lord is inside of you.
Q: What should I do if I drop Our Lordís Sacred Body or the Sacred Blood at Mass?
A: First, donít panic. Typically the priest(s) and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion will know what to do. If the Sacred Body is dropped the minister will bend down and consume the Sacred Host. If Our Lordís Body is dropped take the greatest reverence and see that no crumbs are left because this is still Our Lordís Body. Again, receive the Lord with humility and devotion and take care to ensure Our Lordís Body is not tarnished. If the Precious Blood of Our Lord is dropped, step away and the minister will cover it with a purifier to absorb the Sacred Blood of Our Savior. Again, it is not sinful to unintentionally drop Holy Communion, but take special care that someone knowing what to do is notified as soon as possible.
Q: What should one do if they spill the Precious Blood on their clothes?
A: Immediately, clean the area but wash it with reverence again. Donít throw your shirt in the washing machine like you would other clothes but wash it by hand and dry it outside so the Precious Blood naturally drains into the ground. All churches have a special sink leading straight into the ground because these are used to show special devotion to Our Lord where if any Precious Blood is left it will be naturally deposited in the earth.
Q: If I suspect someone is taking the Eucharist from Mass without the intentions of giving it to the sick what should I do?
A: If someone takes Communion back to the pew and doesnít consume it PLEASE report it to the priest or a minister if the priest is unavailable immediately. Sometimes people will take Our Lordís Body to desecrate it and this destruction of Our Lord in the Eucharist is by far the greatest of all evils.
Q: Can Holy Communion ever be denied?
A: It can be denied to individuals in a public act of scandal. For example, if one regularly known non-Catholic is at a Mass and wishes to receive Holy Communion it is to be denied. For the most part this is not very common as I have heard. Also, if one suspects a person is going to desecrate the Eucharist it can be denied.
Q: Are there special conditions on Receiving the Eucharist?
A: Yes! One must be a Catholic in good standing with the Church. (2)
Q: How many times a day can we receive communion?
A: Holy Communion can be received twice a day although the second time must be in the context of a Mass. For example, if someone went to a Communion service and afterwards to Mass then he/she could receive Our Lord both times. But, if a person attends Mass and a Communion service they are not to receive the Eucharist again.
Q: What act of reverence should we show before receiving Holy Communion?
A: An act of reverence must be made before receiving Holy Communion because it is showing reverence to Our Lord truly present before us. Typically to prevent Communion lines from becoming full of jams, one should either bow or make the sign of the cross before hand. Some can still kneel before receiving Our Lord, but I would ask anyone doing this to talk with their priest about this as I wouldnít want people unintentionally being tripped in church.
Q: What is Intinction?
A: Intinction is only allowed to be performed by the ordinary minister of Holy Communion (i.e. the priest). It is where the Sacred Host is dipped in the Sacred Blood of Christ. In the Byzantine Rite one receives the Lord without saying ďAmenĒ but the priest puts the Host dipped in the Sacred Blood in the personís mouth. Those receiving this way always have their head tipped backwards. This form of receiving Holy Communion is rarely observed in the Roman Catholic Rite because of the risk of dripping the Lord's body and blood on the ground. When observed, the priest has a minister standing at his side holding the consecrated wine and he takes a particle of the consecrated bread and dips it. He then says "The body and blood of Jesus". A paten must be held under the Body and Blood to prevent any from falling to the ground. (3)
Q: What is the Eucharistic fast and how long is it?
A: The Eucharistic fast is a one hour fast before receiving Holy Communion to observe a period of reflecting and spiritual hunger for Our Lord. Only medicine and water are allowed before hand, but if one needs to eat for serious medical reason this can be circumvented.
1. Eucharistic Miracles
The Real Presence Association
2. Conditions on receiving the Eucharist
by Colin Donovan, STL on 4/8/2004
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