40 Lenten Lessons on the Mass.
Lesson 38: Communion
Do you remember your first Holy Communion? Most people do, even though it was many, many years ago. Typically children make their First Holy Communion in the spring of their second grade, after having made their first confession, at about the age of reason, seven or eight years old.
What is the Eucharist? It is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ, really, truly, and substantially present under the appearances of unleavened wheat bread and wine made of grape. It is really Jesus!
Who can receive Holy Communion? Ordinarily, Holy Communion can be received by practicing Catholics who are in the state of grace and have kept the one hour fast from food and beverage.
No one is ever ‘worthy’ of receiving Holy Communion, but by receiving the Holy Eucharist we once again state that we believe and accept all that the Catholic Church teaches.
It is helpful to prepare for Holy Communion by following the readings and prayers of the Mass closely, and as you walk forward towards the communion rail, pray intensely in your heart your desire to receive Jesus.
In the USA, you may receive standing or kneeling, on your tongue or on your hand. He/she show receives the host receives all of Christ; likewise he/she who receives only the Precious Blood receives all of Christ.
You may notice that servers/acolytes assist the priest who is giving Holy Communion by holding a Communion Plate underneath the host. Why? Just in case it falls — and that happens from time to time – the server can catch it with the communion plate. That once happened to me years ago in Pittsburgh, and the attention 12 year old altar boy made a great catch. Later, after Mass, when I complimented him for his quick reaction he smiled and admitted that he plays shortstop on his baseball team.
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