why do we receive the sacrament of holy eucharist
Of all seven sacraments, the Holy Eucharist, or Holy Communion, is the most central and important to Catholicism. Holy Communion is offered at every Mass, and in fact, the ritual of the Mass is largely taken up with preparing the
hosts (wafers made of wheat and water, or gluten-free) and wine to become the body and blood of Christ and the congregation to receive the body of Christ. Transubstantiation is the act of changing the substances of bread and wine into the substances of the Body and Blood of Christ. The Holy Eucharist refers to Christ s body and blood present in the consecrated host on the altar, and Catholics believe that the consecrated bread and wine are actually the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ. For Catholics, the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist isn t just symbolic, it s real. When you receive Holy Communion, you re intimately united with Jesus Christ he literally becomes part of you.
Also, by taking Holy Communion, you express your union with all Catholics who believe the same doctrines, obey the same laws, and follow the same leaders. This sense of participation in a larger community is why Catholics (and Eastern Orthodox Christians) have a strict law that only people who are in communion with the Church can receive Holy Communion. In other words, only those who are united in the same beliefs are allowed to receive Holy Communion. The Holy Eucharist is food for the soul, so it s given and eaten during Holy Communion at the Mass. However, how it s distributed varies a bit, depending on whether you attend a Latin (Western) Rite Mass or a Byzantine (Eastern) Rite Mass: Latin (Western) Rite: Holy Communion is in the form of consecrated unleavened hosts made from wheat flour and water, just like the unleavened bread used by Jesus at the Last Supper.
The host is flat and the size of a quarter or half-dollar. Latin Catholics may receive the host on their tongue or in their hand if the local bishop and the national conference of bishops permit. Byzantine (Eastern) Rite: Catholics receive consecrated leavened bread (the yeast or leaven symbolizes the Resurrection), which is placed inside the chalice (cup) of consecrated wine. The priest takes a spoon and gingerly places a cut cube of consecrated bread soaked in the consecrated wine inside the mouths of the communicants without ever touching their lips or tongue. When boys and girls make their First Holy Communion (usually in second grade), it s a big occasion for Catholic families. Like their Baptism, the day of First Communion is one filled with family, friends, and feasting after the sacred event has taken place in church.
Girls typically wear white gowns and veils and often look like little brides, and boys wear their Sunday best or new suits and ties bought for the occasion. The children are generally too young to appreciate all the theological refinements, but as long as they know and believe that it s not bread or wine they re receiving but the real Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, then they are old enough to take Holy Communion. You must make your First Penance, which is going to confession for the first time, before making your First Communion. The Sacrament of Eucharist, also known as Holy Communion, is the third of the Sacraments of Initiation. Even though we are required to receive Communion at least once per year (our Easter Duty), and the Church urges us to receive Communion frequently (even daily, if possible), it is called a Sacrament of Initiation because, like Baptism and Confirmation, it brings us into the fullness of our life in Christ.
In Holy Communion, we are eating the True Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, without which you shall not have life in you (John 6:53). Because of the intimate connection of the Sacrament of Holy Communion to our life in Christ, we must be free of any grave or mortal sin before receiving it, as St. Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29. Otherwise, as he warns, we receive the Sacrament unworthily, and we eateth and drinketh damnation to ourselves. If we are aware of having committed a mortal sin, we must participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation first. The Church sees the two Sacraments as connected and urges us, when we can, to join frequent Reconciliation with frequent Communion.
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