This week I was reading the blog of Monsignor Charles Pope from the Archdiocese of Washington DC and wanted to share something he wrote pertaining to Eucharistic piety on a personal level:
The Eucharist is a sacred meal that requires of us something more than just “showing up.” There are warnings against irreverent reception, in which the Eucharist is regarded as ordinary or is treated casually.
Is the Church merely being “fussy” about Holy Communion? No more so than were St. Paul and the Holy Spirit, who inspired him to write and warn us against unworthy reception of the Eucharist. Rather, the Church is charitably exhorting us to receive the Eucharist but also warning those who are unprepared to refrain from reception. Indeed, Scripture warns that the unworthy reception of Holy Communion brings not a blessing but a condemnation. This is God’s teaching, not mine.
Perhaps an analogy can be found by noting that some people are allergic to penicillin. For them, a drug that has saved many lives can be life-threatening. Similarly, sinners, though not by accident or genetics but by choice, will find that the Eucharist—life-giving to many—is not so for them when in such a state. In charity, the Church teaches that those individuals unprepared to receive Communion must refrain from doing so until the problem is resolved. This is charity, not cruelty or a lack of hospitality.
...Indeed, [here] questions arise as to what is meant by mortal sin and how dissenters, those in serious sin, and those in invalid marriages or other irregular situations should be handled. Such questions and issues must be handled charitably and equitably by the Church, but not in a way that violates the principles given by Scripture and Tradition on the need for worthy reception of Holy Communion. The clear instruction of Pope Benedict XVI, written as Cardinal Ratzinger, deserves to be reiterated and needs to be better taught and applied with clarity and charity:
Presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion should be a conscious decision, based on a reasoned judgment
regarding one’s worthiness to do so, according to the Church’s objective criteria, asking such questions as: “Am I in full communion with the Catholic Church? Am I guilty of grave sin? Have I incurred a penalty (e.g.,
excommunication, interdict) that forbids me to receive Holy Communion? Have I prepared myself by fasting for at
least an hour?” The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a
consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected (2004 Ratzinger Memo to Cardinal
McCarrick, # 1).
May God bless you and make you a saint!