A Sign of True Renewal

A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to… receive the Body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession…” (Canon Law 916)

A lot of Canon law defies my comprehension; it dizzies my head and makes me put the book down as I fall back into something not unlike a faint.  But the above-cited Canon 916 is clear.  I think perhaps Holy Mother Church made Canon 916 so simple for folks like me.  In case we got ourselves all mixed up and confused, she wanted to make herself perfectly clear.

As Catholics, we believe in transubstantiation — that the Host is transformed into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ during the Consecration at Mass.  When one receives Communion unworthily, then Christ’s Body is profaned, and we bring judgment upon ourselves.  Receiving our Lord unworthily may even make us sick.  “Whoever therefore, 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.  A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup.  For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.  That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying.” (1 Cor 11:27-28)

When we are at Mass, we shouldn’t saunter up to Communion as if we are in line at a cafeteria to get cookies and milk.  We must prepare our souls for Communion, fasting for at least one hour prior, and also examine our consciences.  If we are rightly disposed, then each Communion helps us grow in sanctifying grace.  But if we are not, then each Communion only does more damage to our souls.  If we were willfully to receive Communion while in a state of grave sin, then we would be committing another grave sin called a sacrilege.  One problem with being obstinate in sin is that with each successive Communion we heap more sacrilege, and thus more sin upon ourselves.

It is unpopular today to think one might not be admitted to anything and everything.  In our “touchy” society we become offended if anyone is left out of anything.  Our “tolerant” culture makes it difficult to handle the following truth: Communion is not always for everyone.  It is only for everyone, if everyone is in a state of grace. 

Is it possible that in today’s world all Catholics going to Communion are in a state of grace?  If everyone was in a state of grace, then why is it so easy to observe in most churches that the length of the confession line on Saturday is typically a micro-milli-fraction of the length of the Communion line on Sunday?  Could it be because, in our pornographic-adulterous-promiscuous-abortive-homosexual-inebriated culture, Catholics are committing only venial sins?  One would hardly believe so. 

It seems that these days while most Catholics like to receive Communion, few like to repent.  And this is understandable to me.  I am part of a Catholic un-catechized generation, after all.  My un-catechized self drifted through grammar school, high school, college and into marriage attending Mass after Mass after Mass.  One day, a priest stood at the pulpit, talking about sin and sacrilege and the need for confession.  I was dumb-founded.  This priest also discussed Our Lady’s request at Fatima that we attend confession once a month.  Since that time, I brought my un-catechized self into confession, and have tried, through books, DVD’s, CD’s and study, to re-catechize myself.  The Catholic faith is so rich and so deep, that I plan to do this my entire life.  And when my life is done, I still won’t get it all.

As adults, we are responsible for our own spiritual growth.  Although God can put in our hearts a love for Catechetical and Biblical study, it can not be forced down our throats.  Priests willing to stand at the pulpit and preach difficult Catechetical truths of the faith will help inspire and strengthen us.  So will prayer.

May we be granted the grace to see our sins in the way they are seen by our Lord.  With a turn from sin and to confession, may we may sanctify our souls and purify our hearts as we seek Him with love and receive Him in grace.  Perhaps the time has come for churches to stop counting activities, and start counting the number of souls who seek forgiveness through confession.  When that number approaches the number of souls who come to Communion, this will be a sign that true renewal is at work in the Catholic Church.

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  • yblegen

    As another one of the un-catechized generation, I, also, have been desperately trying to catch up through books, CDs, DVDs and seminars.

    Not just because I am so hungry to know and learn and understand. Because there are so many like me, un-catechized, who are searching for the Truth and don’t know where to go. Some are in adulterous relationships, others are divorced and remarried without seeking an annulment, others have decided that they can pick and choose what to believe is true or false about Catholicism because their hearts have become hard and yet, they all go to Communion without even realizing that their souls may be in jeopardy.

    Most, of the Catholics I know, however, simply don’t have a clue about why they are Catholic and many don’t want to take the time to find out. Yet, my simple mission is not to preach to anyone, but if anyone wants to know the Truth, I give them a CD or recommend a book, this internet cite or any piece of information I have on hand.

    I cannot face my Lord and tell me that I was too busy watching the latest TV show (whatever that is) when someone around me was dying inside and I was too lazy to read a book that could reach a soul. Even if I just reach one person, my mission will be complete.

    Look at the moral destruction around us that has resulted from an un-catechized
    generation. What would happen, I wonder, if there is a army of catechized Catholics who know the Truth?

  • krby34

    yblegen – I was not raised a un-catechized by the church because I was not raised Catholic. However I was therefore un-catechized because my parents were members of a protestant church and i was not taught proper doctrine. That changed when my Catholic wife prayed for several years and eventually I wandered into a RCIA and started learning some really good stuff! The next year I joined the RCIA team and the year after that I was the lead facilitator (I had years of training in doing adult education/training so I wasn’t completely green to training just not a lot of experience with Catholocism.)

    But because of the numerous resources I have never stopped “taking it in” and like Mary Ann I shall probably die having consumed wonderful resources for many years and still having just broken the surface of it all.

    My point is that during my year of RCIA the leader (Rod) made a point in a statement to our group. The story goes like this:
    Rod dies and when he approaches the pearly gates he is met by Jesus with a big hug. Rod exclaims out in surprise “I made it to heaven I am so relieved!” Jesus looks at Rod and says “Rod my friend your love for me was unquestionable I knew you would be here with me! I just have one question for you though. Tell me who all did you bring with you?”

    When the weight of that story hits home we realize the true pressure of walking in Christ’s footprints. There was no question of Jesus’ love for His Father so Jesus would be in heaven, the question was who did he bring with him. He did his part to bring everyone! Our part in that is to carry our portion of the cross in bringing those we touch along with us through our actions, words, and love. Just like He did. Giving up TV for a good book or even THE Good Book seems like such a small suffrage compared to what Jesus was willing to do. And like Jesus I too am rewarded with new life in the things I come to know and understand!

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  • Grace Harman

    Someone needs to reach our pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians with this eye-opening information and same for those on the Supreme Court. Because of them, we have all become victims of the “culture of death”.