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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Saturday, May 29, 2010
Why is the moment of Holy Communion so important?
This physical, public meeting of union and communion symbolizes, makes profoundly real, and pushes forward the union and communion of Heaven and Earth.
So why doesn’t the Church invite everyone to come to Holy Communion?
Because in this life we are all on different journeys to the same destination of Communion with God. We are all called to reach the moment of going to Holy Communion at the appropriate stage of our particular journey – and not before we are ready to manifest, in our public lives (even though we be far from saints) the Communion of Christ’s family. This is not a measure of our holiness but of our public belief and witness to Christ in the Church.
Why should some people not come to Holy Communion?
The main category is someone who, in the public forum, has an impaired Communion with the Catholic Church. This is because if such a person is not yet able to support that aspect of the Mass which is the symbolic and actual forming of the public family of Jesus. For example if someone is not a Catholic. Or it could include a Catholic who is clearly doing something seriously against the full familial Christian life. This includes living as if married with someone to whom they are not married (in the eyes of the Church) or having been away from Mass for more than a period easily explained by travel or illness.
Isn’t this harsh against people who might be victims of difficult, modern circumstances?
No, it is just a recognition that a particular person’s journey is at the stage of not, yet, being able to go to Holy Communion. It is a way of recognizing the difficulty of some modern circumstances and the need for healing. The pain of staying in one’s bench or coming up for a blessing (by crossing one’s hands across one’s chest) will bear fruits of healing (in God’s time), particularly for others in similarly difficult situations. To ignore this Church teaching is to lose the opportunity for healing and to damage the communion of us all.
Isn’t that judging that state of someone’s soul before God? No, it’s simply to do with the public, social, dimension of union and communion which is being formed by God – because the social dimension is crucial to us humans.
Does that mean someone who is privately, in their heart, far from God can go to Communion?
No. Another category of people who should not go to Holy Communion are those who are privately conscious of being in “mortal sin” (having done something seriously wrong knowingly and deliberately) They should refrain from going to Holy Communion until they have been able to go to confession first. But only they, with a spiritual direction or confessor, can make that judgment. Another reason for not going is if you have eaten within the hour before Communion. One can make a “spiritual communion”.
Going to Mass, even if not Communion, is very fruitful for all.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:53 am