An hour before Communion


I’m curious why you can’t eat an hour before recieving Jesus? Is it because it wont “work” or what? You also have to brush your teeth too and have no bad breath? :stuck_out_tongue:


I’m curious why you can’t eat an hour before recieving Jesus?

Canon law prescribes a fast prior to receiving communion. This comes from tradition, “as Augustine says (Resp. ad Januar., Ep. liv), it is customary throughout the whole world for Christ’s body to be received before breaking the fast.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, *Summa Theologica, *III, 80, 8).


At the beginning of the 20th century, Paris, you would have fasted from midnight before receiving communion, and by mid century the fast requirements were lowered to a THREE hour fast (which my older sister can remember) and then to the ONE hour fast. Which, when you consider that communion in most Masses comes at about 35 to 45 minutes into the Mass itself, means that one refrains from food/drink for all of 15 to 25 minutes before Mass starts. Factor in the time it takes to actually GET to Mass (assuming one arrives on time); the requirement is really so little! I am glad that there is still some requirement, be it ever so small, that indicates both that we approach the Eucharist as a sacrifice (by making a small sacrifice ourselves) and also that the reception of Eucharist is that of Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, real food and drink, that is hopefully seen as the special gift it is to us BECAUSE we choose to deny ourselves food and drink for a time before we receive.

And, of course, for those for whom even the one hour fast is a recognized health burden (such as a diabetic who cannot control when s/he might have a hypoglycemic attack), the requirement is abrogated. Likewise, a person who requires medication (esp. those who must take the medication with food, and at certain hours) may also take the medication and food, and still receive the Eucharist lawfully.


The fast is meant to help you build up anticipation for receiving our Lord in the Eucharist. A friend of mine recommends building additional anticipation by thinking the night before about how many hours it will be before you receive Jesus’ real presence. Then the next morning, think about it again. Use your trip to the Church to prepare yourself additionally. The entire liturgy is one big preparation for receiving the Lord. I think alot of people have forgotten that, and it is too bad. The real presence of Christ is what makes our Church special and so many take it for granted. :frowning:


I, too, agree with fasting from the midnight before. It helps remind me whats important in our lives. If you want to get a really good presentation on what the Eucharist should mean in our lives, go to the following page: Larry Richard’s Talks and click on the “Eucharist” and the “Called to Glory” links by Father Larry Richard. I’m tempted to walk into Mass without my shoes on after listening to these tracts. (If you listen, you’ll understand).



By the way, Paris, chewing gum, breath mints, and cigarettes break the fast. Necessary medicine does not, nor does brushing your teeth.


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