Choosing to skip Communion

I’ve seen a few posts of the Eucharist fast this morning and it got me wondering. The fast these days is only one hour, but it used to be longer (I think one point three hours and earlier even since the previous midnight?).

You typically have communion ~40 minutes into the mass for a Sunday service, so the fast is almost just a prohibition on eating on your way to church. But earlier, I could see it being more of a real physical penance, especially for people with low blood sugar, etc.

In those days, would a person who decided that the fast was hard and chose not to do it, rather to skip communion every Sunday except the required once a year be committing sin?

I know the Church only makes the explicit positive requirement to take communion once a year, but I had always imagined that more about requiring people to finally go to Confession and clear up their status vis a vis mortal sin. I had never really thought about a person in a state of grace attending a mass and then not taking communion. Can a Catholic in a state of grace licitly decide to skip the fast regularly?

No one is required to receive communion at every Mass, even if the fast has been observed.

In the days when the fast was from the previous midnight, it was common to attend an early morning Mass and have breakfast afterward. And not everyone received. The ushers did not go row by row to bring up the communicants. It was more of a random access.

No, you can’t just skip the fast because you feel like it. The Code of Canon Law requires an hour fast before communion. If someone is elderly (age isn’t defined) or has a medical condition that would be adversely affected by fasting, the fast isn’t required. The point is to be aware of what Holy Communion is. For people without medical problems, even the longer fast in the old days was not that big a deal. I remember as a child going to daily Mass before Catholic school classes began (it was required of us). We would bring our bread and jelly sandwiches (or whatever else someone brought) to school and go to Mass as a class. After Mass we would eat our sandwiches for breakfast at our desks in school after Mass.

In some places and cultures, people typically only took communion when they had just recently been to Confession, i.e., when they were sure of being in a state of grace. Pope St. Pius X, in the early 20th Century, encouraged the more frequent reception of the Eucharist by those in a state of grace. Shortening the communion fast was part of this 20th Century movement for more frequent communion. There has never been any requirement or expectation to receive communion at every Mass we attend.

Hi Paul, yes, I agree that there is no require to have communion at every Mass. I was more interested in whether the conscious decision to consistently avoid Communion because one didn’t want to fast would be sinful.

It is never a sin to attend Mass and not receive communion. Let us worry about our real sins and not imagine new ones.

Sure he can.

He just doesn’t go up and receive Communion.

Where the heart is, there also is the treasure.

If one is persistently choosing to munch on an egg McMuffin while walking into mass rather doing it 20 minutes earlier or waiting one hour for the sake of receiving the Almighty, one can see where the heart is…

This brings up something that has been on my mind. Are there any prayers that one can recite when one does not receive? I know there are a few recited during the EWTN Mass broadcast at communion time

Here is one “spiritual communion” by St. Alphonsus Liguori.

My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You have already come, and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

Diabetes receives a medical dispensation from the fasting requirement.

Yeah, that’s why I tried to frame the question in terms of the older fasting requirements. For the modern requirement, it’s really hard to justify not meeting it except for forgetfulness.

I agree. In the Diary of St. Maria Faustina she avoided receiving the Lord Jesus at the Mass because she thought she committed a terrible sin. The Lord Jesus revealed to her that her avoidance of receiving Him in Holy Communion was more serious than the sin she had committed!

humm… Think this way… Could you live eating food only once a year? So our body relies on the spiritual bread from heaven throughout the year… Without it we begin to waste and turn away… if we eat each and every day our spirits are nourished well… But before we are nourished we must want for that nourishment… If our bodies feed on the food of the earth, it is filled with the food of the earth and will lack desire for the spiritual food which nourishes our souls…Fasting and being in prayer will bring us into the ‘right’ spirit for communion with God… Jesus said we must worship in Spirit and truth…! John 4:24

Thus read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 about discerning the body of Christ…

Jesus said for us to pray this… Give us ‘this’ day our daily bread… Jesus called it daily bread because we should be filled by Jesus every day. Not just once a year… once a year is minimal… but if you really want to grow in grace, receive the Eucharist daily… When you do, you’ll find that you probably will be in a state of grace more and want for reconciliation more… For to those who have been given much, much will be expected…

Personally I have to take medicine in the morning and if I don’t eat with it I would feel sick… So either I go to very early mass and take the medicine afterwards, or wait till a later mass…There can be options around the abstinence like picking different mass times… But a person should be in the right prayerful spirit and discern the body of Christ before communion. :shrug:

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