Frequent reception of the Eucharist discouraged?


I am reading Introduction to the Devout Life and it says in there that daily communion should not be received unless specifically recommended under the guidance of a spiritual director.

I always though Catholics should receive communion as frequently as possible as long as they are not in a state of mortal sin.

Additionally I saw that catechism #1417 “warmly recommends” reception of the holy eucharist each time you participate in the celebration of the Eucharist.

Is daily/very frequent communion encouraged for persons not in a state of mortal sin?


Frequent communion has traditionally meant weekly reception (every Sunday). Saint Francis de Sales encouraged weekly reception. He also did not say that daily communication was a bad thing. Only that it be done with the blessing and counsel of a spiritual director. In the same work by Saint Francis he also goes to some length in explaining the necessity of preparing for Holy Communion the evening before and the morning prior. For those that love the Holy Eucharist, due reverence and love must be afforded to Our Lord. And so the saints and their spiritual children have always made extensive spiritual preparation.

Can you imagine doing such intense spiritual exercises daily? It can be hard! Daily communion is by no means a bad thing. One simply has to be guided and be sure that they are in the right place to make the most of it.

Yours in Jesus and Mary,


If I were in a position to receive Communion daily or almost daily, which I am not, then I would make sure to examine my conscience extra carefully and on a more regular basis.


Introduction to the Devout Life was first published in 1609, about 400 years ago. There are exceptions but it is generally the case that people did not receive communion as frequently then.

There is great diversity in the recommendations on frequency of communion throughout Church history and depending on whom you listen to. In some religious communities the various members were instructed how frequently to receive.

St. Francis de Sales may have been responding to the influence of Jansenism but I am not sure of this - it is just a thought. There clearly was a debate about frequency of communion at the time however. The Council of Trent a few years earlier had addressed the issue.

The Catholic Encyclopedia discusses the history of the idea of “frequent communion.”

(a) The rules for frequent and daily Communion are laid down by the decree of the Congregation of the Council “Sacra Tridentina Synodus” (20 Dec., 1905). (1) "Frequent and daily Communion. . . should be open to all the faithful, of whatever rank and condition of life; so that no one who is in the state of grace, and who approaches the holy table with a right and devout intention, can be lawfully hindered therefrom."

Pope Pius X encouraged frequent, even daily reception.



Eastern Catholic Canon Law (CCEO)

Can. 881.3. The Christian faithful are strongly recommended to receive the Divine Eucharist on these days and indeed more frequently, even daily.

Latin Catholic Canon Law (CIC)

Can. 918 It is highly recommended that the faithful receive holy communion during the eucharistic celebration itself. It is to be administered outside the Mass, however, to those who request it for a just cause, with the liturgical rites being observed.

Can. 1247 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass. Moreover, they are to abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body.


Good point, but shouldn’t one be disposed to a regular robust examination of their conscience regardless of being in a position to receive the Blessed Sacrament?


If any of you have read the “Journey of a Soul” the personal story written by St. Therese of Lisieux, you would perhaps have noticed that she had to have permission from her Confessor in the Convent to receive the Eucharist, and it was not even weekly – and that was in the 1800’s!! Prior to her entering the Carmel, when she was living at home, she was only permitted to receive the Holy Eucharist a few times each year. The same was true for her Father and older sisters, although her Father went to the local Church to pray daily and to daily Mass, he still could only receive Holy Eucharist a few times a year. It was not until the 1900’s that more frequent Eucharist was permitted in many places, even for consecrated Religious in enclosure (cloistered Nuns). Thank God, we are now permitted to receive Our Lord frequently. For those who wonder about the preparation of the spirit and examination of conscience prior to receiving, I recommend reading the preparation St. Therese was taught as a young girl, both for her First Communion (a THREE day retreat preparation at the local Convent school), her second time was a 24 hour retreat and preparation, and after that, her older sister took her through preparation (when she had left the Convent School) much of the afternoon and early evening prior to reception of the Eucharist. Of course, Confession preceded EVERY reception of the Holy Eucharist back then – about 4 or times a year on certain Holy Days, Easter & Christmas only. The Church has relaxed these rules in all Dioceses, and encourages everyone IN A STATE OF GRACE to receive. (I suppose the Bishop or Cardinals in the area set up these infrequency rules, the Church did not limit Communion this way). I see a lot of people go to Holy Communion every week, over 40 or 50 of them each week, but the Confession line is seldom more than 3 - 4 people in any week, and usually the same people over a month’s time. I actually had an RCIA teacher tell me she didn’t believe that Confession to a Priest was necessary, that she believes in confessing alone in prayer at home, and only goes every month or two because of her position with RCIA. She has not had an RCIA student in the past 3 years. Wonder why??? (She does teach Confession as a requirement, or did when she last had students 4 or 5 years ago). I can remember that we had (in a very small Parish) up to 10 RCIA Candidates every year. And that was just 8 or 9 years ago.


Good post. I know when we were preparing for our First Penance, we were instructed to tell all our sins. To seven year olds, lying, stealing, and gossipping were considered very serious sins. One wonders what they teach kids now, that they’re all only venial, if they’re sins at all?

It seems the Popes who have encouraged frequent communnion themselves confessed frequently as well.


I remember when I was nine years old, and went to Confession before Mass every Sunday. I always had the same sin: I disobeyed my Mother. After about 2 months of this (in the old style Confessional box), the Priest certainly knew my voice, at least. Finally he said to me “why do you keep doing that?” My response: “I just can’t help it!” Father put up with that for a year!! Oh yes, I also had to confess at least once a month that I had lied to my Mom. My reason for the Priest: “because I didn’t want her to know I did something she told me not to do!”


I could be wrong but I believe Pope Pius X encouraged the receiving of Holy Communion daily.


I tend to receive Communion daily as I usually (try to) go to Daily Mass. I go to Confession once per month regardless of my soul’s state and whenever else it is required (when i commit a mortal sin).

My understanding is that, as long as we are not aware of having committed any mortal sins, we are encouraged to receive. At least, this is the criterion I use for myself. As far as I’m aware, even if our soul is not spotless (ie even if we have substantial venial sins) it is good to receive as the Eucharist cleanses our body from all venial sin and frequent reception of it leads us away from habitual venial sin. I have experienced such a journey myself since I started to receive frequently.

Someone please correct me if I’m wrong as there seems to be some disagreement about this on this thread.


That makes perfect sense. It would not be beneficial if one began to treat the Sacrament casually, and taken for granted.


400 years ago, life for the average person was slower and more even-keeled and less busy. A person might stay in the same town for their entire lives, and the rhythms of daily life were dictated by the seasons, and followed a regular pattern from day to day and year to year.

I can see why receiving Holy Communion less frequently would be OK back then. So little changed from year to year. Life passed slowly, and life was finished in 30 years.

But in 2014, life moves at a frenetic pace, and for most of us, the rhythm is erratic and jarring and stressful. We try to plan, and then all our plans go awry due to circumstances out of our control. There is no regular pattern. Each day brings new crises, new stresses, new tragedies and also, new joys, new highs, new wonders. Each week, we hear about a new invention, and many of these inventions make our communications even faster and make the world smaller and smaller. Travelling the world and even outer space (by the rich) is becoming the norm, and even those who don’t physically travel anywhere can visit via media. Life is a wild ride, and for many of us in the U.S., at least, that ride lasts for many decades.

I think that in this frantic day and age, with so many changes from moment to moment, it is good for us to frequently receive Jesus in Holy Communion at the Mass. We need Him.



This past August I was at a Catholic youth camp for six days, and since there was Mass every day, I ended up receiving the Eucharist every day, too. It was great. When I got home and wasn’t able to go to Mass for a week, I could tell something was missing.


I also found this from the catechism ( ):
1388 It is in keeping with the very meaning of the Eucharist that the faithful, if they have the required dispositions, receive communion when they participate in the Mass. As the Second Vatican Council says: “That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest’s communion, receive the Lord’s Body from the same sacrifice, is warmly recommended.”


Introduction to the Devout Life
St. Francis of Sales

“As to daily Communion, I neither commend nor condemn it; but with respect to communicating every Sunday, I counsel and exhort every one to do so, providing the mind has no attachment to sin. So says S. Augustine, and with him I neither find fault nor unconditionally commend daily Communion, leaving that matter to the discretion of every person’s own spiritual Guide; as the requisite dispositions for such frequent Communion are too delicate for one to advise it indiscriminately.”

This is not discouraging daily communion. No one should approach the sacrament without proper disposition for reception.



And that is precisely my only reserve. I personally know that I could not give the Sacrament due reverence and preparation to communicate daily. The goal in our spiritual lives should be to reach such a state wherein we can worthily receive daily. But I make no mistake. A worthy communion takes a lot more than merely not being in a state of mortal sin.

Yours in Jesus and Mary,


catholiclady 11,

just wondering if you’re reading or going through the purifications and meditations?



No one is ever worthy to receive Communion. We are all poor sinners. It is my understanding of Catholic policy that one can always approach the Communion rail if one does not have any mortal sin in his soul


When I said that we should always desire to make a worthy communion I meant in so much as we have done all that we could possibly do to prepare for the communion. That is due preparation and the appropriate thanksgiving. It is true that the only requirement is not to be in a state of mortal sin. I simply stated my own personal policy of receiving only after I’ve felt that I have given the Sacrament everything that I have.

I have far too often went up and knelt without any real preparation, almost on a mere whim. I personally believe my communions are worth more and deserve more than that.

Yours in Jesus and Mary,

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