How often to receive the Eucharist

Greetings all,

I had an interesting question given to me by my mother-in-laws husband (both Southern Baptist). We often have wonderful conversations in which he has learned that much of what he knew about the Catholic Church is not true.

Anyway, he asked me why it is that Catholics receive the Eucharist every Sunday. His pastor (who grew up Catholic but left sometime in his teens) had “preached” on the “ordinance” of the The Lords Supper and told the congregation that Jesus never said how often one needs to receive the Eucharist.

I answered him that because as Catholics we believe that we receive the real presence, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, why would someone not want to receive it as often as they can!?!?

Was that a sufficient answer or could I get add more to it?

Thanks,

Your answer is pretty much the main point. Catholics believe that the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Jesus and that receiving it is our opportunity to be in union (literally) with Jesus. Why would we not want to do that every day? Jesus said if we eat and drink, we would have his life within us. What more do we want out of life than this intimate union with God?

Of course, if you believe it’s all just a symbol, then I can see being perplexed by it. But it’s not just a symbol.

The only l thing (if anything ) I wold add is that we all need the presence of GOd in our lives, and the graces attached to the Sacrament.
People who really love Eucharist often say that when they fail to receive for whatever reason, they feel something tangibly missing form their week. I’ve even had children say that in Catholic school.
It’s not something we do to be “right” with the Church,it’s something we do out of love for Jesus. Perhaps they don’t fully understand because they are still thinking it’s just a symbol.
A wise priest once said that if people in the world REALLY understood that Jesus was fully present in the Eucharist, the doors would be bursting, and people would be shoving us out of our seats to get a glimpse of the consecration. He asked "WHERE are the thousands?"
God bless you!

Only required to receive once a year.

The Catholic Church associates the Eucharist, among other things, with the “daily bread” mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3) and, although circumstances may not always permit it, ideally celebrates the Eucharist on a daily. See the section on “Give us this day our daily bread” of the Lord’s Prayer in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2828-2837.

Participation at the Mass on Sundays and other holy days of obligation (vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P4N.HTM) and reception of the Eucharist at least once a year during the Easter season is the minimum prescribed by the current Code of Canon Law (canon 920). Daily reception of the Eucharist is highly recommended for those who are able, even two receptions of the Eucharist in a day are ordinarily permitted under certain circumstances (vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P39.HTM) or three times, if the third time is in the form of Viaticum (vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P39.HTM).

Boy they would probably be astonished that I receive the Eucharist almost every day. :wink:

I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with your answer though I think it leaves out a key concept. In particular it doesn’t speak to the graces we receive through the sacraments. Just as the Hebrews received Mana to sustain them in the desert, so to do we receive our “daily bread” to spiritually sustain us through the Eucharist. The graces I receive through the Eucharist help me to avoid the temptation to sin.

Have you ever thought about the redundancy of the petition “give us this day our daily bread”. This redundancy is because the original Greek versions of the Lord’s Prayer does not speak of “daily bread” but instead about “super substantial bread”, but what in the world does that mean? Remember that Christ taught that the mana fed the body, but the body still died. He on the other hand would provide the bread of eternal life… the early church fathers universally held that this “super substantial bread” was Christ, the bread of life, hidden in the Eucharist.

So why do I recieve the Eucharist so often? Because Christ tells us to receive Him to obtain life eternal. I beleive He also tells us why in the following petitions “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”. Frequent reception of the Eucharist gives us the graces to obtain exactly those things.

We know that the Early Christians celebrated the Eucharist every Sunday. That is why the Church does the same to this day. A Baptist should study the Early Church and reflect on their practices.

The Catholic Church associates the Eucharist, among other things, with the “daily bread” mentioned in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:11; Luke 11:3) and, although circumstances may not always permit it, ideally celebrates the Eucharist on a daily. See the section on “Give us this day our daily bread” of the Lord’s Prayer in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2828-2837.

Participation at the Mass on Sundays and other holy days of obligation (canon 1247) and reception of the Eucharist at least once a year during the Easter season (canon 920) is the minimum prescribed by the current Code of Canon Law. Daily reception of the Eucharist is highly recommended for those who are able and proper disposed, even two receptions of the Eucharist in a day are permitted under certain circumstances (canon 917) or three times, if the third time is in the form of Viaticum (canon 921).

Weren’t the early Christians daily “breaking bread” together (Acts 2:42,46), especially on Sunday, “the first day of the week”? (Acts 20:7)

All your answers are quite cozy and if it makes you fill better then good for you. Some people feel the need to fill up their spiritual emptyness constantly in order to feel justified with tomorrow’s sins being forgiven and I get that but has the question on how often Christ specifically said to take the Eucharist been answered? At least once a year? More often? I’m sure someone here can dig up a tradition someone had pulled outta their hat centuries ago presumably inspired by God’s spirit or some other saint wispering in their ear. Any opinions?

We don’t believe receiving the Eucharist justifies future sins. We are taught to avoid sin, to obey the 10 commandments.

I agree with Usige about grace - a point mostly ignored.

I think the sacrament doesn’t confer grace, but it might be an expression of our openness to grace which we must work at irrespective of our attendance in the communion queue.

The mania for frequent communion was introduced by Alphonsus Liguori and Pius X (whom I mostly highly esteem!)

Frequent is defined as once a year.

Grace abounding = the gifts He distributed when He ascended. The crown we’ll get is the crown we help someone else get.

My experience of Baptists is they need their understanding of grace deepening and broadening, rather than outside forms which we have to pick quarrels or counter-quarrels about.

The Church only requires that the faithful receive communion once per year during Easter season. However, the Eucharist being the center of worship and being offered during every mass/divine liturgy is apostolic in origin.

The Israelites were given enough manna to eat daily:
*Exodus 16: 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law or not. *

Malachi states:
1:11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering;

From Acts 2 we have:

*42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers . . .

46 **And day by day, *attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people.

Not to quote all of 1 Corinthians 11, but Saint Paul’s writings implies that they are meeting to “break bread” whenever disciples meet as Christians:

20 When you meet together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat.* 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal, and one is hungry and another is drunk. **

The Didache was written in apostolic times and states:
Chapter 14.
But every Lord’s day gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, says the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations.

And this breaking of bread was detailed earlier:
Chapter 9.
Now concerning the Thanksgiving (Eucharist), thus give thanks. First, concerning the cup: We thank you, our Father, for the holy vine of David Your servant, which You made known to us through Jesus Your Servant; to You be the glory for ever. And concerning the broken bread: We thank You, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You made known to us through Jesus Your Servant; to You be the glory for ever. Even as this broken bread was scattered over the hills, and was gathered together and became one, so let Your Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into Your kingdom; for Yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever. But let no one eat or drink of your Thanksgiving (Eucharist), but they who have been baptized into the name of the Lord; for concerning this also the Lord has said, Give not that which is holy to the dogs.

Justin Martyr is crystal clear in his first apology from the mid-second century that the Eucharist was offered each Sunday:

And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.

Anyway, Catholics can’t be accused of being unbiblical or unapostolic in how frequently we “break bread” during worship, and it certainly seems the case that the “primitive church” broke bread at the very least each Sunday, at least, insofar as they were able. The frequent breaking of bread is better supported than monthly or quarterly or yearly communion. There’s nothing a Catholic needs to defend about the Eucharist being part of every mass.

Sorry this is so hastily slapped together.

This article provides a better history than I’ve put together: newadvent.org/cathen/06278a.htm*

For practicing Catholics, it should be pointed out that the statement above is contrary to Canon VI of Session VII of the Council of Trent:

CANON VI.-If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law do not contain the grace which they signify; or, that they do not confer that grace on those who do not place an obstacle thereunto; as though they were merely outward signs of grace or justice received through faith, and certain marks of the Christian profession, whereby believers are distinguished amongst men from unbelievers; let him be anathema.

Granted, Trent does state that the grace is conferred “on those who do not place an obstacle thereunto,” so the believer must be open to it.

As often as possible. This Sacrament IS the Body and Blood of Christ.

None of the Traditions or traditions were pulled out any hat. To understand why Catholics do as they do, one needs to understand we have an unbroken line of Apostolic Succession from Peter to Francis. There are many writings that are not included in the canon of the bible but speak to the history of our T(t)raditions.

The Catholic Church was trusted with the deposit of faith directly from Jesus Christ. He gave the Church the wisdom to develop that deposit of faith including who, when, why, and how one may receive the Eucharist.

Does receiving the Eucharist give me good feelings? Yes. It is a blessing everyday I am able to receive the Body, Blood, Soul, & Divinity of Christ our Lord. I attend Mass every morning before work to pray to God for the graces I need to do my job. Being able to receive the Eucharist before stepping into my role as director of Youth Ministry in my parish helps me to know I’m following the will of God in my efforts and not the will of me.

I do not worry about tomorrows sins. I trust the Holy Spirit will guide me in making better choices to avoid sinning. Any venial sins are forgiven during Mass.

I thought the rule was not more than twice a day, and the second time has to be during a Mass?

In my area, I could attend up to five Masses on Sunday, and three every other day of the week. I should still only receive Eucharist twice, right?

Correct. I’m assuming she is talking more along the lines of daily Masses, receiving more than once a week.

I’d be happy to receive once per day. My work schedule and time for things like sleeping mean that I don’t get to Mass daily though. It’s the having to drive to a Church at a specific Mass time and be there for an hour that’s the sticking point. Many of the Masses are not scheduled at good times for working people, or even if they are, the traffic getting to them in my area adds an extra hour to the trip. I’m fortunate that I do not have very many family responsibilities (like I don’t have to make dinner for a bunch of people) and have a job with flexible hours or I would not be able to attend as much as I do.

Right now I go on Sunday and I also manage to get in somewhere between 1 and 3 extra Masses per week. I realize that if I were super disciplined I could probably be up and going to the 6 am every day but unfortunately, I’m not that saintly…still I’m doing better than the many years when I did not get there at all (and I know that was bad and I didn’t like being away from Jesus - I’m a sinner and I had problems, what can I say).

Some days when time permits, or I have a reason for wanting 2 communions, I’ll attend 2 Masses and receive twice as we’re allowed to do that.

I do try to pray every day.

The justification is for the sins you cannot avoid doing having been born in sin.

One who receives the Eucharist should have no intention of sinning mortally or venially in the future, nor any unconfessed mortal sins (in normative circumstances). The Eucharist doesn’t “allow” us to sin in the future without consequences.

Your accusation makes as much sense as accusing a Baptist of praying daily to fill up his “spiritual emptiness” and to justify sinning in the future.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.