Receiving Eucharist Unworthily

Every time I go to Mass, it seems that EVERY person goes to receive Eucharist. It seems unbelievable that everyone in attendance is in a state of sanctifying grace, and therefore worthy to receive the Eucharist according to the Church. St. Paul says “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup” (1 Cor. 11:27–28) Why does the Church define worthiness as only being in a state of sanctifying grace? This verse in I Corinthians is the ONLY verse I have come across that seems to hint towards that, however, couldn’t the verse be referring to receiving Eucharist with a BELIEF that it truly is the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity - in other words you would be worthy if you BELIEVE, and unworthy if you do not, thus profaning the Body and Blood? I am greatly troubled by the Church’s definition and teaching as I feel I am in mortal sin again nearly as soon as I ever finish reconciliation, and therefore I feel like I would NEVER be truly worthy to receive if what the Church teaches is the Truth, and I have mortally sinned by receiving Eucharist in a state of Mortal sin, even though when I receive in a state of mortal sin, I swear I can feel the grace and presence of the Lord within me. It seems that sharing in Christ’s sacrifice through Belief is the thing that can truly give us the sanctifying grace we need to try and be good disciples of Jesus, even if we are in a state of mortal sin at the time of receiving. Jesus did not withhold the body and blood from Judas at the last supper though he knew what was to happen. Please help me to understand this so I can accept it!

You sound potentially scrupulous. That can be a medical condition, and is at least a spiritual condition that needs to be overcome. Fyewereyou, I would speak to Father about all of this.

Hello friend!

Jesus is our Savior, do not think of Him as constantly judging you even for the little sins. I don’t think one can commit mortal sin immediately after reconciliation. Maybe you are just scrupulous. I was scrupulous myself and equated temptation with sin. Temptation is not sin - Jesus Himself was tempted by Satan and yet He, as we all believe, is the Sinless One.

The rule of thumb to avoid scrupulosity is by asking yourself if you are sure whether or not you have committed mortal sin. If the answer is no, then you have not committed mortal sin because mortal sin requires three elements:

  1. Grave matter (the act is very bad)
  2. Full knowledge (you are sure that it is very bad)
  3. Full consent (you did it anyway with your whole heart without resistance)

Since you are not sure, then number 2 is not fulfilled and, thus, you have not committed mortal sin. In Mass, the Confiteor (I confess…) and Kyrie (Lord, have mercy…) suffices for God to forgive you your venial sins. You can partake of the Eucharist with confidence. The Lord wants to commune in you. Partake of Him with reverence and fear but in no way think that the little sins prevent you from partaking of Him :slight_smile:

Similarly, I have noticed in our Catholic high school that the requirements for receiving the Eucharist are never explained to students. Everyone just goes up and either receives the host or a blessing. No one tells non-Catholic students that they are not supposed to receive the host; we just assume that they know this and will be respectful.

I don’t receive it (even though baptised a Catholic and having gone through the initiation sacraments) because I no longer believe that it is the transubstantiated body and blood of Christ. I choose not to profane an ancient tradition by partaking in it whilst in a state of unbelief. But that’s just me.

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