I know that there is a limit of 2 times a day when receiving the Eucharist, but WHY? We are receiving Jesus every time we get the Eucharist, so why would you limit it to just twice? I cant think of any downfalls to receiving, just positives. We receive grace, venial sins are forgiven, Christ strengthens us,… And for me personally, I am filled with the greatest joy every time I receive our Lord. I love God and I love the Eucharist, so why am I not allowed to recieve Him as many times as I want?
I understand your questions. I’ve read the limit on receiving the Eucharist twice in one day (I’ve also read you may receive a third time, but only in the immediate danger of death) was put in place because some of the congregation would go to multiple churches, for the sole purpose of receiving the Eucharist for its “magic” salvation powers; I may be wrong, but I’ve read this before and I thought I should share it.
You are indeed correct.
Some individuals would “parish hop” around town making sure to receive the Body of our Lord at each particular Church. They would come late, leave early, and move on to the next church right as communion was beginning.
The limit keeps people from seeking out the Eucharist for “magical” powers of salvation by trying to load up on Grace.
And to the OP, why limit Jesus by allowing people to receive more than 2 times in one day? Is he not sufficient once in that day?
There is a downfall, that we believe that the Eucharist is some kind of power pill that we just keep popping in to make us more holy. That is why they came up with the limit in the first place.
Indeed! In fact in the early Church you can’t even receive the Eucharist more than once a week. In fact some people would go years without receiving the Eucharist (which is why the other law, the “you must receive once per year during Easter” was imposed). While frequent reception is good, too frequent is bad because we lose sight of the real purpose of the Eucharist and would tend to make it into some sort of talisman that we have to keep having so that we could be good.
All wonderful answers above…They all seem to be talking about something similar and what we see so often on these boards.
I can easily see someone with issues of scruples getting into trouble.
Here we see people constantly feeling the need to go to confession and such. In a similar way (and long ago when the rules were instituted) a person might feel the need to constantly receive the Lord “lest they be lost”…
So to help these folks and others with similar issues, a clear directive is given that they can easily embrace and follow without concern.
I was thinking more in terms of some people who might have tendencies towards superstition (as opposed to scrupulosity.) Actually, when I was a kid, I recall being taught that the Eucharist was to be received only once daily at the maximum (except in the case of a second reception as viaticum.) I don’t know when the twice a day limit was imposed. Maybe I was just snoozing in religion class when Sister taught it!
Some pious practices can get a little off the chain and head over into the area of superstition, and Catholics need to be aware of the possibility. One I recently heard of concerns the Rosary. Of course, it’s wonderful, and encouraged, to pray the Rosary frequently. However, hanging a rosary on your rosebush isn’t going to produce good weather on your wedding day, and it’s probably at least a venial sin of superstition to do so (although I’m certainly no expert!)
All of your responses make sense, and i know of people who abuse the Eucharist in that sense, but what if simply you want to receive because you love the Mass and the Eucharist. Like if you went to 5 FULL Masses because you love Mass and receiving the Eucharist. Would it still be wrong? I dont do that, because I know it breaks Canon Law, but I vwould so do that if I could.
The Eucharist gives me so much joy, and strength. And being in communion with God also helps me discern. Is it so wrong that I want to receive more than once?
Monks who pray all day don’t go to Mass more than once per day. That says a lot of what our piety towards Mass should be. While it is good to experience the Kingdom of God in prayer and worship, there is a lot more we need to do throughout the day than constantly be in Mass.
And that is why the law is in place. Rather than a situation where you have a good reason for attending a third Mass (e.g., went to daily Mass, then a funeral Mass, and then a Wedding Mass that evening), you just want to go to five full Masses without any situational reason to do so except that you want to. In the case of having a good reason for attending that third Mass, if you asked the priest beforehand if you can receive a third time, 95% of priests will tell you yes, despite it being against the law, because they know you have a good reason and you’re not looking to violate the spirit of the law.
The spirit of the law is to stop you from doing what you wish to do: Attend and receive 5 times for no reason other than desire. The pastoral experience of the Church is that people rarely stop there. If attending and receiving 5 times is good, receiving 18 times is better! And as much as a person will say, “I’ll only go 5 times and stop there!”, they don’t.
Parishes have seen people get so involved in being at Mass and various devotions, and volunteering for things in the church that their family life suffers because they are neglecting their familial duties! The history of the law is to stop the scrupulous and the superstitious from abusing the sacrament and requests for dispensation for no reason other than desire will be most likely met with a firm ‘no.’ Requests for dispensation because of a good, situational reason will unlikely be given as a general norm lest people start abusing that ‘rule of thumb,’ however, as I mentioned above, most priests will give dispensation for that one extra Mass on a case-by-case basis if there is good reason other than desire.
The laws on communion reception are actually stricter than “you can only receive communion twice in one day.” You can’t receive communion a second time if it’s not within the context of Mass (ie: Liturgy of the Word with Communion distribution doesn’t count, etc), unless it’s received as Viaticum. The third time may only be received as Viaticum.
We don’t receive more Jesus or graces by receiving multiple times in a day, just like we don’t receive more Jesus if we receive under both species rather than just one.
I would like to share the thought of my ICKSP rector who gave a friend some wise pastoral advice. He noted that while it is lawful to receive twice in a day, it is not necessarily a good idea. His reasoning: It is difficult enough to be properly disposed to receive the Eucharist once in a day, let alone twice. Well said, Canon, well said.
In addition to the reasons already given…
Those of us who are married, have children, attend school, have careers, etc. are supposed to be living out our Catholic Faith in the world. Most Catholics have duties to family, community, employers, etc. (I don’t mean to dismiss the responsibilities of the ordained or those who are professed religious but they do[size=1] [size=1]have a dut[size=1]y to pray beyond what is required of the typical lay person[/size][/size].)
While weddings, funerals. liturgical functions, etc can be good reasons for attending Mass multiple times per day, there comes a point when the desire to receive communion can be almost selfish. Perhaps that desire to receive communion more than once (or twice) should be channeled into some other form of prayer/adoration or into service for others.
As I was reading the various responses…I thought of the old problem in computer programming of being caught in a “loop” where the system can’t move forward, it just keeps doing the same function over and over. The desire to receive multiple times is kind of like this…It can actually be a barrier to spiritual growth.
Also - becoming so caught up in receiving the Eucharist reduces the amount of time that one is able to spend actually giving Jesus to the world.
It is only in recent decades that the Church has permitted the second reception--traditionally it was once per day, period. Trust in the wisdom of the Church.
[quote="catholicrobot, post:1, topic:309095"]
I know that there is a limit of 2 times a day when receiving the Eucharist, but WHY? We are receiving Jesus every time we get the Eucharist, so why would you limit it to just twice? I cant think of any downfalls to receiving, just positives. We receive grace, venial sins are forgiven, Christ strengthens us,... And for me personally, I am filled with the greatest joy every time I receive our Lord. I love God and I love the Eucharist, so why am I not allowed to recieve Him as many times as I want?
Eastern Catholics do not have the limit in their code (CCEO) but also frequent Divine Liturgies in one day are not common. Receiving the Holy Eucharist once a day is sufficient for each day.
Saint Basil of Cappadocia wrote in Letter 93, 378 A.D., about receiving as often as possible, which then could be daily:
It is good and beneficial to communicate every day, and to partake of the holy Body and Blood of Christ. For He distinctly says, "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life." And who doubts that to share frequently in life, is the same thing as to have manifold life. I, indeed, communicate four times a week, on the Lord's day, on Wednesday, on Friday, and on the Sabbath, and on the other days if there is a commemoration of any Saint. It is needless to point out that for anyone in times of persecution to be compelled to take the communion in his own hand without the presence of a priest or minister is not a serious offence, as long custom sanctions this practice from the facts themselves. All the solitaries in the desert, where there is no priest, take the communion themselves, keeping communion at home. And at Alexandria and in Egypt, each one of the laity, for the most part, keeps the communion, at his own house, and participates in it when he likes. For when once the priest has completed the offering, and given it, the recipient, participating in it each time as entire, is bound to believe that he properly takes and receives it from the giver. And even in the church, when the priest gives the portion, the recipient takes it with complete power over it, and so lifts it to his lips with his own hand. It has the same validity whether one portion or several portions are received from the priest at the same time.
That is in agreement with the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
1388 It is in keeping with the very meaning of the Eucharist that the faithful, if they have the required dispositions, receive communion each time they participate in the Mass. [Cf. CIC, can. 917; AAS 76 (1984) 746-747] 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." [Sacrosanctum Concilium 55]
Apparently a Latin Catholic priest may receive more than twice as Canon 919 §2 mentions celebration of the Eucharist three times in a day:
§1 Whoever is to receive the blessed Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from all food and drink, with the sole exception of water and medicine.
§2 A priest who, on the same day, celebrates the blessed Eucharist twice or three times may consume something before the second or third celebration, even though there is not an hour's interval.
§3 The elderly and those who are suffering from some illness, as well as those who care for them, may receive the blessed Eucharist even if within the preceding hour they have consumed something.