Why must we be in a state of grace to receive the Eucharst?


#1

Bear in mind I am not saying we shouldn't be striving to be sin free, and I am not saying that confession isn't important, as I have felt incredible healing through the sacrament. I am just curious, if Christ came to save the sinners (i.e. all of us), then why can we not receive Him when we are in a state of sin? This is assuming we have felt genuine remorse and have firm intention to amend our actions and not repeat the sin, and just have not had those sins forgiven before receiving the Eucharist. I would love if someone could point me in the right direction on what to read on this.


#2

The principle is similar to how we must be purged prior to entering heaven, for nothing unclean shall enter it, as it says in Revelation. As well, think of the Garden of Eden, the dwelling place of God. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, they were banished. There is a certain incompatibility between divinity and sin. In the Eucharist, we are given the sacramental presence of the eternally divine. Thus in this temporal foretaste of that eternal perfection, we must show a sign of sinlessness to receive him. Though still imperfect here, the sacramentally veiled presence permits we who are sinful to show a sign of our worthy union with him. It's really a statement about the purity of divinity. I would presume that we can still approach with venial sin because otherwise no one could receive, and also because the presence of Christ is fully real, though veiled sacramentally. In the afterlife, the sacramental veil will be lifted, for we shall see him as he is.

For further reading, I would read 1 Corinthians 10-11, especially the context of 11:28.

:o


#3

I would say that it has to do with the fact that 'sin' and 'grace' are actual realities, with actual effects. The Eucharist isn't magic -- it works in us and through our ability to receive the graces present in it. Therefore, the more you are disposed toward grace, the more grace you are able to receive from the Eucharist. Of course, at the far end of the scale, if you are not disposed toward grace -- that is, if you are in a state of mortal sin -- then you cannot receive graces from reception of the Eucharist.

'Sin', too, is a reality. To deal with sin, the Church provides sacramental reconciliation. One goes to confession not just to say "I did it", but to actually restore his relationship with God. Without that restoration, it's not possible to benefit from the Eucharist.

When I was a kid, there were tons of gasoline additives on the market -- some claimed to clean a car's inner workings, others claimed to improve gas mileage, etc, etc. Now, you could put all the 'additives' into your tank that you want -- but if the tank was empty of gas, then they did no good. It's a simplistic analogy, but I think it holds on a basic level: without some level of grace present in a person, he cannot benefit from reception of the Eucharist. Only the restoration of some level of 'gas in the tank' (i.e., some grace restored through confession) can allow the healing and strengthening benefits of the Eucharist to do their thing... ;)


#4

[quote="MarcoPolo, post:2, topic:324724"]
The principle is similar to how we must be purged prior to entering heaven, for nothing unclean shall enter it, as it says in Revelation. As well, think of the Garden of Eden, the dwelling place of God. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, they were banished. There is a certain incompatibility between divinity and sin. In the Eucharist, we are given the sacramental presence of the eternally divine. Thus in this temporal foretaste of that eternal perfection, we must show a sign of sinlessness to receive him. Though still imperfect here, the sacramentally veiled presence permits we who are sinful to show a sign of our worthy union with him. It's really a statement about the purity of divinity. I would presume that we can still approach with venial sin because otherwise no one could receive, and also because the presence of Christ is fully real, though veiled sacramentally. In the afterlife, the sacramental veil will be lifted, for we shall see him as he is.

For further reading, I would read 1 Corinthians 10-11, especially the context of 11:28.

:o

[/quote]

Thanks for the suggested reading! As I was thinking about it, my reason for wondering was from the Our Father. "Give us this day our daily bread," which I have seen in direct connection to Holy Communion (Christ being the bread of life). Since we know that the Eucharist is indeed our daily bread, and is what sustains us in our spiritual well-being, there was just the question over the details of what is going on between grace and our state of sin.

Indeed, sin and grace are real, not just fabrications to control people's actions. As far as the grace you receive from the Eucharist, the most profound experience I had from being in its presence was on Holy Thursday this year. I was so moved I had almost come to tears. Yet, before I had attended mass that Thursday I had not had a chance to go to confession (though I couldn't say whether or not I had committed any mortal sins between my last confession and that time!)


#5

[quote="RedFox0456, post:4, topic:324724"]
As far as the grace you receive from the Eucharist, the most profound experience I had from being in its presence was on Holy Thursday this year. I was so moved I had almost come to tears. Yet, before I had attended mass that Thursday I had not had a chance to go to confession (though I couldn't say whether or not I had committed any mortal sins between my last confession and that time!)

[/quote]

Here's the thing, though: if you assert "I couldn't say whether or not I had committed any mortal sins", then by definition, you haven't! Mortal sin requires not only grave matter, but also full knowledge and deliberate consent. Therefore, there's no way to commit a mortal sin "my mistake".

So, what you're describing, then, is one of two things:

Either it's a response to the reality of the Eucharist (i.e., knowing that it is truly Christ, you responded emotionally to it, out of desire for union with Christ), or,

it was actually your soul's response -- in a state of grace (if not perfect, then at least only venially so) -- to the grace of the Eucharist.

These are exactly what we're talking about here! Only in a state of grace -- even if it's imperfect -- can you respond to the Eucharist in the way that you did!


#6

[quote="MarcoPolo, post:2, topic:324724"]
The principle is similar to how we must be purged prior to entering heaven, for nothing unclean shall enter it, as it says in Revelation. As well, think of the Garden of Eden, the dwelling place of God. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, they were banished. There is a certain incompatibility between divinity and sin. In the Eucharist, we are given the sacramental presence of the eternally divine. Thus in this temporal foretaste of that eternal perfection, we must show a sign of sinlessness to receive him. Though still imperfect here, the sacramentally veiled presence permits we who are sinful to show a sign of our worthy union with him. It's really a statement about the purity of divinity. I would presume that we can still approach with venial sin because otherwise no one could receive, and also because the presence of Christ is fully real, though veiled sacramentally. In the afterlife, the sacramental veil will be lifted, for we shall see him as he is.

For further reading, I would read 1 Corinthians 10-11, especially the context of 11:28.

:o

[/quote]

I like this!

Jesus washed his disciples feat before the supper. Not everything, which i would take as not needing baptism again, but washing ourselves from our journey. The failings of our ordinary lives.
But your imagery of purgatory before heaven is good. I think that saints have expressed how purgatory can and does in a real way, begin at our conversion. In this life it is almost entirely voluntarily, while after death, its suddenly upon us. We see with faith now, then we will be blinded with His revealing. Then it will hurt to have dirt in us. Now, its up to our conscience to receive clean.

Now i better read the other replies:D
Michael


#7

[quote="Gorgias, post:3, topic:324724"]
I would say that it has to do with the fact that 'sin' and 'grace' are actual realities, with actual effects. The Eucharist isn't magic -- it works in us and through our ability to receive the graces present in it. Therefore, the more you are disposed toward grace, the more grace you are able to receive from the Eucharist. Of course, at the far end of the scale, if you are not disposed toward grace -- that is, if you are in a state of mortal sin -- then you cannot receive graces from reception of the Eucharist.

'Sin', too, is a reality. To deal with sin, the Church provides sacramental reconciliation. One goes to confession not just to say "I did it", but to actually restore his relationship with God. Without that restoration, it's not possible to benefit from the Eucharist.

When I was a kid, there were tons of gasoline additives on the market -- some claimed to clean a car's inner workings, others claimed to improve gas mileage, etc, etc. Now, you could put all the 'additives' into your tank that you want -- but if the tank was empty of gas, then they did no good. It's a simplistic analogy, but I think it holds on a basic level: without some level of grace present in a person, he cannot benefit from reception of the Eucharist. Only the restoration of some level of 'gas in the tank' (i.e., some grace restored through confession) can allow the healing and strengthening benefits of the Eucharist to do their thing... ;)

[/quote]

Oh yes, it isnt magic! Its not lucky charms! :D

Michael


#8

[quote="RedFox0456, post:1, topic:324724"]
if Christ came to save the sinners (i.e. all of us), then why can we not receive Him when we are in a state of sin?

[/quote]

That's like asking why can't God forgive an unrepentant sinner. Christ teaches that we must repent before we can be forgiven, so to be in the state of mortal sin and receive Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist would be a sacrilege. The first step to conversion is to repent of sin. "Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying: The time is accomplished, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe the gospel." Mark 1:14-15

Also, it's one thing to be sorry for sin out of fear of hell; it's quite another to be sorry for having offended God.


#9

[quote="Gabriel_Serafin, post:8, topic:324724"]
That's like asking why can't God forgive an unrepentant sinner. Christ teaches that we must repent before we can be forgiven, so to be in the state of mortal sin and receive Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist would be a sacrilege.

[/quote]

As I stated in the OP, I understood the need to be repentant, etc. The question was more on the metaphysical details of Communion; the interaction between the Host and the soul of the person receiving it.


#10

[quote="RedFox0456, post:9, topic:324724"]
As I stated in the OP, I understood the need to be repentant, etc. The question was more on the metaphysical details of Communion; the interaction between the Host and the soul of the person receiving it.

[/quote]

You mean like why is it profaning the Lord?

If you cheat on your wife or treat her with dishonor, do you expect that sex with her, without confessing to wrong doin and apologizing, would be pure? It would be a lie. Treating her nice while secretly dishonoring her.

When Judas received while planning his selfish ambitions, the devil entered him!

When the Corinthians treated each other without charity, they were receiving Gods sacrificial love while being selfish themselves. It is a contradiction of Spirit.

We must receive Him in the same Spirit that He is given to us.

Michael


#11

[quote="RedFox0456, post:9, topic:324724"]
The question was more on the metaphysical details of Communion; the interaction between the Host and the soul of the person receiving it.

[/quote]

I think the answer is found in the fact that sin is the misuse of both intellect and free will, and that God is Truth, Goodness and Beauty itself. "The Host" Is Christ Himself; Who is God. Since the purpose of the intellect is Truth, and the purpose of free will is Goodness and Love, when we freely misuse our intellect and will we are rejecting God. Holy Communion is a sacramental Union with God. Thus, to partake in this sacrament in the state of sin would be a sacrilege, that is--- defiling something that is Holy.


#12

[quote=Gabriel Serafin]I think the answer is found in the fact that sin is the misuse of both intellect and free will, and that God is Truth, Goodness and Beauty itself. “The Host” Is Christ Himself; Who is God. Since the purpose of the intellect is Truth, and the purpose of free will is Goodness and Love, when we freely misuse our intellect and will we are rejecting God. Holy Communion is a sacramental Union with God. Thus, to partake in this sacrament in the state of sin would be a sacrilege, that is— defiling something that is Holy.
[/quote]

I followed you until the end, but I am pretty sure we can’t defile God. As you said, it is Christ Himself.

[quote=rcwitness]You mean like why is it profaning the Lord?

If you cheat on your wife or treat her with dishonor, do you expect that sex with her, without confessing to wrong doin and apologizing, would be pure? It would be a lie. Treating her nice while secretly dishonoring her.

When Judas received while planning his selfish ambitions, the devil entered him!

When the Corinthians treated each other without charity, they were receiving Gods sacrificial love while being selfish themselves. It is a contradiction of Spirit.

We must receive Him in the same Spirit that He is given to us.

Michael
[/quote]

I think the case of Judas isn’t quite appropriate for your explanation. It would make sense if I suggested we have sinned and intend to continue to sin - in which case I totally understand why not to receive communion. Of course, in that case, confession wouldn’t help since you would intend to keep sinning and so the confession wouldn’t actually be valid!

Suppose I find myself out and about Saturday night and fall to temptation for [choose your poison], but find myself realizing what I had done and am then remorseful. There was a rejection of God’s will when the sin was committed, but an epiphany that it was wrong to disobey Him. Unfortunately, the next day at mass, in spite of a repentant heart, I am ineligible to receive communion, lest I compound my sin. My reason for curiosity is that Christ did not turn away repentant sinners, and yet we are told not to receive Him should we find ourselves having sinned. I know the Eucharist provides spiritual nourishment, but I would just have almost thought it would have a healing effect on the soul of the repentant.

I was hoping to be directed to an official reading from the Church that would explain this (perhaps somewhere in the Catechism?), but so far I think the question has been misinterpreted as a challenge to Church teaching. I just want to know what is happening on the spiritual level when we receive Him - why the soul of a repentant sinner is not fit to encounter Christ when He had nothing but kindness for those who repented before Him in scripture. I think I am going to schedule a meeting with my pastor so he can explain this to me.


#13

I didn't meant to offend with the notion of going to my pastor. Your comments have been insightful. It's just that direct conversation is sometimes required to flush out a full understanding with some topics!


#14

[quote="RedFox0456, post:13, topic:324724"]
I didn't meant to offend with the notion of going to my pastor. Your comments have been insightful. It's just that direct conversation is sometimes required to flush out a full understanding with some topics!

[/quote]

Hey no offense taken. It is hard to get an idea of what you are asking. On the one hand, you seem to be asking why we cant receive in a state of sin, then seem to be asking why not with a repentant heart but without confession.

I think there are more than one issue at hand with your question. ?

If the sin is grave, then confession to whomever you may have offended as well as a priest would be necessary. If venial, then true remorse is all that is necessary.

But i would never think someone shouldnt ask their pastor about something troubling them:)

Peace
Michael


#15

Oh, it's not that I have something troubling me. I was just curious about all of the subtle details in the sacraments. Not about the process, as I know we are to be in a state of grace - which is attained through confession, but just why certain things function the way they do. This is why I think chatting with my pastor would be helpful - it's easier to really get at the heart of the question when direct dialogue is involved.


#16

[quote="RedFox0456, post:1, topic:324724"]
Bear in mind I am not saying we shouldn't be striving to be sin free, and I am not saying that confession isn't important, as I have felt incredible healing through the sacrament. I am just curious, if Christ came to save the sinners (i.e. all of us), then why can we not receive Him when we are in a state of sin? This is assuming we have felt genuine remorse and have firm intention to amend our actions and not repeat the sin, and just have not had those sins forgiven before receiving the Eucharist. I would love if someone could point me in the right direction on what to read on this.

[/quote]

The Church has the power to bind and loose sins and with exercise of that authority set the requirements for reception of the Eucharist.


#17

[quote="RedFox0456, post:12, topic:324724"]
I just want to know what is happening on the spiritual level when we receive Him - why the soul of a repentant sinner is not fit to encounter Christ when He had nothing but kindness for those who repented before Him in scripture. I think I am going to schedule a meeting with my pastor so he can explain this to me.

[/quote]

I hope you dont mind another comment...?

When the sinners approached Jesus, he was not sitting them down to Break His Bread with. This Sacrament came at the end of His life. And because it needed to be seen in the whole context of His life, death resurection and Church Body. Furthermore, when sinners came to Jesus and He accepted and forgave them, its because they were confessing. They were repenting in an open way, right? They received absolution. That is what we do when we see the priest. We approach Jesus in this way first. Because we are connected to His body. Sin is against the whole body. Jesus is mysteriously made real through His Whole Church.
That being said, when we go before Him to actually eat His Divine Sacrifice, we are not confessing our sins at the same time. That demands two separate intentions. He calls us to receive in a clear conscience, thankfull and hopefull.
Dont get me wrong, i sense some of your question. Its hard not to go to receive with some fear and trembling. But the whole idea of unworthy to receive, is either in an ignorant state of sin, or an unfinished repentence of a grave sin.

I'll let some others give you better answers now. Sorry, just wish i could help. I will keep it in mind regarding some catechism resources

Michael


#18

[quote="RedFox0456, post:12, topic:324724"]
I followed you until the end, but I am pretty sure we can't defile God. As you said, it is Christ Himself..

[/quote]

Whoever receives the Holy Eucharist in the state of mortal sin is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Thus a sacrilege is the irreverent treatment of something sacred, i.e. the Holy Eucharist.

[quote="RedFox0456, post:12, topic:324724"]
Christ did not turn away repentant sinners, and yet we are told not to receive Him should we find ourselves having sinned. I know the Eucharist provides spiritual nourishment, but I would just have almost thought it would have a healing effect on the soul of the repentant..I just want to know what is happening on the spiritual level when we receive Him - why the soul of a repentant sinner is not fit to encounter Christ when He had nothing but kindness for those who repented before Him in scripture.

[/quote]

As a Catholic you are bound by the laws of the Church, and if confession is available, that is part of your repentance. This is the way Jesus wants it--- thus we have to do what Jesus teaches us. We must live on God's terms---not on our own. Thus, *we must repent and confess our sins. *Confession is part of that repentance. The priest has the POWER to absolve sins---and confessing one's sins to another man takes humility and sincerity. It's quite easy to simply rationalize "I'm sorry for my sins, so God will forgive me" but this ignores the fact that Christ Himself gave power to His apostles to absolve or retain sins. You can't forgive your own sins, thus even priests have to confess their sins to another priest..

As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Thus Jesus also warned:

Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.--Matthew 7:21
http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/421/listeningtochrist.jpg


#19

[quote="RedFox0456, post:15, topic:324724"]
Oh, it's not that I have something troubling me. I was just curious about all of the subtle details in the sacraments. Not about the process, as I know we are to be in a state of grace - which is attained through confession, but just why certain things function the way they do. This is why I think chatting with my pastor would be helpful - it's easier to really get at the heart of the question when direct dialogue is involved.

[/quote]

It's not that hard to look it up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. A little effort produces much fruit. Here you will find all your answers: CLICK THIS


#20

[quote="Gabriel_Serafin, post:19, topic:324724"]
It's not that hard to look it up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. A little effort produces much fruit. Here you will find all your answers: CLICK THIS

[/quote]

Unfortunately that did not teach me anything I didn't already know regarding Penance, and the section on the Eucharist just says that one must be in a state of grace, but not why. However, there is a video that explains it pretty well. It refers to 1 Corinthians, which was pointed out much earlier, and which helped, but they went a little farther with things.

catholic.com/video/why-you-need-to-be-in-a-state-of-grace-for-communion

Not that the answers of, "Because the Church said so," were invalid. I fully accepted that fact, it was just a curiosity of why the Church had come to that conclusion. I apologize if you feel as though you've wasted your time. Hopefully while helping me out you got a chance to polish your knowledge on scripture and Catholic teaching.


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