Sunday, October 19, 2014

A pastor thinks we may be receiving Communion too often

Pastor of Assumption Grotto parish in Detroit, Fr. Eduard Perrone, offers an interesting and thoughtful counter to Pope St. Pius X's recommendation of frequent, even daily, Communion in his weekly parish newsletter, "A Pastor's Descant" (updated weekly) (Assumption Grotto News, October 19, 2014). He writes:
... I’ve begun to think that we generally may be receiving Communion too often. This opinion – radical, controversial and much against the grain – is a reversal of the thought of Pope Saint Pius X who, in his time, encouraged the frequent and even daily reception of Holy Communion. His motives then must be seen in the context of the times in which he lived. Times have changed, however, and men’s attitudes have changed as well. What I’m proposing for consideration is that we fast from frequent Holy Communion for a time in order to make us hunger and yearn for Christ. Analogous to this would be the dietary problem of many Americans today who are eating far too much and too often, and as a consequence have health problems. In a similar way, we’re overeating the Holy Eucharist, being unmindful of Christ’s Presence therein, and being poorly suited to receive Him. The result is spiritual illness – ironic to say so – and perhaps even, according to Saint Paul again, physical sickness as a consequence (cf. 1 Cor. 11:30).

Consider those who receive Communion without a thought to Who it is they’re receiving; or take someone who frequently sins and confesses and receives Communion but without having made a firm resolution to sin no more. Saint Paul had sharp words of reproach to those who receive the Eucharist, without examining themselves as to whether they are worthy of Communion or those who communicate without “recognizing the Body.” Perhaps we should stop what we’re doing so thoughtlessly, taking “time out” from receiving Communion, in order to recover our spiritual senses. For this, a fast, that is, a refraining from Holy Communion for a while might help us to become healthier, expanding our desire for receiving Christ, becoming hungry for Him. Making acts of Spiritual Communion, prayers of desire to receive the Holy Sacrament, is useful towards that end. Hours of adoration and visits to the Blessed Sacrament may also help stimulate an appetite for a devout reception of the Holy Eucharist.

Am I proposing a new Jansenism? I think not. We’re sorely in need of a greater awareness of the Inestimable Gift of the Eucharist and of the requisite worthiness to receive It. We’ve become gluttonous children of God who need to hunger for Him....
Related: Fr. Perrone interviewed by parishioner, Michael Voris, on the mode of receiving Communion.


Sixupman said...

I agree, but people never went to Communion wholesale. They recognised the necessary fast - therefore Communion beyond an 09:30 Mass was out of the question. They accepted the prohibition, if one was not in a State of Grace. These 'old-fashioned' concepts have long fallen into desuetude and never mentioned from the pulpits these-days. Further, the ascendancy of "The Communal Meal" has come to the forefront. Daily recipients would be those at an 07:00 Mass week-days, small in number but with real sanctity. Of course,I am
referring to times when the 'Old Mass' was the order of the day.

Ralph Roister-Doister said...

I agree with the pastor. It is one more sacrament that has become so trivialized, denatured, and de-ritualized ("Just drop it in my hand, toots") that it is impossible for people to sense the momentousness of receiving it. That is true of just about all of the sacraments. For all the whining that we trads do about liturgies, the larger scandal is that none of the sacraments are held in appropriate esteem by Catholics anymore. Some, like confession, are regarded as damn nuisances. And others, like the "sacrament of the sick," are parodies of themselves, of what they used to be ("Extreme Unction") -- of what the souls of Catholic men and women NEED them to be. This is the unspoken scandal of V2.