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St. Cyprian’s guide to the reception of Holy Communion

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Philip Kosloski - published on 06/20/22

St. Cyprian, a 3rd-century bishop, briefly explained who should approach the altar for Holy Communion.

In a Treatise on the Lord’s Prayer, the 3rd-century bishop St. Cyprian briefly explains who should receive Holy Communion.

He explains, “Now, we who live in Christ and receive his eucharist, the food of salvation, ask for this bread to be given us every day. Otherwise we may be forced to abstain from this communion because of some serious sin.”

St. Cyprian teaches a fundamental truth about the reception of Holy Communion. For him, it is a sacrament to be given to those “who live in Christ” and who have not committed a “serious sin.”

He adds that, “Clearly they possess life who approach his body and share in the Eucharistic communion.

What’s interesting is the way St. Cyprian adds, “For this reason we should be apprehensive and pray that no one has to abstain from this communion, lest he be separated from the body of Christ and be far from salvation.”

As Christians, we should desire that everyone can participate in Holy Communion and actively pray that any obstacles to Communion be removed.

However, the truth remains that serious sin can prevent us from Holy Communion and the way to remove that sin is through the sacrament of confession.

May we look at ourselves and any sin that may prevents us from receiving the Eucharist and pray that everyone else will similarly be able to share at the Table of the Lord.

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