We should keep on receiving communion as often as possible if we have this one good habit.
Would it be a good thing to receive communion more often? This is a question that King Louis, who went on to become a saint, never even considered. He would “hear” two Masses every day, as they referred to it then, which meant that he attended two “low Masses” in a row but, like all the Friars Minor and Dominicans of that time, he only received communion seven times a year, at the great feasts. It wasn’t because of a lack of trust in God; they did it out of their great respect for the Body of Christ in the Eucharist, and they only received communion after preparing for a long time.
Nowadays, thanks to Pope Leo XIII and later St. Pius X’s energetic insistence on a return to the early practices of the Church, we Catholics find it normal to receive communion every time we go to Mass. And given that the rules of fasting before communion are more lax, it hardly takes any special effort to prepare, no matter what time the Mass is. So nowadays, many Catholics receive communion every Sunday and even every day—even if they haven’t gone to confession or rarely pray. What should we make of this?
Receive communion as often as possible, with one condition
Communion is only helpful if, in the hours preceding it, we intensely repeat to Jesus that we need Him and we beg Him to fill our hearts. After communion, as well, we should take time to speak to him. Then, the “body-to-body” Eucharist will grow into a true “heart-to-heart” Eucharist that will last the whole day.
The holy Cure of Ars, St. John Vianney, warned his priests against the habit they had of rushing off to read the newspaper as soon as the Mass was over, instead of continuing the dialogue with He whom they just had in hand and given to the faithful.
For her part, the mystic Marthe Robin came to say that prayer was actually more important than daily communion. In fact, she said that prayer “demands much more effort. Besides, sacramental communion may not be possible during a long period because of different trials that God sends to his creatures to test them. Prayer is always possible, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Communion does not always imply virtue: we can be guilty and receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Nor does daily prayer necessarily imply that we are virtuous, but it is a test to see if we are making a serious effort to be so.”
Thus, we should keep on receiving communion as often as possible, if we have that good habit of prayer and confessing grave sin. But these communions should be the high point of our day: a high point whose ascension we prepare ourselves for and whose descent “in the hands of Jesus” is done with a heart full of joy.
Abbot Pierre Descouvemont