There are special graces that God gives us whenever we participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
In particular, there are three graces that come from receiving Holy Communion worthily.
The Catechism lists three principal fruits of Holy Communion:
- Holy Communion augments (or deepens, increases) our union with Christ
- Holy Communion separates us from sin
- Holy Communion strengthens our charity
Let’s learn about each of these graces, and remember how blessed we are to receive Christ Himself in the Eucharist.
1. Holy Communion Augments Our Union With Christ
The Church has always taught that to truly live our life in Christ, we must approach Him through the Eucharist.
The Catechism states:
Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet…
What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life.Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1391-1392
Holy Communion is necessary for a healthy spiritual life. That is why Holy Communion is considered one of the Sacraments of Initiation, along with Baptism and Confirmation; without it, a Christian is not fully united to Christ and cannot live a life fully immersed in His love.
Holy Communion is the principal means for union with Jesus Christ. The word “communion” itself comes from com, meaning together, and unus, meaning a oneness or union. To receive Holy Communion is to be one with Christ Himself.
Jesus told us of this mystery:
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.John 6:56-57
Receiving Holy Communion can transform us so that we become more and more like Christ.
When we receive Communion, we are saying to Jesus Christ, “Here I am. Here is my life. Do with it what You will.” We surrender our entire selves to Him, and He surrenders Himself to us.
Holy Communion unites us to Jesus, which is the entire purpose of our lives.
2. Holy Communion Separates Us From Sin
The second fruit of the Eucharist is that it cleanses us of sin and strengthens us against temptation. If we are united to Christ, He will heal us of past sins and guard us in His love.
As St. Ambrose, Doctor of the Church, explained in the 4th century:
For as often as we eat this bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord. If we proclaim the Lord’s death, we proclaim the forgiveness of sins. If, as often as his blood is poured out, it is poured for the forgiveness of sins, I should always receive it, so that it may always forgive my sins. Because I always sin, I should always have a remedy.St. Ambrose
In particular, Holy Communion has the power to remove venial sins from our souls.
Such powerful and intimate union with the crucified Lord burns away our ungodly affections and unintentional sins:
…this living charity [in Communion] wipes away venial sins. By giving himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in him.The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Note that Holy Communion cannot remit mortal sins, since mortal sin has already killed the sanctifying grace in our souls and separated us from Christ; that is why we must only seek this holy union when we are in a state of grace. When our souls are cleansed in the Blood of Christ through the sacrament of confession and our bond with Christ is restored, we are ready to receive the Eucharist.
So, although Holy Communion does not remove mortal sin, it “preserves us from future mortal sins.”
Through Holy Communion, Christ strengthens our souls, sharpens our spiritual senses, and fortifies our desire for Him.
In Communion, then, we receive the spiritual weapons we need to better identify and resist grave temptations.
The Eucharist is a fire that inflames us, that like lions breathing fire, we may retire from the altar being made terrible to the devil.St. John Chrysostom
3. Holy Communion Strengthens Our Charity
By virtue of our union with Christ in the Eucharist, Holy Communion inevitably strengthens the bonds of charity within us—and by “charity,” the Church does not mean “concern for the less fortunate,” but rather she means caritas, the complete, self-emptying love of Christ.
When we are united to Christ, we are also united to one another. Jesus unites us into one Body, which is the Church.
When we receive Communion properly, we allow God to work His will into our hearts and lives. Through Him, we become better brothers and sisters to one another; better husbands and wives; better fathers and mothers. The Eucharist feeds us individually, but it is also necessary food for the unity of the faithful.
In this way, the Catechism says,
…the Eucharist makes the Church.
…Communion renews, strengthens, and deepens this incorporation into the Church, already achieved at Baptism.Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1396
Without the Eucharist, there is no Church, for without the Eucharist, there is no Christ.
The graces of the Eucharist are abundant and profound. It is the most powerful gift of God because it is the Body, Body, Soul and Divinity of His own Son. As such, we must treat the Blessed Sacrament with the utmost reverence, and only receive it when we are truly prepared.
This article was taken from the powerful digital series The Holy Mass featuring Fr. Brad Doyle. Featuring both articles, videos, and prayers, this spiritual journey is life-changing. That’s what our subscribers tell us. You can experience what they did by signing up here!