On the Frequency of Receiving Holy Communion….. and shunning scruples.

Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say unto you: except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood abideth in me: and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead. He that eateth this bread shall live forever.” (John 6: 53-38)

Everlasting life! Everlasting happiness in God’s presence! Is that not what we all yearn for one day? So why is it, when these words of Jesus are so clear and precise, do we not seek to receive His Sacred Body and Blood in reverent and frequent Holy Communion? Why are we sometimes so laid back or preoccupied with other trivial matters, making excuses for not being able to ‘find time’, to give just one hour to God to receive such a sublime gift…. not just on Sundays but as often during the week as possible? Men have walked miles, in the severest of conditions, have made enormous sacrifices and taken great risks, for this very privilege…… so what is wrong with most of us, who have it so easy? Is it just a matter of laziness, or we troubled by self-doubt?One reason may well be scruples, for the devil will try every trick to put obstacles in our way to keep us from receiving Or Blessed Lord. The saints knew all about scruples, and below are some examples of their advice to us on how to tackle them.

St. Padre Pio assures us to beware of scruples and to “Spend a great deal of time in the presence of God. Beware of anxiety and restlessness because there is nothing that more greatly impedes progress towards perfection. Sweetly place your heart in the wounds of Our Lord…….. He will not abandon you.”

As long as one is in a ‘state of grace’ (i.e. free of mortal sin), nothing in this world is of more value than the frequent reception of Holy Communion.

From “The Imitation of Christ”:

“Thou oughtest often to have recourse to the Fountain of grace and of Divine Mercy; to the Fountain of all goodness and purity; that thou mayest be healed of thy passions and vices, and be made more strong and vigilant against all the temptations and deceits of the devil. The enemy, knowing the very great advantage and remedy which is in Holy Communion, strives by all means and occasions, as much as he is able, to withdraw and hinder faithful and devout persons from it. For when some are preparing themselves for the sacred Communion, they suffer the greatest assaults of Satan. This wicked spirit, as it is written in Job, cometh amongst the sons of God, to trouble them over-fearful and perplexed, so that he may diminish their devotion, or by his assaults take away their faith, if, perchance, they may altogether forbear the Communion, or at least approach it with tepidity.

But there is no regard to be had to his wiles and suggestions, be they never so filthy and abominable; but all his attempts are to be turned back upon his own head. The wretch is to be condemned and scorned, nor is Holy Communion to be omitted for his assaults and the commotions which he causeth.” (Bk. IV, ch. X)

From a letter of St. Therese of Lisieux:

“Remember that Our Lord is there in the tabernacle just for you, for you alone, and that He is consumed with a great longing to come into your heart. Pay no heed to the devil, despise him, and go without fear to receive Jesus, the God of peace and love.

I can hear you saying: “Therese does not know in what a miserable state I am, that is why she thinks as she does”…. But she does know, she guesses all, and she repeats that you can go without fear to receive your only true Friend. She has also passed through the martyrdom of scruples, but was given the grace to continue going to Holy Communion even when she thought that she has sinned grievously.* She saw that it was the only way to drive the devil away; if he sees that he is wasting his time, he leaves us alone.

If, as you tell me, you can only find rest kneeling before the tabernacle, you could not possibly offend Our Lord so grievously as not to be able to receive Him. It is lack of confidence that wounds the Sacred Heart. Pray hard that your best years may not be frittered away in empty fears. We have only the brief moments of this life in which to work for the glory of God; the devil is aware of this, and so tries to make us waste them on useless work. If you want to be cured, the only remedy is frequent, very frequent Communion.”

(*It is believed that St. Therese never committed a single mortal sin during her short life.)

St. Jean Vianney:

“What does Jesus Christ do in the Eucharist? It is God who, as our Saviour, offers himself each day for us to his Father’s justice. If you are in difficulties and sorrows, he will comfort and relieve you. If you are sick, he will either cure you or give you strength to suffer so as to merit Heaven. If the devil, the world, and the flesh are making war upon you, he will give you the weapons with which to fight, to resist, and to win victory. If you are poor, he will enrich you with all sorts of riches for time and eternity. Let us open the door of his sacred and adorable Heart, and be wrapped about for an instant by the flames of his love, and we shall see what a God who loves us can do. O my God, who shall be able to comprehend?

The soul hungers for God, and nothing but God can satiate it. Therefore He came to dwell on earth and assumed a Body in order that this Body might become the Food of our souls.”


Prayer: “Spouse of my soul, I place all my troubles and fears in your loving arms. Regardless of the uproar of my enemies, I will trust in You. Amen”


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4 Responses to On the Frequency of Receiving Holy Communion….. and shunning scruples.

  1. Gillam says:

    Except, the ancient view is that it is necessary to receive Communion once in one’s life.

    Daily Communion, weekly Communion is not part of the Tradition of the East, nor until Pio X was it part of Western Tradition.


  2. annem040359 says:

    As the scripture says, “taste and see that the Lord is good.”


  3. annem040359 says:

    Question: Was it Pope Pius X that made the reception for the first time at a much early age for first holy communion?


  4. kathleen says:

    Yes Anne, you are quite right. It was indeed this great Pope, St. Pius X, who lowered the age of children from almost 12 years to 7, to enable them to partake of Our Lord’s Sacred Body in Holy Communion when reaching ‘the age of reason’.

    From the Catholic Herald (two years ago) came this article:

    A child’s first Communion is like the beginning of a journey with Jesus, in communion with him: the beginning of a friendship destined to last and to grow for his entire life,” wrote Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera.
    Today, he said, “children live immersed in a thousand difficulties, surrounded by a difficult environment that does not encourage them to be what God wants them to be”.
    “Let us not deprive them of the gift of God,” the cardinal wrote in the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.

    The cardinal’s article marked the 100th anniversary of the decree of Pope Pius X, Quam Singulari Christus Amore (“How Special Christ’s Love”), which reversed the decades-old practice of delaying first Communion until a child was 10 or 12.

    St Pius said delaying the reception of Communion until long after the child reaches “the age of reason”, generally accepted to be about seven years of age, was the result of the erroneous belief that “the most holy Eucharist is a reward rather than a remedy for human frailty”.

    You might be interested to know that it was little Nellie of Holy God, only four years old, whose deep love and desire to receive the Holy Eucharist, was the ‘sign’ the Holy Father was seeking to change this rule. See BB’s lovely article on this little girl: https://catholicismpure.wordpress.com/2010/11/14/little-nellie-of-holy-god/


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