By Rev. John J. Burke.
"He that eateth this bread shall live forever"
(John vi. 59)
HOLY communion is receiving the body and blood of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The clergy when saying Mass, except on Good Friday, receive under both forms. When not celebrating Mass, they receive only the one kind, the consecrated bread. In the early ages of the Church communion was given to the people under both forms.
The faithful, however, could, if they wished, dispense with one form and receive under the form of bread. This shows that the Church always taught that Christ is entire both under the form of bread and under the form of wine. At one time the faithful received under both forms; now they receive under one form, the form of bread. It is merely a matter of discipline, which the Church could change, if circumstances demanded it. Whether you receive under one form or both, you receive whole and entire the body and blood of Christ. This is clearly taught by St. Paul in the 11th chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, where he says: "Whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord."
How could a person eating that bread unworthily be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, unless the body and blood of the Lord were there under the form of bread?
Since Jesus Christ is whole and entire under the form of bread, as well as under the form of wine, the practice of the Catholic Church of giving holy communion under one form is reasonable.
Good Christians frequently receive their Lord and their God in holy communion. He inspires them with feelings of love, gratitude, and adoration. He reminds them to think frequently of their Creator—to give Him their first thoughts in the morning and their last in the evening. He gives them strength to restrain their guilty passions.
Holy Communion is the seed of immortality. "He that eateth this bread shall live forever."
This is taken from Reasonableness of Catholic Ceremonies and Practices.
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