In today’s passage, St. Paul reminds the people of Corinth to pray an examination of conscience before receiving the Eucharist or else there will be consequences. But why the harshness?
Let’s try and apply what St. Paul says to another situation. Say that for a long time, you ate and drank things that were bad for you. A little healthy food and some exercise now and then isn’t exactly going to detox the bad stuff out of your body or get you back into a healthy state. Like with every other addiction, the first step to getting better is to admit that you have a problem. Then, you need to radically change the way you eat and the habits that hold you back before you can become the best version of yourself physically.
If changes in diet and exercise affect ourselves physically, the same holds true for the soul. Jesus is divine, so the Eucharist can still change us, but if we are so filled with toxic things like anger and apathy, the Eucharist isn’t going to really affect us that much. It’s kind of like going to a party in the worst mood possible. You’re only making yourself and everyone else in the room miserable.
The Eucharist has the grace of removing the stain of the venial sins from our lives when we receive it. Mortal sin is another story. As I said earlier, Jesus expects us to live our lives filled with his grace. If we don’t, we can’t receive the Eucharist. It’s not something to be taken lightly. Thankfully, if we make the time to go to Confession, the grace is restored. If we can’t make it to confession, the prayers we pray before we receive Communion provide a temporary reprieve. However, the Church still recommends going to Confession some time after receiving the Eucharist.
None of us are really, truly worthy of receiving the Eucharist which is why before we receive this great sacrament, we say:
“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.”
For most of us, there is a period of time that we spend in silence before we go to receive communion and time spent in prayer afterward. Before I go to receive Communion, I usually pray an Act of Contrition. I ask God to help me be a better person in the week ahead. After I receive Communion, I often pray a prayer called the Anima Christi, which goes like this:
Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from Christ's side, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds hide me
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee
From the malicious enemy defend me
In the hour of my death call me
And bid me come unto Thee
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints
and with Thy angels
Forever and ever
Receive Jesus with all the love in your heart, my dearest sisters in Christ, and He will do wonderful things! God bless!