Eucharisticum Mysterium 36-37: Communion Special and Frequent

These next two sections are closely aligned. Number 36 suggests an important connection between the celebration and reception of the Eucharist and significant (though not always sacramental) life experiences. I suppose this is a special way of introducing a certain (or a deeper) sacramentality into the event. I like the notion of the Eucharist as a means of assisting the person undergoing that liminal event:

36. It is most fitting that whenever the faithful are beginning a new state or a new way of working in the vineyard of the Lord, they take part in the sacrifice through sacramental communion, thereby dedicating themselves again to God and renewing their covenant with him.

This may well be done, for example, by the assembly of the faithful when they renew their baptismal vows at the Easter Vigil; by young people when they do the same thing in the presence of the Church, in a manner in keeping with their age; by the bride and groom when they are united by the sacrament of marriage, by those who dedicate themselves to God when they pronounce their vows or other forms of commitment; by the faithful when they are to devote themselves to apostolic service.

Note the value given to the situation of lay people dedicating themselves to service: this is exclusive of a formal commitment to religious life.

Section 37 reads:

37. Since “it is clear that the frequent or daily reception of the most blessed eucharist increases union with Christ, nurtures the spiritual life more richly, forms the soul in virtue, and gives the communicant a stronger pledge of eternal happiness, pastors, confessors, and preachers . . . will frequently and zealously exhort the Christian people to this devout and salutary practice.” [Sources chretiennes Council, Decr. de quotidiana Ss. Eucharisstiae sumptione, 20 Dec. 1905, no. 6: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 38 (1905-06) 401 ff. Pius XII, Encycl. Mediator Dei: Acta Apostolicae Sedis 39 (1947) 565.]

Pius X’s inspired encouragement of early and frequent Communion has a long reach.

Comments, anyone?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Eucharisticum Mysterium, Liturgy, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

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