Sacra Tridentina 2: Frequent Communion Is A Necessity

In laying the foundation for the argument to come, Pope Pius X and his curia lean on the witness of the Gospels, both John 6 (the Bread of Life discourse) and the Lord’s Prayer:

This wish of the Council fully conforms to that desire wherewith Christ our Lord was inflamed when He instituted this Divine Sacrament. For He Himself, more than once, and in clarity of word, pointed out the necessity of frequently eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood, especially in these words: This is the bread that has come down from heaven; not as your fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread shall live forever. From this comparison of the Food of angels with bread and with manna, it was easily to be understood by His disciples that, as the body is daily nourished with bread, and as the Hebrews were daily fed with manna in the desert, so the Christian soul might daily partake of this heavenly bread and be refreshed thereby. Moreover, we are bidden in the Lord’s Prayer to ask for “our daily bread” by which words, the holy Fathers of the Church all but unanimously teach, must be understood not so much that material bread which is the support of the body as the Eucharistic bread which ought to be our daily food.

The pilgrimage of the Israelites in Exodus, and their sustenance by manna is often referred to in the Scriptures that follow, and in the Christian liturgy. Eating is such a simple and everyday action. We take it for granted at times. And yet, this is the way Christ chose to be remembered: in the weekly, regularly, daily experience of consuming his Body, so as to be open to grace.

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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.
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One Response to Sacra Tridentina 2: Frequent Communion Is A Necessity

  1. Liam says:

    Here is some useful background on the issue of frequent communion:

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06278a.htm

    The decay of frequent communion was in place at least by the early Middle Ages, so bad that the Fourth Lateran Council had to insist on at least yearly communion at Easter (which then meant the Easter octave only, a period that was gradually expanded in varying degrees country by country – in the US, the “Easter duty” can be fulfilled from the First Sunday of Lent through Trinity Sunday – that precept did not, interestingly, move back to Pentecost when the calendrical reform occurred 42 years ago…).

    Post-Tridentine reformers like St Francis de Sales and St Vincent de Paul promoted frequent communion, but the Jansenists led by Antoine Arnauld had more significant contrary influence as a practical matter on this point despite condemnation from Rome.

    Which is to say, this is a battle with a very long history in the Roman church.

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