the value of one Holy Communion


“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Cor. 11:26)

“The Mass is like the sun which daily illumines and warms all Christian life.” (Saint John Fisher)

On the surface of planet earth each morning the reenactment of Calvary-Love takes place in so many thousands of venues around the world – making present to us the only sacrifice capable of saving us. Life on planet earth is about salvation: it is a salvation history story. It is a story different from any other story because crucial chapters of this salvation story completed two thousand years ago are vividly made real to us each morning when Mass is said: and not only in Jerusalem (where Jesus said the first Mass) but in practically every country in the world, day in and day out, “until He comes.”

On the surface of planet earth each morning supernatural food is being harvested and placed in people’s mouths for the salvation of their souls. Who can rightly calculate the value of one single Mass on planet earth?

Father Garrigou-Lagrange states:

“…the Mass ought each morning to be the eminent source from which spring the graces we need in the course of the day, the source of light and of warmth, similar, in the spiritual order, to the sunrise in the order of nature. After the night and sleep, which are an image of death, the sun reappearing each morning restores, so to speak, life to all that awakens on the surface of the earth. If we had a profound understanding of the value of daily Mass, we would see that it is like a spiritual sunrise that renews, preserves, and increases in our souls the life of grace, which is eternal life begun. Too often, however, the habit of assisting at Mass degenerates into routine for want of a spirit of faith, and then we no longer receive from the Holy Sacrifice all the fruits that we should. Yet the Mass ought to be the greatest act of each of our days, and in the life of a Christian, more notably of a religious, all other daily acts, especially all the other prayers and little sacrifices that we ought to offer to God in the course of the day, should be only the accompaniment of that act” (The Three Ages of the Interior Life).

Consider, then, if only for a moment, the value of one Holy Communion. Father Faber states:

No one can tell how much grace lies in a single Sacrament. In a single communion lies all grace; for in it is the Author and Fountain of all grace; and, if the theological opinion be true, that there is no grace in any of his members which has not actually been first in our Lord himself, then all the grace of all the world lies in one Communion, to be unsealed and enjoyed by the degree of fervor by which we bring. The saints have said that a single Communion was enough to make a saint” (The Precious Blood).

Father Lovasik, quoting from a commentary on The Imitation of Christ, adds:

“Who can conceive or explain the excellence of the all-Divine gift which Jesus Christ bestows upon us in giving us His blessed body and blood in the Holy Eucharist, in which we receive God with all his perfections, the plentitude of His Divinity, all the virtues and graces of his humanity, and all the merits of the man-God” (A Novena of Holy Communions, TAN).

Finally, Father Garrigou-Lagrange speaks to our desire for Eucharistic nourishment:

“All food is good when we are hungry. A rich man, accidentally deprived of food and famished, is happy to find black bread; he thinks it is the best meal of his life and he feels refreshed. If we hungered for the Eucharist, our Communion would be most fruitful. We should recall what this hunger was in St. Catherine of Siena; so great was it that one day when she had been harshly refused Communion, a particle of the large host became detached at the moment when the priest broke it in two, and was miraculously brought to the saint in response to the ardor of her desire. How can we have this hunger for the Eucharist? The answer lies in our being firmly convinced that the Eucharist is the indispensable food of our soul and in generously making some sacrifices every day” (Three Ages of the Interior Life).

Comment: (Relying on Father Faber). Pause for a moment to consider how very, very fortunate we are to have this amazing sacrament. And then consider the power each holy communion has to transform our lives and to make us more and more like the one whom we receive. What mind, save the mind of God, could have conceived of such an amazing means of grace! And then think about how available this magnificent sacrament is to us: throughout the very area where we live many masses are being said every day in order that this tremendous grace may be made available to us, not just once a year, or once a month, but every day! Would it not be incredibly prudent to try and receive the Lord as much as possible? What holds us back?

Father Faber, from whom these thoughts proceed, states:

“I hardly know anything upon which I should lay greater stress in these days than a fervent devotion to the Sacraments.”

Pray to Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, for a great desire for Holy Communion, the bread of Eternal Life.

Tom Mulcahy

Reference: Primarily The Three Ages of the Interior Life by Father Garrigou-LaGrange. See the chapters on the Mass and Holy Communion.

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