Holy Communion and Mortal Sin

When receiving Holy Communion, baptized Catholics experience Jesus in the most intimate way and therefore must be in a state of grace, free of any mortal sin.

The Eucharist must be respected because Jesus is truly present. What appears to be bread and wine is his very Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity which Jesus said must be eaten to have Eternal Life.

A person who is in a state of mortal sin lacks the Sanctifying Grace which is necessary to go to Heaven and their communion with Jesus and his Church is harmed.

Deliberately rejecting the grace of God by committing mortal sin and then receiving Holy Communion profanes the Eucharist. This assault against Jesus is spiritually harmful to the unfit person.

Catholics who are aware that they freely chose to commit any serious sin should receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation so they can receive absolution from a priest and restore their worthiness to receive Holy Communion.

In addition to being in a state of Grace, Baptized Catholics who receive Holy Communion must believe that Jesus is present in the Eucharist and believe all that the Catholic Church teaches.

If a person is unable to receive Holy Communion sacramentally, they may make a Spiritual Communion.

The most intimate interaction with Jesus:

Expressing the deepest union with God:

For as often as you eat this Bread and drink the Cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes. Therefore whoever eats the Bread or drinks the Cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the Body and Blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the Bread and drink the Cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the Body, eats and drinks judgment on himself

1 Corinthians 11: 26-29

It’s all about relationship:

In communion to receive Communion:

To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: “Whoever, therefore, eats the Bread or drinks the Cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the Body and Blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the Bread and drink of the Cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the Body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to Communion.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1385

To receive a person must be worthy:

Properly disposed to healing and nourishment:

It is not only that Penance leads to the Eucharist, but that the Eucharist also leads to Penance. For when we realize Who it is that we receive in Eucharistic Communion, there springs up in us almost spontaneously a sense of unworthiness, together with sorrow for our sins and an interior need for purification. But we must always take care that this great meeting with Christ in the Eucharist does not become a mere habit, and that we do not receive Him unworthily, that is to say, in a state of mortal sin. The practice of the virtue of penance and the sacrament of Penance are essential for sustaining in us and continually deepening that spirit of veneration which man owes to God Himself and to His love so marvelously revealed.

Pope John Paul II, Dominicae Cenae, 24 February 1980

Spiritual communion for those who cannot receive sacramentally:

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

You are worth more to Him:

Share this page with friends and family to start a conversation about your faith.

Don’t miss a post. Learn more about the Catholic Church and strengthen your Catholic faith.

Find more Fiercely Catholic video issues here.

Subscribe here.

Book a Fiercely Catholic program at your next conference, retreat, or other Catholic event.