The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the
species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it
possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace. For pastoral
reasons thismanner of receiving communion has been legitimately
established as the most common form in the Latin rite. But “the
sign of communion is more complete when given under both
kinds, since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears
This is the usual form of receiving communion in
the Eastern rites.
The fruits of Holy Communion
Holy Communion augments our union with Christ.
cipal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an
intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: “He who
eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”
Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: “As the
living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who
eats me will live because of me.”
On the feasts of the Lord, when the faithful receive the Body
of the Son, they proclaim to one another the Good News that
the first fruits of life have been given, as when the angel said
to Mary Magdalene, “Christ is risen!” Now too are life and
resurrection conferred on whoever receives Christ.
What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Com-
munion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life. Communion
with the flesh of the risen Christ, a flesh “given life and giving life
through the Holy Spirit,”
preserves, increases, and renews the
life of grace received at Baptism. This growth in Christian life needs
the nourishment of Eucharistic Communion, the bread for our
pilgrimage until the moment of death, when it will be given to us
Holy Communion separates us from sin.
The body of Christ
we receive in Holy Communion is “given up for us,” and the blood
we drink “shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins.” For this
reason the Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same
time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins:
225 GIRM 240.
228 Fanqîth, Syriac Office of Antioch, Vol. I, Commun., 237 a-b.