"For the worthy reception of the Eucharist the state of grace as well as the proper and pious disposition are necessary. (De fide as regards the state of Grace.)"

"For the worthy reception of the Eucharist the state of grace as well as the proper and pious disposition are necessary. (De fide as regards the state of Grace.)

The Council of Trent condemned the teaching of the Reformers that faith alone (fides informis) is a sufficient preparation for the reception of the Eucharist (D 893). At the same time it decreed that those in mortal sin must first receive the Sacrament of Penance, if an opportunity for receiving it offers itself. Only in a case of necessity may a person receiving be satisfied with a perfect contrition. D 880, 893. 00807,856. On the other hand, the Church rejected the rigorous demands of the Jansenists, who demanded a condign expiation for sins committed and an entirely pure love of God as preparation for Holy Communion (D 13 12 et seq.). In the Communion Decree (1905) Pius X declared that nobody may be turned away from the Sacred Table, who approaches it in the state of grace and who has the proper and pious disposition, that is, the desire to receive for a supernatural motive. D 1985.

Since the measure of the grace conferred ex operato is in proportion to the subjective disposition of the recipient, the reception of Holy Communion should be preceded by a good preparation, and an appropriate thanksgiving should follow it. D 1988.

The necessity for a state of grace is biblically founded in the earnest exhortation of St. Paul : 1 Cor. 11, 28 : "So let a man prove himself and so let him eat of that bread and drink of the chalice." The washing of the feet which preceded the Eucharist (John 13, 4 et seq.), is not merely a lesson in humility, but also a symbolical expression of the purity of conscience demanded for the Eucharist. (Cf. V. 10.)

From the beginning the Fathers demand Baptism and purity of conscience as a pre-condition for the fruitful reception of the Eucharist. Cf. Didache 9, 5 ; 10, 6 ; 14, 1 ; St. Justin, Apol. I 66. In the Oriental Liturgies the priest (bishop) before the dispensing of tile Holy Communion calls to the faithful: "The Holy of Holies" (to ayta rets ayiois). St. Augustine demands that the communicants approach the altar with pure consciences: Innocentiam ad altare apportate (In loan. tr. 26, n).

An unworthy Communion is a sacrilege. Cf. I Cor. 11, 27: "Therefore, whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. 29. For he that eatcth and drinketh unworthily eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord." The direct sins against God (hatred of God, blasphemy of God) and against the humanity of Christ (Crucifixion, betrayal by Judas) are, however, objectively more grievous sins than the profanation of the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ. Cf. S. th. Ill 80, 5.

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