Some people, including young children preparing to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, may be confused by what it is all about. Children may mistakenly think that receiving Holy Communion is a singular event. But First Holy Communion is only the beginning of a potential lifelong commitment to Jesus Christ.
What is Holy Communion?
Christians believe that Holy Communion is the receiving of Jesus Christ through the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharist is comprised of bread and wine, although some denominations believe that it is not necessary to receive the Lord's body and blood in each, instead feeling that Christ is present fully in either the bread or wine.
Catholics believe that through the process of transubstantiation the bread and wine before the priest becomes the body and blood of Christ. According to catechism and the liturgy, as soon as the Institution Narrative begins, the Lord is present in the elements of bread and wine.
The institution of Holy Eucharist occurred during the Last Supper. As stated in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Jesus instructed His followers to use bread and wine to remember the sacrifice He was going to make when He died on the cross for people's sins.
A continuous act
While much fanfare is understandably afforded to First Holy Communion, Christians receive the Eucharist every day at church services all over the world. Receiving communion is not a singular act. People recognized that every time they gathered around a table to eat and drink, it provided an opportunity to recognize and thank Jesus.
Adults can reinforce this concept to children by explaining that receiving Communion each week at Mass is just as special as receiving it that first time in spring.
Celebration not an obligation
Although the Church advises all Christians to receive communion when free from mortal sin and with the right intentions, Holy Communion should not seem like an obligation. Rather, individuals can view it as a celebration and an opportunity to reconnect with Jesus each time they receive the host. Make the process more exciting for children by explaining that Holy Communion is a party and a happy endeavor. According to the religious resource CatholicCity, the only time people are obligated to receive Holy Communion is during Easter and when in danger of death.
Holy Communion is an opportunity to enter into an intimate union with Jesus Christ, who Christians believe provides holiness and grace to all who are willing to receive Him.
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