The Byzantine Forum
Newest Members
nick.maecenas, NathanJA, Antonym, Don M, Journeyman
5,894 Registered Users
Who's Online Now
3 members (Fr. Al, griego catolico, 1 invisible), 101 guests, and 29 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Latest Photos
Holy Saturday from Kirkland Lake
Holy Saturday from Kirkland Lake
by Veronica.H, April 24
Byzantine Catholic Outreach of Iowa
Exterior of Holy Angels Byzantine Catholic Parish
Church of St Cyril of Turau & All Patron Saints of Belarus
Byzantine Nebraska
Byzantine Nebraska
by orthodoxsinner2, December 11
Forum Statistics
Forums26
Topics35,256
Posts415,567
Members5,894
Most Online3,380
Dec 29th, 2019
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 2 of 3 1 2 3
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 200
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 200
I am now confused as to whether from an Eastern perspective daily communion is advised. I notice it does not happen at most Orthodox Churches around here that I know of. Though part of me thinks that may have something to do with population and that married priests are supposed to abstain from relations the night before serving liturgy (or so I have heard, but I have never heard of the laity being required of this). Yet the two Eastern Catholic parishes I go to have Liturgy most days of the week. I this a latinization, or do some cultures simply promote frequent communion more than others?
I appreciate some of AsianPilgrims suggestions, but I agree with Francis that many daily communicants are defitntely experiencing great graces and seem to maintain a high reverence for the Eucharist.
I do personally wonder why the fast is laxed as much as it is, and it does trouble me when I see people receiving that seem like they do not quite understand the expectations, especially at funerals or similar situations where some people there are not Catholic.
I do think that regular confession is important, but I do not think that one should have to go to confession every time they want to receive the Eucharist. I know the East does not always make as much of the venial/mortal sin thing, but it makes some sense to me, that if one has not openly rebelled against God with malice in some sort of grave way, that they can receive the Eucharist (as long as they have examined themselves and maintain a certain reverence for the Precious Body and life giving Blood) and as it is offered it will be for the remission of their (venial or whatever you want to call them) sins. I thought I understood that the East has this view that even though we are not worthy to receive the Eucharist that doing so is for our health and salvation. That the Eucharist is our food and strength that sinners need to help them maintain their spiritual walk. That instead of one's sinfulness keeping him or her away, that the Eucharist is what they really need. Of course if one has willfully committed a more reprehensible sin, then I think that it is important in this instance to want the confessional absolution first.
I am no expert, just my two cents.

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 26
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 26
I too was taught that reception of Communion was for the remission of sins. In one pre-Communion prayer, it implies that if we remain strangers to Christ by not partaking, we will be ensnared by the devil.

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 478
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 478
DoxRox,

Quote
What is "regular confession" to Roman Catholics? I thought that they were required only to formally confess mortal sins. I thought the point was to not to repeat them.

We are required to confess all mortal sins, but are encouraged to go to confession regularly, even if we are only confessing venial sins. Traditionally, most Roman Catholic spiritual advisers recommend at least monthly, and more frequently if under the direction of your spiritual director.


Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,028
A
Member
Offline
Member
A
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,028
Originally Posted by searching east
I appreciate some of AsianPilgrims suggestions, but I agree with Francis that many daily communicants are defitntely experiencing great graces and seem to maintain a high reverence for the Eucharist.

Being a frequent communicant myself, I also appreciate the great reverence and graces that come from frequent communion. It was not my intention to advocate a return to the pre-1907 situation for us Catholics. I think that the ideal proposed by St. Pius X should be the norm: daily communion with real ascetical preparation beforehand.

And, frankly, I am also scandalized by the near-absence of communicants often observed in Orthodox liturgies, as well as by the apparent abandonment of the Mystery of Repentance in certain Orthodox jurisdictions.

Now, daily communion, as I said in my OP, is the IDEAL of both East and West. My critique has to do with the way that not a few spiritual writers of the Roman Catholic tradition in the 20th century speak as if it is such a great fault to NOT receive daily. Indeed, some notable contemporary spiritual writers (e.g. Fra Stefano Manelli) advocate attending as many Masses as possible everyday, and under Pope John Paul II the Code of Canon Law was relaxed to allow all Catholics in the state of grace to receive communion TWICE a day. The problem is that the ideal has been turned into a de facto obligation: surely not a moral and canonical obligation, but a spiritual one. How many times I have been chided for not receiving Communion a second time within the day, when I could have done so?

This, I believe, is one of the reasons why there was a great clamor for the relaxation of the Eucharistic fast in the first half of the twentieth century: people were taught that if they did not go to Communion daily, they exposed themselves to serious spiritual harm. Naturally they would ask to be enabled to receive Holy Communion without need for too much preparation! (For that matter, this attitude that "without daily communion there is lukewarmness and laxity" is, indirectly, a grievous slander upon the Eastern tradition)

Also, I have been thinking: frequent communion WITHOUT preparation NEVER made saints, but occasional communion WITH rigorous preparation has INDEED produced saints. What does that say? Neither situation is ideal, neither situation should be recommended, but I am of the humble opinion that, given a choice, the current Eastern Catholic / Orthodox practice is less causative of offenses against the divine majesty compared to current Roman Catholic practice.

Last edited by asianpilgrim; 09/02/08 03:45 PM.
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 200
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 200
Forgive me, Asianpilgrim, if I sort of less than perfectly understood your post or responded as if you implied different things. I do realize you had originally said many of these things. I guess what I was responding to was the notion that it may somehow be better to go to Vespers and Matins and fast than to receive communion more than once during the week. I suppose that it is not a line or distinction I want to speak to as if one is clearly better, but if I were it would be difficult to say that receiving more frequent communion would be the lesser of the two, given your conditions that they are receiving worthily. But it is not a debate I would want to pursue as I have no ability to judge such things. I am glad we can agree that frequent communion with such preparation would be a good thing, and then such a person also can make use of regular confession and other prayer services and really be on a good track.
I now more appreciate why you wrote what you wrote and the depth of your historical awareness of the situation. That we should fee a 'need' to receive daily is a notion that would scare me. I like when it is encouraged in spiritual writing, and I like that masses and liturgies are offered daily for the salvation of the world, but I too would be bothered by people feeling scared not to go, instead of going because they have the ability and desire to do so within there state of life.

Brian

Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 48
S
Member
Offline
Member
S
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 48
I did not go to communion much while Orthodox, Asianpilgrim. The reason was my priest required confession before EVERY communion unless I had gone to confession midweek. I was expected to attend Vigil the night before. And I was expected to say all the prayers in preparation for confession and then the ones in preparation for communion. I spent most of the time feeling like a real worthless piece of crap who simply was never in a state worthy to receive communion except a few times of year not because I was only "allowed" to go a few times of year but because several small children, one autistic and just LIFE in general made it very difficult to do otherwise.


Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,564
Likes: 1
F
Member
Offline
Member
F
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,564
Likes: 1
There is certainly a need for an effort at balance. If someone should simply walk into a church during the Divine Liturgy, receive Holy Communion, and walk out again [don't think it doesn't happen!] clearly something is amiss and in urgent need of pastoral attention. If in a given parish people never go to Confession at all but receive Holy Communion with perfect aplomb, clearly something is amiss and in urgent need of pastoral attention. If someone otherwise shows no hint of Christian belief, let alone Christian conduct, but continues to receive Holy Communion, is he really discerning the Body and Blood of Christ?

At the same time if - say on Holy Saturday - the priest and a couple of chanters are offering the Divine Liturgy, surrounded by angels and Saints but in a church otherwise devoid of contemporary human presence up until the time of the Lord's Prayer, whereupon the building suddenly fills with people, who come in a seemingly endless line for Holy Communion - and the priest, looking up from the Chalice to take stock of numbers, realizes that people are walking in the front door, throwing an envelope on the candle stand, walking out the front door and going on "about their business [and don't try to tell me that doesn't happen] we are facing an utterly serious abuse which cries out for the strongest correction from the Hierarchy.

And yet . . . the reception of Holy Communion at the Divine Liturgy is not some sort of private devotional exercise, or an optional "add-on" to the Liturgy itself, as though the Liturgy were for the entire congregation but the Holy Communion only for . . . well . . . for whom, precisely? Should the Church reserve the Holy Gifts exclusively for monks of the Great Schema?

That reference is not entirely ironic - ever since the Kollyvades, of holy memory, the monks of Athos have preached and encouraged both frequent Confession and frequent Holy Communion. I would be stunned to hear a monk of the Great Schema tell the faithful that they should receive Holy Communion once a year and no more!

Father David has my distinct envy if since his ordination it has happened only two or three times that he has summoned the faithful to Communion and no one at all has accepted the invitation. It has happened to me more than that, and I have wanted to break down and weep each time.

That invitation is itself worth careful consideration. First the Bishop or Priest cries out "The Holies to the Holy". So who are the Holy? You are (I trust) and I am - that is to say, we have been baptized and chrismated and are among those whom God has called to the Church; this does not add to our "treasury of merit" but does indeed aggregate us to the Body of Christ, the body of the Saints. So Holy Communion is not offered to those who are not of that Body - not that they are not welcome, but they must seek Baptism and Chrismation and come to the Church; we do not rush out into the street and communicate everyone walking by. [There is, nonetheless, a reference in one of the Lord's parables, but I'll save that at least for a while.]

The Deacon actually summons the presbyters to Communion, although this is normally audible only within the Altar - and the Deacon in making this summons makes no reference to the spiritual condition of the presbyters. If they are extraordinarily sinful, so much the worse for them, but the Bishop uses a similar formula "unto the remission of sins and eternal life". A decade or so later, I'm still upset and puzzled by a priest who said to me that Bill Clinton was a sinner. So he was and is - and so are we all, albeit in quite a variety of ways. By the same token, it was a bit bizarre when a rabbi founded an organization at the time of Watergate entitled "God Loves Richard Nixon!" There was no theological doubt on the point; God loves me, and that makes it indisputable that He loves Richard Nixon.

Anyway. The Deacon summons the faithful with the words "With fear of God, with faith [and with love] draw near". Fear of God is an important virtue and implies strongly that we at least want to avoid sin. Faith is an even more important virtue, and implies that we want to know, and need to know, how to avoid sin. Love in this instance means both the Love of God and the love of our neighbor - and particularly our love for our brothers and sisters within the Church. That in turn means that we are supposed to receive Holy Communion together, during the Divine Liturgy; not only does this bring us into closer union with God, but this also brings us into closer union with one another.

We then receive Holy Communion "unto the remission of sins and eternal life". This all teaches us that the reception of Holy Communion in fear of God, with Faith and with Love, is the "esca viatorum", the journey-bread which strengthens us in the path of the remission of sins - not a reward (for what?) but a help.

When the Deacon summons us to bow our heads before the Lord, we know, or we should know, that we are all supposed to bow our heads. When we are urged to listen to the Gospel, we know, or should know, that we are all supposed to listen attentively. It is incongruous to assume that it is supposed to be very rare and abnormal that we accept the plain words of the invitation to "draw near" and receive the Holy Communion when the Deacon calls us to do precisely that.

This is strengthened further by the chants which follow the Holy Communion - one has only to read the texts, and the prayer in mystica which accompanies the small synapte.

Do you need to come to Confession (and we all need to now and then)? Please come to Confession. The Priest who administers Holy Communion to us is supposed to know us - that is why he mentions our Christian names when we approach. An excellent way to introduce ourselves is to approach the Priest at an appropriate moment with the appropriate gesture and say "Your blessing, Father. May I come to Confession?" He will then feel that he knows you, and will give you Holy Communion with no qualms.

Let us prepare ourselves well for Holy Communion - and let us not keep ourselves away from Communion because of a fundamental misunderstanding.

Fr. Serge

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 26
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 26
Originally Posted by asianpilgrim
How many times I have been chided for not receiving Communion a second time within the day, when I could have done so?

Just to be clear with everyone, my comment about being ensnared by the devil was not meant to be some kind of scare tactic. The author of the prayer I cited seemed to have in mind a deliberate willful rebellion of not receiving.

Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 128
E
Member
Offline
Member
E
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 128
Dear Fr. Serge,

Bless, Father!

Thank you for your beautiful mystagogy!


Yours in Christ,
Alex NvV

Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,564
Likes: 1
F
Member
Offline
Member
F
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,564
Likes: 1
The blessing of the Lord!

Thank you for the compliment - compliments are gratefully accepted. But since I wrote that off the top of my head, I'm not altogether sure that I deserve the compliment. Nevertheless, I truly appreciate it - do please come to Dublin for the 2012 Eucharistic Congress.

Fr. Serge

Last edited by Serge Keleher; 09/03/08 05:59 AM.
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,131
A
Member
Offline
Member
A
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,131
Originally Posted by Fr David Straut
Again I ask: Does it not trouble Catholics that there are so many Communions at each Mass or Liturgy by those who have not been to Confession for who knows how long?

Fr David


Father bless!

Indeed it bothers more of a few of us. One blogger whose writing is cheeky, provacative and always worth reading asserts that the frequent unworthy reception of communion in the world might be the greatest crime that cries out to the heavens for vengence... Looking at the Old Testament, God forgives a lot of murderers... But the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies with a rope around his ankle for a reason: should he err and transgress the liturgical prescriptions of the temple he would be struck dead and the other priests COULD NOT enter to fetch the body... They would drag the carcass out by the rope.

Talk about instantaneous Divine Feedback to litutgical abuse!

(Here is where I daydream...)

At any rate, you compare this to the Gospels. We read through them and see time and time and time again where the Apostles - who ate with Christ, traveled with Christ, slept where He slept, listened to Him preach and teach - well again and again we are presented with accounts where these blessed souls who spent all their waking hours with the Almighty, the Word Made Flesh, just failed to "get it". In my moments of lapsed charity (Holy Apostles forgive me!) my thoughts turn to the basic question "How could they just not 'get it'?"

In a real way, I am left to wonder how these two ideas correlate to today's modern situation. How many folks can spend years, decades or lifetimes approaching the Savior and just not getting it? How many will finally be reconciled to the Savior who prays for such reconciliation well after they should have been turned away?

My grandfather died last month after a good long life that was fruitful, simple, and pious. He was no saint - his post war (WW2) years were marred by what sounds to me (second hand) like depression and alcoholism. Fighting mightily my weakness at his funeral, I did my level best (which is to say I failed rather miserably) to pay no attention to the number of folks who have not darkended the door of a church since their last wedding or funeral engagement who proceeded to march up to communion... This was in spite of the most pastoral announcement that to recieve one must be an active and practicing Catholic.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I arrived early to go to confession which I sorely needed. The night before I was rather innebriated. Sinner is part of my screen name for a reason.)

Well not in defense of indifference... (Not in the least!) I was struck by how we were at the funeral of a man who for all I know was mired for some years in a lifestyle (alcoholism in the 50s and early 60s) who "by rights" should have been tossed out on his heinie if he ever got near a church. In his final years before Alzheimers robbed him of identity, weekday Mass attendence and visiting the tabernacle was a mainstay of his life.

There is time to turn it around, that is what we have to pray for when it comes to ourselves and others. Prayer, sacrifice, example. Repeat.

The sometimes messy and problematic paths taken as we pray that we sinners may become saints somewhat reminds me in an imperfect way of the Apostles who seemed to be a bit thick at times.

I am not happy, approving, or tolerant of what I percieve (in my own weak flesh, what do I really know?) to be casual indifference. I am rather trusting, however, that Divine Mercy is infinate, and these somewhat troublingly indifferent encounters to the Divine may and still work for the salvation of souls.

Pray for the conversion of all hearts (most especially my own).

Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 5,708
Likes: 1
B
Member
Offline
Member
B
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 5,708
Likes: 1
I tease some of my Latin friends about having "communionitis," since they can't seem to pass a church without receiving. I find the practice common in the RC church to be far too casual.

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 329
Member
Offline
Member
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 329
"Indeed, some notable contemporary spiritual writers (e.g. Fra Stefano Manelli) advocate attending as many Masses as possible everyday..."

This is not a new development, but has a been a spiritual practice of some of the saints for over a thousand years.

The below is from the "Explanation of the Holy Mass" by Father Martin von Cochem (1625-1712) in an edition published in 1896:

"Furthermore, let us hope that thy experience will be similar to that recorded of the Blessed Nancker, Bishop of Breslau in the thirteenth century. This prelate was distinguished by his great love for holy Mass, which induced him to be present, if possible, at all the Masses said every day in his cathedral. Just at the time when he lay dying a pious matron of the city heard the voices of angels singing in such sweet and melodious strains that she thought herself transported to paradise. While she was wondering within herself what was the cause of this rejoicing, a voice said to her : " The soul of Bishop Nancker has left the body and is being carried by the angels to heaven." The good woman then asked in what way the bishop had merited this great honor and privilege. And the same voice replied: " Through the great affection and veneration he had for holy Mass." An example such as this ought certainly to encourage us in going to Mass. The pious bishop was taken up to heaven without passing through purgatory; nay, more, he was carried up by the angels in triumph with glad and jubilant songs. And why? Chiefly because of his great devotion to holy Mass; he had thereby paid all he owed to divine justice and merited a glorious entry into the courts of heaven. If thou wouldst escape the purgatorial fire and obtain a high place in heaven, imitate his example and be zealous in hearing Mass. And if it is not possible for thee to hear many Masses, as he did, at least do so in desire, and God will accept thy good intention and grant thee a happy end."

...


"The ecclesiastical historian Baronius tells us that in the early ages of Christianity priests were at liberty to say as many Masses every day as they chose. The holy Pope Leo III. had recourse to the holy sacrifice in all his necessities, and was known, in times of affliction, to celebrate no less than nine Masses in one day, with great fervor and recollection.

"The saintly Bishop Ulrich was accustomed to say three Masses every day, unless prevented by sickness or stress of business. Since 1073 the practice of saying more Masses than one has been abolished, Christmas Day alone being excepted.

"St. Hedwige of Poland is said to have had a profound veneration for holy Mass. She always assisted at as many as she could; and if enough were not celebrated in the chapel attached to the palace to satisfy her devotion, she sent for other priests, recompensing them liberally for their trouble. Raynaldus records of St. Louis of France that he was in the habit of hearing two, three, sometimes even four Masses daily. His courtiers murmured at this, saying it was not right for the king to spend all the morning at prayer in the chapel instead of attending to state affairs and leaving Mass to the clergy. The king, hearing what they said, answered: " I wonder that you should complain of my hearing Mass, for not one of you would think me to blame if I spent twice as much time in hunting or playing dice." This was a very good answer, and it applies to many amongst ourselves as well as to the officials of King Louis' court. For in our blindness we imagine that it is a waste of time and loss of money to go to Mass on week-days. But if two or three hours are spent in idle conversation, at play, over our wine, or perhaps in sleep, we think that the time thus squandered has been most profitably employed. What an unfortunate delusion !

"The same historian tells us that Henry I of England was also accustomed to hear three Masses every day even when engrossed with urgent affairs of state. It is said that once, when he was talking with the King of France, the conversation turned upon hearing Mass; and the French king remarked that one ought not always to go to Mass, but to hear sermons as well. Henry I courteously replied: " It is a greater pleasure to me to see my friend frequently than to hear others speak in his praise." With this opinion I who write this book fully coincide; in fact, I have often told people who asked me whether it was better to go to Mass or to hear sermons that to assist at Mass was by far the best. One ought not, however, to eschew sermons altogether, for they are very useful, and even necessary, especially in the case of hardened sinners, to awaken in them a sense and an abhorrence of sin.

"The Blessed Anthony of Stroncone delighted in hearing Mass above any other spiritual exercise. He assisted at the holy sacrifice, and served the Mass with such fervor and joy of heart that he forgot all about his meals. If Mass could have been celebrated all day long from early morn until night closed in, he would always have been present, without ever leaving the church. When he grew old, and his enfeebled limbs could hardly support him, he would still totter to the church in order to hear Mass, and this he did even when the hand of death was already upon him, for he rose from his bed to fill his accustomed place near the altar. Let us take example from this Franciscan brother, who was beatified in the year 1690, and be more zealous than ever in our attendance at holy Mass.

"We read in Baronius that the Roman Emperor Lothaire used to hear three Masses every day, even when he had to take the field against the enemy."

http://books.google.com/books?id=B8QxAAAAMAAJ

Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,564
Likes: 1
F
Member
Offline
Member
F
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,564
Likes: 1
Just to toot my own horn for a second: On occasion, if there is a serious time pressure or if I am feeling ill, I will omit the sermon on Sunday. It would never even occur to me to omit the Gospel reading or the rest of the Divine Liturgy and give a sermon instead!

Fr Serge

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,973
Likes: 7
Moderator
Member
Offline
Moderator
Member
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,973
Likes: 7
Originally Posted by Saponaria
I did not go to communion much while Orthodox, Asianpilgrim. The reason was my priest required confession before EVERY communion unless I had gone to confession midweek. I was expected to attend Vigil the night before. And I was expected to say all the prayers in preparation for confession and then the ones in preparation for communion. I spent most of the time feeling like a real worthless piece of crap who simply was never in a state worthy to receive communion except a few times of year not because I was only "allowed" to go a few times of year but because several small children, one autistic and just LIFE in general made it very difficult to do otherwise.

Dear Saponaria,

Sometimes we simply need to find another priest or parish that understands our unique situations and our needs more and can tailor our 'rules' to them. The strictness of some Orthodox spiritual fathers is not for everyone and depends on where one is spiritually--and the circumstances of their everyday lives.

Alice

Page 2 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  Alice, Father Deacon Ed, theophan 

Link Copied to Clipboard
The Byzantine Forum provides message boards for discussions focusing on Eastern Christianity (though discussions of other topics are welcome). The views expressed herein are those of the participants and may or may not reflect the teachings of the Byzantine Catholic or any other Church. The Byzantine Forum and the www.byzcath.org site exist to help build up the Church but are unofficial, have no connection with any Church entity, and should not be looked to as a source for official information for any Church. All posts become property of byzcath.org. Contents copyright - 1996-2023 (Forum 1998-2023). All rights reserved.
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5