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The Third Precept

The third precept of the Roman Catholic Church is to receive the Eucharist at least once per year, during the Easter season.

While we are encouraged to receive the Eucharist frequently, the Church only requires that we receive the Eucharist once per year, and that it be during the Easter season, the holy days between Resurrection Sunday and Pentecost.  The Easter season is the reason we exist: for if Christ is not truly risen from the dead, your faith is pointless (see 1 Corinthians 14:15)!  But He is truly risen, and the Eucharist is our true communion with our Risen Lord.

This leads us to an opportunity to clear up a very common misconception: many people think they are supposed to receive Holy Communion every time they come to Mass.  This is not the case.  The commandment Our Lord gave to keep holy the Lord’s Day is fulfilled in the attending of Mass, and we should only receive Holy Communion if we are in a state of grace, meaning we are honestly unaware of any grave sins committed since our last good confession.  A good quick examination of conscience using the Ten Commandments gives a good spiritual check-in with regard to grave sins.  Have I put anything before God (work, sports, comfort, fear)?  Have I missed Sunday Mass or a holy day of obligation? Have I used the Lord’s name in vain?  And so on.  If so, we must repent of and confess these sins before coming to receive Holy Communion.  And do so without fear!  His mercy endures forever!

We should also abstain from receiving Holy Communion if we have not kept the one hour fast before Communion time.  We should come to the Lord hungry so we can feast on Him in Word and Sacrament.  We should come to the Lord empty so He can fill us with the graces He knows we need most. 

So to recap up to this point, our basic rule of Catholic life is to attend Mass on Sundays, the day of Resurrection, to confess our sins at least once a year, and to receive Holy Communion at a minimum once during the Easter season.  Two more to go! 

These precepts are like a safety net for the soul…if we stay faithful to these things, we can be confident we are still on the Way, or a branch of the Vine that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!

All you holy saints of God, pray for us!

In Christ,
Fr.  Michael