Why do Catholics Receive Communion?
What is Holy Communion and why do Catholics receive It?
Well, the main reason that we receive Communion is because God told us to. At the Last Supper, our Lord told the Apostles to do this in memory of Him. But in some sense, that doesn’t answer the question. We can still ask: Why did Jesus ask us to do this in memory of Him? The answer is hidden in the word itself.
The word ‘communion’ comes from the Latin words ‘cum’ and ‘unio’ which mean ‘with’ and ‘one’. Taken together, the word ‘communio’ means ‘united with’. When we receive Holy Communion, we are being intimately united with God Himself, with all of the saints in Heaven and with every other Catholic on Earth, and this happens because of one of the central and most beautiful mysteries of our Catholic Faith: the Real Presence of Christ in the Bread and Wine of the Eucharist.
Yes, we are called to develop our relationship with God in personal prayer. Yes, we are supposed to reach out and serve the poor and needy. Yes, we are called to proclaim the Gospel and call people to repentance and faith in Christ. But in one sense, none of those are the ultimate point. We do all of those things in order to be more perfectly united with God and with our neighbour, and this is exactly what is accomplished when we receive Holy Communion. God Himself comes to literally dwell in us, and by being united to Him in the most intimate way imaginable, we are also united to one another in the same way. On top of this, receiving Communion actually strengthens us in doing those ‘other things’ I mentioned, like evangelization, works of mercy, and prayer and contemplation.
Each time you receive Communion is potentially the greatest moment of your life, but remember, this is not only physical food but also spiritual food. Prepare your spirit beforehand to receive Him properly. Spend time in personal prayer. Go for Adoration. Make a good confession. And after you receive Communion, make sure you sincerely continue in your efforts to become a saint.