Communion in Mortal Sin

I recently read an article that reminded me of a very important quotation from the great Father of the Church, St. John Chrysostom. It addresses those who might be tempted to make a bad communion – i.e., those who know that they are in a state of mortal sin, and yet approach the altar anyhow without having made a sacramental confession beforehand.

This bears much repeating nowadays, when confession lines are so short and communion lines are so long. Here is what St. John Chrysostom said:

I too raise my voice, I beseech, beg and implore that no one draw near to this sacred table with a sullied and corrupt conscience. Such an act, in fact, can never be called ‘communion’, not even were we to touch the Lord’s body a thousand times over, but ‘condemnation’, ‘torment’, and ‘increase of punishment’.

Go to confession!

This reminds me of something that St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, in his sequence for the feast of Corpus Christi, Lauda sion:

Sumunt boni, sumunt mali:
sorte tamen inaequali,
vitae vel interitus.
Mors est malis, vita bonis:
vide paris sumptionis
quam sit dispar exitus.

In other words:

Both the wicked and the good
Eat of this celestial Food;
But with ends how opposite!
Here ’tis life; and there ’tis death;
The same, yet issuing to each
In a difference infinite.

St. Thomas wrote that in the 13th century; it seems things haven’t changed (although I think the problem is certainly worse): in every age, people fall to the temptation or the sentimentality — “I really feel that I need to go to communion!” – that leads them to make a bad communion, thus increasing the punishment and torment that they already merit from unrepented mortal sin.

Don’t do it!

Go to confession!

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