By Susan Ciancio
Do you remember the joy you felt on the day of your First Communion? This long-anticipated day was so incredibly special that family members came from near and far, you excitedly dressed up in a fancy suit or stunning white dress, and you happily smiled for countless pictures.
Everyone wanted to help you celebrate the fact that you were about to receive the most precious gift imaginable—that of Christ Himself.
As Catholics, we know that, at the Transubstantiation during Mass, the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. It is not just a nice thought or a mere symbol. This miracle really does occur right before our very eyes. And we should feel immensely blessed to witness this miracle at every Mass.
Christ gives Himself to us to nourish and renew us, but we must be worthy of this wonderful gift. How do we make ourselves worthy? We must be free of all mortal sin. This isn’t a suggestion. This is part of our Catechism, which teaches: “Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive Communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.”
Anyone who has committed a mortal sin and who has not sought forgiveness in the confessional should not present himself for Communion until he has been to confession.
Of course, not many people know of the sins we commit unless we do so publicly or unless we’re a public figure, such as a politician or someone in a leadership position. To protect the sanctity of the Eucharist, Canon 915, from the Code of Canon Law, says that “those . . . who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”
According to Canon law, a priest, deacon, bishop, cardinal, or any Eucharistic minister can deny someone the precious gift of Christ’s body and blood if that person publicly advocates for anything contrary to Catholic teaching. This includes abortion.
We saw this happen recently when Fr. Robert Morey, from St. Anthony Parish in South Carolina, denied Joe Biden the Eucharist. That act took a lot of moral courage, and we should applaud him.
Talking with teens
Have you spoken with your teens about this subject? Do they understand what moral courage is and that sometimes it takes a lot of moral courage to help build a culture of life? Do they see the connection between being pro-life and protecting Christ in the Eucharist? Being pro-life is a lifestyle. It means seeing the dignity in each and every person—born and preborn. It means reaching out to others in truth and charity to guide them when they seem to be at odds with Christ’s teaching. It means loving each and every person, but not condoning or accepting sinful actions. Living a pro-life life isn’t something that comes and goes. It must be part of our being. And it is something that must be lived every day.
We understand that it can be really difficult to talk with teens about protecting Christ in the Eucharist, especially if you don’t know or understand all of the nuances yourself. That is why we created our newest Conversation Starter about politicians and the Eucharist.
In this Conversation Starter, you will not only learn about the importance of the body and blood of Christ, but you will be transported to the year 390, when Christianity had not even been legal for a century yet. You will learn about the moral courage of St. Ambrose, about how he faced the man who ordered the slaughter of 7,000 innocent people, and about how he protected Christ in the Eucharist.
Remember that Christ said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”
The Eucharist is one of the most important parts of our Catholic faith. And, with this six-page mini-lesson about the Eucharist, St. Ambrose, and canon law, you can help your teens understand the importance of protecting Christ in the Eucharist. Not only will the questions and answers at the end spark thoughtful and intelligent conversations between you and your children, but the lessons they will learn and the knowledge they will gain will help strengthen that Catholic foundation your teens so desperately need in our increasingly secular world.
When you finish this lesson, your students will hopefully have a renewed sense of closeness to Christ and a passion to protect His precious body and blood. Maybe you will even rediscover that joy you felt on that day you received Christ for the very first time.
Purchase Politicians and the Eucharist by clicking the image below.