EUCHARISTIC CALL TO CONVERSION. This is part 24 of my series on the USA Bishops’ National Eucharistic Revival document: The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church.With Lent starting this Ash Wednesday, it is the perfect time to conclude the document’s section on Conversion.’ This 3-year revival’s goal is to enable us to better understand and celebrate our Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist. For past articles on this Revival, the whole document, and a free study guide, go to our parish website –

SOMETIMES WE MUST START ANEW! We all know what it is like to have a friendship or relationship die. Sometimes it is caused by moving or being transferred from one address, workplace, or school to another – or simply from
the transient nature of earthly life. But when it is caused by sin: a breach of confidentiality; a violation of trust; intentional psychological, emotional, or physical harm done to another, etc., it is truly painful. When this occurs between two people, it is most difficult to repair – if not fatal. But not with our relationship with God, who always welcomes us back and has given us the process by which we can easily do so: the Sacrament of Penance or Confession. [More on this Sacrament in the weeks to come as we reflect on the revised English translation of the Order of Penance, which we only recently received.]

MORTAL SIN. When we freely, knowingly, and willingly choose to do something that involves a grave matter, something opposed to the love of God or neighbor, we commit mortal sin. And while Holy Communion solidifies our union with God and the Church, it presupposes that union already exists and is, for the most part, healthy and functional. That is why those conscious of committing serious, grave or mortal sin [unless they make a perfect Act of Contrition and do all they can to get to Confession ASAP] are not to celebrate holy Mass or receive Holy Communion. This rule is not something a Priest, Bishop or Pope an Ecumenical Council or Synod of Bishops – declared: it is in the Bible!

“AS THE CHURCH HAS ALWAYS TAUGHT.” From the start, the Church has regulated who may – or may not – receive Holy Communion. Besides being Baptized and accepting our Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, our lives must also be in keeping with Church teaching. For as Saint Paul wrote: “… whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself.” [1 Corinthians 11:27-29] That’s why the Church insists that we examine our conscience before entering into Holy Communion and that we refrain from partaking in the Eucharist if any major part of our life is not in line with God’s revealed Truths.

We cannot claim to be a part of Christ’s Body, His Church if we are not living as a part of Christ’s Body, His Church. One of the many heresies that rocked our Church is Pelagianism. It is named for a monk, Pelagian, who believed that we do not inherit a fallen state from Original Sin and can basically save ourselves without help from God, the Church or others. Saint Augustine, his main critic, agreed with his belief in our basic goodness; a later heresy, Jansenism, went to the other extreme and considered us so corrupt that we are incapable of any goodness! However, Augustine rightly taught – based on numerous scriptural references – that we cannot do it alone and need all the help God offers us.

Among the many ‘helps’ God provides are: the Church and the sacred Scriptures, which the Church properly interprets; the Sacraments; the threefold hierarchal ministry of Deacon, Priest and Bishop; and sacred Liturgy. We also have each other, for we are called as a Community of Faith to walk with and assist each other along the way. And so that no one leads anyone else astray, Holy Mother Church, in her concern for the welfare of ALL her children, admonishes those NOT living in accord with her teachings to refrain from receiving Holy Communion. May our understanding and acceptance of these teachings enable all of us to deepen our Faith.

With God’s love and my prayers,

Very Rev. Michael J. Kreder, VF, KCHS