Confession and Communion FAQ
What is a Sacrament?
A Sacrament is defined as a visible sign of God’s Grace (powerful love) which produces that very Grace in our souls. Since God’s power is infinite, the true knowledge that we have of His wonders is limited. Sacramentum is the Latin translation of the Greek Mysterion or Holy Mystery.
What do we mean by a sign?
A sign is a symbol or signal that shows us what God is. God’s nature is Love; each Sacrament shows us a particular side of that love, responding to the most profound spiritual needs of the human soul.
Why do we need Sacraments?
Human beings are imperfect. Because of a moral flaw in humanity (Original Sin), we need redemption. We experience this flaw in our daily lives, as we constantly fall-short of our spiritual and human potential, and feel ourselves drawn towards evil deeds.
Who gave us the Sacraments?
Jesus Christ Himself, through His life-mission, His death and Resurrection. Jesus very being (divine and human) is the sign of God which accomplishes what it signifies; Christ is the Universal Sacrament of Salvation.
Where do we find the Sacraments?
In the Body of Christ, which is His Church; the People of God are the members. Jesus’ lived among us for only thirty-three years. Then, He offered-up His human life as a sacrifice of ransom to the heavenly Father. The Church is the instrument by which Christ continues to touch humanity throughout all times and places.
How many Sacraments are there?
The Lord gave us many graces and blessings. Seven of these accomplish in us His perfect saving love and presence (Sanctifying Grace), according to our varied needs. These seven wonders are called the sacraments.
Who makes the Sacraments?
Jesus Christ Himself, our Universal Sacrament, is the origin of the Seven particular Sacraments. He instituted them and uses them to reach all peoples. The Sacraments are celebrated through the ordained priesthood, which is itself a Sacrament.
What is the Sacrament of Confession?
The Sacrament of Confession is the merciful love of God, given in response to our sinfulness. Every human being is a sinner.
Is there a difference between Confession and Reconciliation?
No. Other ways of referring to the Mystery of Confession are: Penance, Repentance, Reconciliation. Each one of these names reveals one of the many sides of the Grace of God in this Sacrament.
How often should we receive Confession?
The Church obliges all Catholics to receive the Sacrament of Confession at least once a year. This precept takes into account the fact that ‘no one can live and not sin’. Nevertheless, if we are taking good care of our spiritual life, then we should receive Confession more frequently.
What if we can’t seem to think of any sins to confess?
The more we allow the Light of God’s Grace to shine upon us, the more clearly we will see even the smaller stains of imperfection on our souls. God grants many graces through the Sacrament of Confession, not only the forgiveness of sins. Confession gives us the strength to become better people.
How should we confess our sins?
Confession in an exercise of human and spiritual maturity. In Confession, we admit our sins to Christ through the priest and beg His forgiveness. We should not mention the sins of others, but only our own.
What is the Sacrament of the Eucharist?
The Holy Eucharist is the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, really present but hidden under the sacramental signs of bread and wine.
Is there a difference between Communion and Eucharist?
No. Different words express different wonders of the same Sacrament. Eucharist means thanksgiving, as Jesus gave thanks to God by the Sacrifice of His own Life. We give thanks and offer our sacrifices with Christ’s at the Divine Liturgy. Communion is what happens to us when we receive the Eucharist; we united (co-union) with God.
Why do we sometimes refer to the Eucharist as the Blessed Sacrament?
The Sacrament of the Eucharist is the very Blessed Saviour Incarnate. When the object of devotion is the Sacrament of the Eucharist, then it is sometimes referred to as the Blessed Sacrament. The term came from the Eucharistic devotions of the Latin Church.
What does the Eucharist symbolize?
Bread and wine are food and drink and the Eucharist is our supernatural-spiritual nourishment. The Lord made it easier to consume Him in this form, telling us that “the bread that I shall give you is my flesh for the life of the world”.
The Separation of the Eucharistic Christ into two separate signs (bread and wine), signals to us the separation of His flesh and blood on the Cross, a sacrifice of ransom and salvation.
Why is the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ life-giving?
The Son of God, the Second Person in the Divinity, saved us by becoming a human being. He bridged the gap between God and man in His own person. Our salvation comes through Jesus’ humanity. His flesh and blood are the human which is always united with the divine. By partaking in His humanity, we partake in His divinity.
How often can we receive the Blessed Eucharist?
We can receive Holy Communion each time we attend the Divine Liturgy (Holy Mass), even daily, provided that we are in a state of grace. We can also receive Communion outside of the Divine Liturgy together with the Sacrament of the Sick.
Do we need to receive Confession before each Holy Communion?
No, provided that we are in a state of grace and therefore have no mortal sins on our souls. Holy Communion makes us holy and is the spiritual nourishment for our souls.
Do not unworthy sinners need to be cleansed before receiving?
No one can ever be fully worthy of God’s supernatural graces. The Eucharist is not a reward for good behaviour, but the VERY SOURCE of goodness. Small (venial) sins are wiped-away when we receive Communion or any of the other Sacraments. Only mortal sin ruptures our relationship with God, to the degree that we cannot receive His sanctifying grace without prior forgiveness.
Why do we not immediately become Saints after receiving the Sacraments?
The Grace of God is infinite but our reception of it is limited by our disposition. We go-on committing sins, even after receiving the Sacraments, because we do not love enough. God is love, and love means giving. Unless we give-out love we cannot properly receive it in. This is also the reason why we cannot receive the Sacraments in a state of sin.
Has frequent Communion always been the norm?
No. After Christianity became the dominant religion of the Western World, many people became Christians for lesser motives. Regulations were introduced to stop people receiving unworthily. As a consequence, during the middle ages, the faithful shied-away from the earlier practice of frequent Communion.
Were there other reasons that prevented the faithful to receive?
Spiritual rigorism (especially Jansenism) emphasized the unapproachable nature of God and our unworthiness. This spirituality ignored the fact that we can never become holy except by God’s grace. The Eucharist is not a prize for human virtue, but the source of supernatural virtue.
How have the Basilian Fathers brought the faithful closer to the Sacraments?
By the very Priesthood of Christ, which is an extension of His mission to rule, teach and sanctify his flock (kingly, prophetic and priestly mission). The Basilians have ruled the flock as shepherds, taught the Word of God through His Church, and sanctified with Sacraments and blessings.
What particular means did the Basilians use?
The Basilians have used missions, sermons and other devotions, especially to the Sacred Heart and First Friday Confessions, to imbue the faithful with reverent affection for the Sacraments. Fathers have always been on-hand to receive the faithful’s Confessions, especially during the liturgical services. In parishes served by the Basilians, the faithful generally confess and communicate often.