Given at Rome, December 20, 1905
by His Holiness, Pope St. Pius X
1. FREQUENT and daily Communion as a thing most earnestly desired by christ our Lord and by the Catholic Church should be open to all the faithful, of whatever rank and condition of life; so that no one who is in the state of grace, and who approaches the Holy Table with a right and devout intention, can lawfully be hindered therefrom.
2. A right intention consists in this: That he who approaches the Holy table should do so, not out of routine, or vainglory, or human respect, but for the purpose of pleasing God, or being more closely united with Him by charity, and of seeing this divine remedy for his weaknesses and defects.
3. Although it is more expedient that those who communicate frequently or daily should be free from venial sins, especially from such as are fully deliberate, and from any affection thereto; nevertheless it is sufficient that they be free of mortal sin, with the purpose of never sinning mortally in future; and, if they have this sincere purpose, it is impossible but that daily communicants should gradually emancipate themselves from even venial sins, and from all affection thereto.
4. But whereas the Sacraments of the New Law, though they take effect ex opere operato [ the Sacrament as valid, apart from the state of the person receiving it], nevertheless produce a greater effect in proportion to the dispositions of the recipient are better; therefore, care is to be taken that Holy Communion be preceded by serious preparation, and followed by a suitable thanksgiving according to each one's strength, circumstances, and duties.
5. That the practice of frequent and daily Communion may be carried out with greater prudence and more abundant merit, the confessor's advice should be asked. Confessors, however, are to be careful not to dissuade anyone from frequent and daily Communion, provided that he is in the state of grace and approaches with a right intention.
6. But since it is plain that, by the frequent or daily reception of the Holy Eucharist, union with Christ is fostered, the spiritual life more abundantly sustained, the soul more richly endowed with virtues, and an even surer pledge of everlasting happiness bestowed on the recipient, therefore parish priests, confessors, and preachers ---- in accordance with the approved teaching of the Roman Catechism [Part 2, cap, 4, n. 60] ---- are frequently and with great zeal, to exhort the faithful to this devout and salutary practice.
Our Lord Himself more than once, and in no ambiguous terms, pointed out the necessity of eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood, especially in these words: "This is the bread that cometh down from Heaven, not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead: he that eateth this bread shall live forever." [John 7:59] Now from this comparison of the Food of Angels with bread and with the manna, it was easily to be understood by His disciples that, as the body is daily nourished with manna in the desert, so the Christian soul might daily partake of this Heavenly Bread and be refreshed thereby. Moreover, whereas, in the Lord's Prayer, we are bidden to ask for "our daily bread," the holy Fathers of the Church all but unanimously teach that by these words must be understood not so much the material bread which is the support of the body, as the Eucharistic Bread which ought to be our daily food.
Moreover, the desire of Jesus Christ and of the Church that all the faithful should daily approach the sacred banquet is directed chiefly to this end, that the faithful being united by god by means of the Sacrament, may thence derive strength to resist their sensual passions, to cleanse themselves from the stains of daily faults, and to avoid these graver sins to which human frailty is liable; so that its primary purpose is not that honor and reverence due to Our Lord may be safeguarded, or that the Sacrament may serve as a reward of virtue bestowed on the recipients. Hence the holy Council of Trent calls the Eucharist "the antidote whereby we are delivered from daily faults and preserved from deadly sins." [Sess. XIII c. II]
PRAYER FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE PIOUS CUSTOM OF DAILY COMMUNION
O SWEETEST Jesu, Thou Who camest into the world to give all souls the life of Thy grace, and Who, to preserve and nourish it in them, hast willed to be at once the daily cure of their daily infirmities and their daily sustenance; we humbly beseech Thee, by Thy heart all on fire with love of us, to pour forth upon them all Thy divine Spirit, so that those who are unhappily in mortal sin, may turn to Thee and regain the life of grace which they have lost, and those who, through Thy gift, are already living this Divine life, may draw near daily, when they can, to Thy Sacred Table, whence, by means of daily Communion, they may receive daily the antidote of their daily venial sins, and may every day foster within themselves the life of grace; and being thus ever more and more purified, may come at last to the possession of that eternal life which is happiness with Thee. Amen.
Pius X, June 3, 1905
BACK TO EUCHARISTIC PRAYERS
BACK TO THE HOLY EUCHARIST