Sacramental assurance

247f11754cd5847ddbc149fb2acdc2beI’m intrigued by the frequency with which different people receive Holy Communion. Some receive daily, some twice or thrice weekly, some weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Some receive only three or four times a year. I suppose it’s a matter of personality, tradition and upbringing. Even theology too. But I can’t help my mind wandering. So bear with me in this gentle meander.

First, let’s consider those who receive three or four times a year. Clearly they don’t feel the need of the sacrament in that form any more often. Perhaps they are pure, holy and incorruptible,. Maybe there is nothing more to be said. Or perhaps the sacrament that they receive so infrequently has been so powerfully consecrated by a minister so virtuous that its efficacy is so very long-lasting, despite the havoc wrought by gastric acid and intestinal and hepatic enzymes. If so, I can see how three or four times a year would suffice.

Or perhaps it could be that the gastric acid and digestive juices of this group are weak, thus having little effect on the mystical power inherent in the consecrated bread and wine, which are thus largely unaffected by natural secretions. There is another possibility, namely that these people are all recovering alcoholics and so not permitted wine more often than three or four times annually. Of course they shouldn’t have it at all unless, as in the case of a former King of Saudi Arabia, the alcohol turns into fruit juice as it passes the cricopharyngeal sphincter. Frankly, I think this argument is stretching things a bit, and it seems to me that one could never establish the truth since if one asked such people of their boozing history they would almost certainly tell fibs.

At the other extreme there are those who take the sacrament daily. How might this be explained? Perhaps they are very, very wicked indeed and need constant mystical reinvigoration. Or maybe the priest who consecrates the elements is a very naughty boy or girl with as a result such weak powers that the efficacy of the sacrament is ephemeral. Or maybe these priests have been ordained by a bishop who is not a member of the right club, or has the wrong sort of genitalia. Or maybe, just maybe, these people have such powerful gastric secretions and intestinal enzymes that the spiritual power of the elements stands no chance whatsoever.

A research project calls. It would involve volunteers of course, together with physiologists, lab technicians, geneticists and theologians: a multidisciplinary project to elucidate a tricky issue.

5 thoughts on “Sacramental assurance

  1. And those of us who were brought up in churches where the Sacrament was only celebrated three times a year (Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Day) never thought for a moment that it takes anything other than daily faith to redeem us. We don’t need the Sacrament to be made pure and holy. Rather, it was a solemn high point of our liturgical year.

  2. Delighted to see the return of your blog…..think of you and your family a lot ….

  3. Perhaps, Dear Friend, those who take the Sacrament regularly have a love of the Lord thast compels them to ‘Come In ‘ and share His life on a frequenty basis. I’m quite a fan myself.
    Christ is Risen, Alleluia. He is Risen indeed, Alleluia, Alleluia!
    Happy Easter!

  4. Perhaps, Dear Friend, those who take the Sacrament regularly have a love of the Lord thast compels them to ‘Come In ‘ and share His life on a frequenty basis. I’m quite a fan myself.
    Christ is Risen, Alleluia. He is Risen indeed, Alleluia, Alleluia!
    Happy Easter!

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