Gus Hardy is a Freshman at Santa Clara studying Political Science and Religious Studies. Gus is involved in many extracurricular activities on campus, including Associated Student Government and several Campus Ministry groups.
The Eucharist: it is the source and summit of our sacramental worship as Catholics. Through its celebration, we commemorate and proclaim the death and resurrection of Christ and in receiving Him. I can personally say that I have found a level of connection with God that I have not anywhere else. I remember the days when I was going to mass and had not yet been received into the church. I would remain in the pew while everyone else around me got up. Occasionally they would smile and motion for me to “come on, take communion”. I never got up. I believed that Christ was truly up there, and when I did receive Him, I wanted to be worthy to do so.
I’m still not worthy.
Sure, I’m in the church right proper and I try to make my faith the focal point around which I build my life, but it seems as though it will never be enough. In this day and age, temptation lies around every corner, and I try to keep myself as upright as I can, even though I backslide. I’m human, could you really expect any better of me? It’s supposed to be a sin to take communion if you’ve committed a sin and haven’t confessed it. Being a guy who’s naturally anxious, there was a time when I was going to confession twice a week to make sure that I never had any sin on me that I hadn’t confessed. And yet I feel almost farther from God at times. Confession is a beautiful gift that enables me to feel spiritually pure, but by going so frequently, I could tell that I’ve been abusing it, so I try to cut back. At the same time, the list of mortal sins is tremendous, so much in fact that we never know whether we’ll be in a state of grace. Aside from the obvious ones, here are a few others:
Putting your faith in Oujia boards.
Joining the freemasons.
Joining the communist party.
Being married by a justice of the peace (without dispensation).
Doing unnecessarily compensated labor on Sunday.
Entertaining thoughts of suicide.
Having excessive tattoos or piercings.
Watching pirated movies.
Being confirmed in a state of mortal sin.
Being married in a state of mortal sin.
Willfully engaging in an unjust lawsuit.
Being an accomplice to another’s sin (not snitching).
It appears almost impossible to know what’s a mortal sin and what isn’t. And I don’t want to feel guilty when I go to church. Here is where I feel home and I’m surrounded by everyone else that I know and love as my family. And they’re not anxious about receiving communion- they’re excited! I wish I could be like that, to just lay aside all of the anxieties that I have about sin at the door and receive Christ with everyone else. Isn’t that part of the Catholic experience anyway, sharing the meal not only as a sacrament but also as a family? Yet, according to certain bishops, I’m divorcing myself from Christ by doing that, even when I feel more separate from Him than ever by making myself hold back while everyone around me goes up to do so.
And as I go to mass this Sunday, in all honesty, I don’t know what’s going to come of it. If I can’t make it to confession again and confess my sins that I didn’t know were wrong in the first place, do I obey my heart, stand up with my family and receive Christ, or do I obey the church and sit down, alone?
I was originally going to send this post as was, but soon realized that it wasn’t right to do so. Ultimately, what I had to do was not just turn to Canon Law, but instead rely on my own conscience, by which I could discern the voice of Christ. To think more, I chose to go to Mass, where I felt I could fully reflect on what was happening in my soul. In the scriptures, the part that touched me most was from the book of Revelation, where John speaks of the infinite multitudes greeting God, a multitude that I long to be a part of. And how is it that we enter in to that multitude? Simple, we choose to follow Jesus. And as I sat in the Mission, surrounded by my family, I could almost hear Christ say, “Follow me.” So I did. Canon Law may not have fully agreed with what I was about to do, but I was ready. I felt worthy. I got up, and not only received Christ in the Eucharist, but served as a Eucharistic minister, giving Christ to many others so happy to receive Him. I smiled as I held Christ and passed Him on to them. “This is it,” I thought, smiling. “This is what I need to do when You call me, Lord.”
Read the Code of Canon Law on Participation in the Most Holy Eucharist.