Saturday, 21 August 2010

Pope S. Pius X & Holy Communion

Today we celebrate the feast of Pope S. Pius X who died in 1914. Pius X was an extraordinary man whose love and zeal for the gospel was obvious to all those around him. In 1908 he filled the Vatican with refugees from the earthquake and tsumnami which hit Messina in Southern Italy, claiming along 200,000 lives.

One of his lasting contributions to the life of the Church was an encouragement for the faithful to receive Holy Communion on a regular basis. This was, he said, 'the shortest and safest way to heaven'. His insistence on regular reception of Holy Communion, however, is often misunderstood.

When we receive Holy Communion, regularly or occasionally, we need to be in a state of grace. This means that we should be as we were at our baptism - free from any serious sin so that, like Mary, we can pure and spotless vessels in which Our Lord can dwell. Pope Pius X's encouragement for regular Holy Communion, then, is also a call to regular penance, examination of conscience and the Sacrament of Reconciliation - Confession.

In the Vatican, until fairly recently, there was a practice of distributing Holy Communion from the tabernacle every fifteen minutes in order that those who had just received absolution in Confession could then make their communion in a proper state. Even with our stellar team of Readers and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, that would be a tall order! But it is worth thinking about how many times we come to Mass - either on a weekday or Sunday - without having properly examined our souls and, through the sacraments, been restored to the purity given us at our baptism.

If you have never made your confession before, or would like to talk about it, there's plenty of people at Saint John's who will be happy to help.

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