Frequency of Holy Communion

The Psalmist cries out: “My heart is withered; because I forgot to eat my bread.” (Ps 101:4)

On the question of the frequency of receiving Holy Communion, Light and Peace draws from the wisdom of St. Ambrose of Milan and St. Francis de Sales.

Padre Quadrupani cites his favorite spiritual guide: “St. Francis de Sales says that when we cannot go to Holy Communion without giving annoyance to others, or without failing against duties of charity, justice or order, we should be satisfied with spiritual Communion. ‘Believe me,’ he adds, “this mortification, this deprivation, will be extremely pleasing to God and will advance you greatly in His love. One must sometimes take a step backward in order to leap the better.’”

St. Francis gives this admirable advice: “In proportion as you are hindered from doing the good you desire, do all the more ardently the good that you do not desire.” Quadrupani remarks: “Saint John the Baptist was more intimately united in spirit with our Lord than even the Apostles themselves: yet he never became one of His followers owing to the fact that his vocation required this sacrifice on his part and called him elsewhere. This is the greatest act of spiritual mortification recorded in the lives of the saints.”

St. Francis asks: “Why then regulate the number of Communions by the law of time, instead of by purity of conscience, which should alone indicate how many times to receive? This divine Mystery is nothing more at Easter than at all other seasons during which it is celebrated continually.”

St. Ambrose says: “Live in such a manner that you may deserve to receive it every day, for he who does not deserve to receive it every day will not deserve to receive it at the end of the year. . . . When one has received a wound does he not seek a remedy? Sin which holds us captive is our wound: our remedy is in this ever adorable Sacrament.”

Quotations from Carlo Giuseppe Quadrupani, Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts and Allay Their Fears (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1898).

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